Ahrendsen Wins Bumpers College's Outstanding International Education Award

Bruce Ahrendsen is a professor in Bumpers College's Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness.
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Bruce Ahrendsen is a professor in Bumpers College's Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Bruce Ahrendsen, a professor of agricultural economics and agribusiness, has been named winner of the Outstanding International Education Award for 2017 in the U of A's Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences.

Ahrendsen serves on the U of A International Education Advisory Council and is the Department of Agricultural Economic and Agribusiness representative on Bumpers College's International Programs Committee.

In 1998, Ahrendsen helped initiate the international agribusiness concentration of the master's degree curriculum in agricultural economics, which included an exchange program with the Scottish Agricultural College and later Ghent University in Belgium.

In 2008, he was part of a group awarded a U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) grant for $448,000 to establish and operate the Atlantis Double M.S. degree program. The Atlantis Program allows students to earn master's degrees in agricultural economics from the U of A and a joint international master's degree in rural development (IMRD) from five leading universities in Europe. Students study in both the U.S. and Europe. Ahrendsen has been a member of the Management Board of the Atlantis and IMRD Programs, which is comprised of the consortium of five universities in Europe, the U of A, and universities in Spain, Ecuador, China, India, South Africa, Vietnam, and South Korea.

"In line with the goals of Bumpers College, the AEAB international programs provide structured experiences that enhance the marketability of students for career and academic opportunities through faculty-driven, sustainable initiatives," said Ahrendsen. "The breadth of our Atlantis program furnishes students with a comprehensive international experience. Students are immersed in a foreign culture in a way that a short-term program cannot. Furthermore, this is a two-way street, and the interaction our students have with exchange students opens their minds and exposes them to different ways of thinking. I find joy in knowing that we can provide opportunities for growth to our students that would not be available otherwise."

His nomination included the following comment from a student: "Although the exposure to different universities, teaching styles, and cultures is one the most stimulating aspects of the Atlantis Program, the movement among universities can also be difficult. However, Dr. Ahrendsen and others at the University of Arkansas created a welcoming environment to minimize any difficulty in transitioning to the university. Moreover, the coordination among the participating universities and between some universities and students could be problematic. This was not the case at the University of Arkansas because Dr. Ahrendsen was persistent in making sure students received the information they needed and he was champion for any concerns they may have at the management board meetings. I am further convinced that many U.S. students only considered studying abroad after Dr. Ahrendsen was able to help them overcome their concerns of participating in an international program."

Ahrendsen also serves on the Board of the International Network for the M.B.A. in Agribusiness and Commerce (AGRIMBA). AGRIMBA has developed and reviewed International M.B.A. in Agribusiness programs at more than 10 leading universities in Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia. He also leads intensive, real-time agribusiness case-based study weeks in the International MBA program at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine in Kiev, the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra and University of Zagreb in Croatia.

Previous winners of the award are Jean-Francois Meullenet and Andy Proctor, food science, 2016; Laurie Apple and Kathy Smith, apparel merchandising and product development, 2015; and Jeff Miller, agricultural communications, 2014.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Contacts

Robby Edwards, director of communications
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences
479-575-4625, robbye@uark.edu


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