August 18, 2008
08-139

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

VSU Grad Revisits VSU as Minister of Education in Belize

VALDOSTA - The Honorable Patrick Faber, '98, who serves in Belize, Central America, as the Minister of Education, visited Valdosta State University July 28-30, after attending a meeting of the Consortium for Belize Educational Cooperation at Kennesaw State University.

During Faber's first visit to Valdosta since his graduation, he discussed with VSU faculty members, the many opportunities for VSU leadership to support the Belize Ministry and become involved the creation of teacher training programs during the next five years. An agreement between the Episcopal churches in Valdosta and churches in Belize made the trip possible.

During his visit, Dr. Ivan Nikolov, director of the Center for International Programs, accompanied him around campus and during meetings with other VSU representatives, including Dr. Philip Gunter, dean of the Dewar College of Education Dr. Brian Gerber, director for curriculum content, research and technology in the Dewar College of Education; Dr. Louis Levy, vice president for the Division of Academic Affairs; and Dr. Wayne Plumly, former advisor to Faber and interim dean of the Langdale College of Business. Plumly said they discussed the option of offering VSU's WebMBA to students in Belize.

He also met with Dr. Matthew Richard, associate professor in the Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice Department, and Dr. Brenda Dixey, professor in Middle, Secondary, Reading and Deaf Education, to discuss past and future study abroad programs in Belize. All conversations also centered on long-term collaboration between VSU and Belize for improvements in teacher education as well as professional and community development.

"VSU, with the help of the local community and churches, has been assisting the educational system of Belize for close to 20 years," Nikolov said. "We are planning a visit to Belize during late fall semester to evaluate the needs of its educational system as a step in developing an assistance plan."

Faber's visit was timed well with the meeting of COBEC, an international organization established in the mid-1980s to provide various forms of support for educational alliances and cooperation. VSU's own Dr. Tracy Harrington was instrumental in the creation of the organization, and Jane Zahner, VSU professor of curriculum, leadership and technology, serves as an officer. Visit www.cobec.org for more information.