VCU SOE strengthening ties with Brazil

From left: Andrew Daire, Luciana de Oliveira and Nestor Forster Jr. in May 2022.
From left: Andrew P. Daire, Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Education; Jayaraman Vijayakumar, Ph.D., associate dean of graduate programs, VCU School of Business; Luciana C. de Oliveira, Ph.D., associate dean of academic affairs and graduate studies; VCU School of Education; Nestor Forster Jr., ambassador of Brazil to the U.S.; P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D., vice president, Research and Innovation at VCU; Guilherme M. Campos, M.D., FACS, chair, VCU Division of Bariatric and Gastrointestinal Surgery; and João S. Soares, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, VCU College of Engineering. (Courtesy Photo)

The VCU School of Education has a flurry of activities underway with leading universities in Brazil, including a student exchange agreement, memoranda of understanding (MOUs), class instruction and a research symposium, strong visiting scholars and student programs, and publications focused on Brazil.

Ambassador Visit to VCU

Dean Andrew P. Daire, Ph.D. and Luciana C. de Oliveira, Ph.D., associate dean for academic affairs and graduate studies, recently participated in a special visit to VCU by Nestor Forster Jr., ambassador of Brazil to the U.S. Forster is interested in strengthening ties between the two countries and selected VCU as part of his visit to Virginia. He met with President Michael Rao and a select group of VCU faculty. Forster also met with Gov. Glenn YoungkinLt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears and other state officials.

Agreements and MOUs

VCU has several MOUs with universities in Brazil, including a faculty, staff and student exchange agreement with the Universidade de São Paulo (USP), the largest public university in Brazil known for its teaching and research on a broad range of topics. VCU also has a MOU with the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), one of Brazil’s five largest universities, and the Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto (UFOP), which also includes a student exchange agreement. The SOE led the development of an MOU with the Universidade Federal de Sergipe (UFS), which has five campuses in Brazil; and the Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), campus São José do Rio Preto.

Classes and a Research Symposium

Classes and a research symposium for international students are also in full swing. Since signing a MOU with the Universidade Federal de Sergipe in November 2020, de Oliveira taught a short course on academic writing for publication in 2021. Another short course is planned by Yaoying Xu, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Counseling and Special Education, focused on research methods. Xu is also director of the International Educational Studies Center, a center within SOE.

Members from UFS and UNESP Rio Preto participated in our first international research symposium, Transformative Teacher Education in Different Contexts, in May 2021. They were joined by other international partners including Colombia, Russia, and several universities in China. Xu and de Oliveira are working on a book based on the symposium.

Visiting Scholars, Students and Research

Camila Höfling, Ph.D., professor of languages at the Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCar), was at VCU for three months beginning in March studying the internationalization of higher education and language policies. A master’s student from the Instituto Mackenzie in São Paulo will visit SOE for 15 days beginning July 1.

A visiting Ph.D. researcher will be visiting SOE for nine months starting this September as part of her Ph.D. dissertation project through a program called “Sandwich Ph.D.,” which allows Ph.D. candidates to travel abroad in the middle of their studies and before defending their dissertation. This visit is part of our MOU with UFS and just the beginning of our collaboration.

A visiting scholar professor from Universidade Estadual de Londrina (UEL) is planning to visit starting in October. She will stay between three and nine months, depending on funding. There is interest from another visiting scholar professor from Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná (UTFPR) for the spring 2023 semester.