These two counterpart departments have enjoyed a very long history of cooperation and frequent exchange of visits, dating back to the pioneering days of 1985.
Since 1998, however, this extensive interdepartmental cooperation has been organized under a formalized plan, adopted and approved by both departments. This plan has not only guided the frequent joint projects and interchanges of personnel from these two departments but has also served as a model agreement widely consulted by officials of both universities. Even though departmental funding for the provisions of that plan has never been envisioned, alternative sources of funding have generally been located to advance them. Naturally, the details of any long-standing plan must be updated periodically, so we quote here only the objectives and the general goals of that cooperation plan, each of which continues to be fulfilled:
The Interdepartmental Cooperation Plan
It is envisaged that the two Departments establish and maintain a long-term cooperation program for the purposes of:
- strengthening the human resource potential of our faculty through international experiences;
- mutually enriching the academic programs in terms of internationalizing curricula;
- enhancing undergraduate and graduate training;
- building teaching and research capacity; and
- increasing the applicability and relevance of our discipline.
We aim to achieve our objectives by engaging in
- regular faculty exchanges,
- curriculum and course development,
- joint training of our students, particularly at graduate level,
- student exchanges where practical and affordable,
- securing funding for the possibility of scholarships and internships,
- instructional technology resource development and sharing,
- research cooperation,
- joint publication, and
- community outreach through internships, advising and consultancy.
Most recently, interdepartmental cooperation has focused on two different projects of joint research and joint publication.
First, UMSL Professor Nancy Shields, along with her colleagues Kathy Nadasen (UWC) and Lois Pierce (Director of the School of Social Work at UMSL), has been conducting joint research on children and community violence in five Townships surrounding Cape Town, South Africa, in comparison to children living in St. Louis. To start up the research, Nadasen visited St. Louis in May 2005, and she returned to present a joint paper on early findings to a professional meeting in San Jose, California. Shields has visited Cape Town twice in the last two years – once in March 2006, and again in July 2007 – and is scheduled to visit once more in May 2008, as the cross-sectional comparison blossoms into a longitudinal study. Meanwhile, additional joint publications, in the form of several journal articles, have already appeared or been accepted.
Second, in a joint study with UWC colleague Diana Gibson investigating tuberculosis among the Ju/’hoansi of Namibia, UMSL professor emeritus George J. McCall traveled to Cape Town (as well as to a remote section of Namibia) in June and July 2007. Gibson – who had earlier visited St. Louis on a previous joint project – is a medical anthropologist at UWC and at the University of Amsterdam, and invited McCall to join her in this new investigation because of his earlier experiences in studying the Ju/’hoansi. Already in February 2008 some preliminary results were reported jointly in a presentation to a professional meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, and additional subsequent joint publications are anticipated.