Clayton State University President Tim Hynes (from left), recently met, in Morrow, with Eve Hilairet and Christian Deleuze, of the France-based University of Caen, to formally create a partnership between the two schools.
By Curt Yeomans
Clayton State University students may want to brush up on their French, because they will soon have an opportunity to do some of their studies in northern France, university officials have announced.
CSU officials said, on Monday, that the school has entered into an agreement with the University of Caen, which is located in the Basse Normandy area of France, that will allow student and faculty exchanges, and opportunities for research collaborations involving both schools.
A memorandum of understanding, establishing the partnership, was signed at the end of March by Clayton State President Tim Hynes, University of Caen International Programs Director Christian Deleuze, and Eve Hilairet, a master's of business administration program assistant at the French university, according to a Clayton State news release.
"It really does a number of things," said John Parkerson, Clayton State's director of international programs. "No. 1, it expands our international curriculum by giving our students more opportunities for going abroad and studying at a foreign university, and getting exposure to different cultures ...
"The other thing is that the faculty exchanges are very motivational for our faculty members, and provide great development opportunities, to sit in an international classroom, and see a foreign education system in action," Parkerson added.
Clayton State's international programs director said the faculty exchanges are expected to last a few weeks at a time, but students from each university would be able to spend one, to two semesters studying at the other school. He said two University of Caen students have already applied to participate in Clayton State's master's in business administration program.
The tie between the master's of business administration programs at Clayton State and the University of Caen is the French school's main interest at this time, Parkerson said. But, he added, the memorandum of understanding was written broadly so students in any Clayton State academic program can study at the new partner school in France.
"We're interested in sending any Clayton State student who wants to study over there," Parkerson said. "Say a student [at Clayton State] wants to take advanced French classes, but we don't offer classes beyond a certain level. The faculty at the University of Caen have a center set up to teach French to American students ...
"It's open to students who may want to go over there to study French, history, literature, or even European Union issues."
The area in, and around, Caen has historical significance dating back at least 1,000 years. Parkerson said the city of Caen is the capital of Basse Normandy, the area that produced William the Conqueror, who led the Norman conquest of England, in 1066. Not far from Caen, Parkerson added, is the town of Bayeux, which is the home of the well-known Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the Norman conquest of England.
"The tapestry uses images to tell the story of the Norman conquest, much like how the Cyclorama, in Atlanta, has images that show the Civil War and the Battle of Atlanta," Parkerson said.
The Normandy area is more recently known as the sight of the allied forces D-Day invasion of the European continent, during World War II, in 1944. Parkerson said the beaches that served as landing sites for the allied forces are only 10 miles north of Caen.
Parkerson said he believes the historical significance of the area is one reason why Clayton State had the memorandum of understanding written broadly enough to include more than business students. The history of the area, he said, could be a major draw for students who are studying varying fields of history.
The new pact with the University of Caen brings the number of agreements Clayton State has with foreign universities to six, according to the school's international programs director. He said the Morrow-based school also has agreements with schools in India, Hungary, Peru, and the Republic of Georgia.