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Wichita State Signs Transfer Student Partnership With College in Sri Lanka

WICHITA, KS – Wichita State University (WSU) Provost Tony Vizzini and College of Engineering Dean Royce Bowden on Friday, September 22, signed an agreement with Lalith Gamage, vice chancellor of the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT), creating a partnership that will allow international students to transfer from SLIIT to WSU and complete a degree in four years.

The partnership, which starts next semester, will create a pathway for engineering students to take two years of courses at SLIIT and finish with a four-year degree at Wichita State two years later. The agreement is designed for students working toward a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering or engineering technology – mechatronics.

This is believed to be the first "2+2" agreement involving an institution in another country, says Deepak Gupta, WSU associate professor of industrial engineering, who helped negotiate the agreement. In August, Wichita State signed a 2+2 agreement with Cowley County Community College; more partnerships between WSU and area community colleges are planned for the future.

Often when students transfer, not all courses meet WSU degree requirements. This results in most transfers taking three additional years to complete instead of two. With 2+2 agreements, partner institutions work to ensure all courses meet transfer requirements, allowing a seamless transition that ensures students don't waste time or money on classes that aren't a good fit for their final goals.

The partnership with SLIIT grew out of efforts to recruit international students from the region and was supported by numerous administrative, faculty and staff members from the Office of Academic Affairs, College of Engineering, Office of the Registrar and Office of International Education at WSU, as well as faculty and staff members from SLIIT.

"Having a relationship like this will streamline our recruiting efforts," Gupta says.

SLIIT is located in Malabe, a suburb of Colombo, the commercial center and largest city of Sri Lanka. The Colombo metro area has 5.6 million people.

SLIIT was founded in 1999 as an institution created to meet workforce demand for information technology and computer science specialists. It has added engineering to its disciplines as it has grown, says Gamage, himself an electronic and telecommunication engineer.

"We have greatly benefitted from partnerships like this one," he says.