Glenville State University Professor of Forestry Dr. Rico Gazal (left) with students Corey Foster, Adem Hupp, and Ciera Heine at the University of the Philippines Los Baños in the summer of 2022. Gazal has recently received an Opportunity Grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s (STaR) Division to facilitate a similar trip next summer. (Courtesy photo)

Glenville State University earns another STaR Division Grant for education abroad

GLENVILLE, WV – Glenville State University has been awarded an Opportunity Grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Science, Technology and Research (STaR) Division.

The grant will be used to further internationalization of Glenville State’s Natural Resource Management program and was proposed by Dr. Rico Gazal, Professor of Forestry and Department Chair for the Department of Land Resources.

Through the grant, the Department of Land Resources plans to enhance international learning experiences for students in the Natural Resource Management program by providing financial support for travel to the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) in summer 2023.

“As is the case across the Mountain State, many of our students have not traveled abroad or do not have the resources to study abroad. This grant will open opportunities for our students to participate in an international experience and will help us in our efforts to create a campus culture that is open to and interested in education abroad,” Gazal noted.

As part of the summer trip to the Philippines, Gazal and three students will take part in field exploration of ecotourism, geothermal energy generation, tree seedling propagation, forest ecology and wood products research, mangrove forest rehabilitation, and forest-lake ecosystem dynamics. As Gazal notes, those are all topics that are relevant to the natural resource management issues that are also faced in West Virginia. Glenville State students have gone on similar education abroad trips in the past, most recently in the summer of 2022.

During the visit, the group will also participate in a map course that can be incorporated into the International Student Exchange program between Glenville State, UPLB, and Southern Luzon State University in addition to arranging a workshop to develop course modules as a form of virtual exchange learning opportunity using the Collaboration Online International Learning (COIL) format.

Glenville State University has previously offered a select number of “COILed” courses that allow students to complete coursework with students from all over the world in places such as Malaysia, Philippines, Mexico, and Spain. COIL is an innovative technique that allows partner institutions to explore various subjects that usually have global implications.

“I selected the Philippines as GSU’s exchange partner country since the Philippines and the United States – specifically central West Virginia – share similar ecological and environmental issues that have global impacts such as invasive plants, logging or timber harvesting, ecotourism, wildlife, energy extraction, and mining, among others. My faculty partners in UPLB and I will focus our efforts in identifying the initial course in ecology or forestry for the COIL and selecting effective activities and assessment instruments that can be implemented as part of the virtual exchange,” Gazal said.

The Opportunity Grants Program aims for the improvement of undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in West Virginia.

For more information about the programs within the Department of Land Resources at Glenville State University, contact the Department of Land Resources at LandResources@glenville.edu or (304) 462-6370.

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