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MUET Faculty Visits University of Utah

MUET and the U took full advantage of the time surrounding the MOU signing to introduce MUET faculty to senior faculty at the U, tour facilities, and generally get a better sense of what those visiting will have a chance to experience. Visitors from MUET included Vice Chancellor Uqaili, Professor Bhutto (Director, Institute of Science and Technology Development), Professor Rashdi (Dean, Faculty of Science, Technology and Humanities), Professor Memon (Dean Faculty of Engineering), Professor Lasahari (USPCASW, MUET Director), and Assistant Professor Jamali (USPCASW, MUET).

On Monday, Jordan Valley Water hosted a tour of their facility. As one of the newest and most state of the art facilities in the country, it was a fantastic opportunity for the faculty from MUET to ask questions, discuss the how and why, and see some of the possibilities for water treatment back home. Several faculty members were energized by what they saw.

That evening Tariq Banuri and his wife hosted members of the project and the visiting Pakistani Consul General for dinner.  It was a wonderful chance for informal talk about the project and a chance for members from MUET, the U, and CSU to get to know one another better. Discussions ranged from water issues, to Pakistani governance, women in academia, and the differences between universities in the United States and Pakistan.

Tuesday morning was a series of introductory meetings between the delegation from MUET and senior faculty at the U. The group had a chance to meet with Dean of the Graduate School David Keida, Chief Global Officer Mike Hardman, Senior Vice President of Academic affairs Amy Wildermuth, and Vice President of Research Tom Parks. These meetings opened the doors for more high level cooperation and partnering between the Universities to span beyond the initial scope of the project and help build a relationship that will last beyond USAID funding.

The MOU signing itself was well attended and very inspiring. A more detailed write-up is available here.

That night the Senior Advisory Board (SAB) for USPCASW hosted a dinner. Steve Burian updated the group on the current progress of the project with a quiz. Time was also taken for the SAB to ask questions about the project, dig in to what their role will be and what some of the nitty-gritty details currently look like. The SAB committed to helping look for solutions for the bigger issues, and for finding more ways that the U can share expertise, particularly in engaging alumni and in partnering with the business sector. The SAB and MUET also took the chance to exchange gifts.

Wednesday included tours of the Marriott Library and some of the Engineering Labs. This was a chance for faculty to see some of the resources available when they visited, as well as getting a taste of what students would get when they visit. That afternoon was a workshop with TVC, giving the visitors from MUET a chance to ask questions and discuss ways to capitalize research successfully. In the evening the group traveled to Park City, giving them a chance to catch their breath, see a little more of Utah, and experience something most visitors would likely take time out for.

Thursday was the last day of meetings and kicked off with a gender workshop put together by Christine Pomeroy. It began with a look at programming at the University of Utah and specifically within the College of Engineering to promote women. This was followed up by an introduction to the student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers by one of those students. The final presentation was on the MUET Gender Plan. Afterward, there was time for discussion. It was a productive meeting and continued the discussions, as well as helping the team look for more ways to increase gender diversity at MUET through USPCASW.

That afternoon the group was given a VIP tour of the Utah State Capitol by Representative Hutchings. He took the group behind the scenes and out onto the House floor, explaining how the governmental bodies work in Utah along with the history of the building. After, Representative Hutchings took the time to sit down with the group from Pakistan to talk in more detail and to share Utah's commitment and excitement about the project, as well as his personal experience with the region and visitors from there.

The final meeting was held at the Alta Club over lunch and was organized by local lawyer Pat Shea and included several individuals from the area who are involved in public utilities and water.

Overall the visit was highly productive and allowed many of the interested and involved parties to interact in person. It renewed and energized commitment to the project from both sides, as well as getting everyone excited about the prospects beyond the five year project and beyond the initial scope. Now we look forward to the first round of classes starting at MUET as part of USPCASW.