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MTSU, Alabama A&M to collaborate on scientific research

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The presidents of MTSU and Alabama A&M University signed a memorandum of understanding Dec. 13 that encourages greater collaboration on faculty and student scientific research in the areas of aerospace, agriscience and engineering.

Alabama A&M University President Andrew Hugine Jr., left, shakes hands Friday with MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee on A&M's campus following the signing of an agreement for greater research and training collaboration between the universities. (MTSU photos)

Alabama A&M University President Andrew Hugine Jr., left, shakes hands Friday with MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee on A&M’s campus following the signing of an agreement for greater research and training collaboration between the universities. (MTSU photos)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee signed the agreement with AAMU President Andrew Hugine Jr. following McPhee’s visit to campus as keynote speaker for the commencement ceremony at the historically black university.

Hugine also awarded McPhee with the AAMU President Medallion for his career as a higher education administrator.

Under the agreement, MTSU and Alabama A&M will actively seek to participate in and enhance faculty and student research and training programs, as well as provide access for each institution’s students to education and training programs not available at the other.

MTSU will specifically provide AAMU students with access to academic programs in the areas of engineering management, computational science and its nationally recognized aerospace program, while AAMU will provide access to MTSU students in the area of engineering.

“This partnership emphasizes the scientific research strengths within both institutions,” McPhee said. “It gives our students and faculty access to the opportunities they need to enhance their skills and compete in a global marketplace that increasingly demands such expertise.”

Hugine said the agreement was “a wonderful opportunity for our faculty and students” and an expansion of an already strong relationship between the two universities.

Officials said the three-year agreement builds upon two successful collaborations between the two universities: Both are partners in a consortium for a federal Unmanned Aircraft Systems test site as well as a three-year National Science Foundation-funded Partnership for Innovation in Technology grant.

Chance M. Glenn Sr., AAMU professor and dean of the College of Engineering, Technology and Physical Sciences, and Michael Allen, MTSU vice provost for research and dean of graduate studies, are coordinating the effort.

Alabama A&M University President Andrew Hugine Jr., left, presents MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee with the AAMU President Medallion for his career as a higher education administrator. McPhee was the speaker at A&M's commencement ceremonies on the Huntsville, Ala., campus.

Alabama A&M University President Andrew Hugine Jr., left, presents MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee with the AAMU President Medallion for his career as a higher education administrator. McPhee was the speaker at A&M’s commencement ceremonies on the Huntsville, Ala., campus.

“We are extremely excited about the endless possibilities of this mutually beneficial partnership,” Glenn said. “We have had an enthusiastic team comprised of faculty and staff from both universities working diligently to make this become a reality. We eagerly anticipate the fruits of this relationship.”

The agreement notes that both institutions will ensure that students have access to expert staff and state-of-the-art equipment and software; will mentor and train select students from the other institution in their graduate or undergraduate research; and will provide speakers for institute seminars.

Dr. Michael Allen

Dr. Michael Allen

“This MOU creates an opportunity for MTSU and AAMU to work together on proposals for research grants in areas where we have complementary strengths, such as unmanned aerial systems, robotics and precision agriculture,” Allen said. “Groups of the MTSU faculty have already visited with AAMU faculty and are actively working on NSF proposals.”

Founded in 1875 and established as a land-grant institution in 1890, Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University is located just minutes from downtown Huntsville, Ala. With an enrollment of roughly 6,000 students, the university has five undergraduate schools — Agricultural & Environmental, Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, and Engineering & Technology — and Graduate Studies.

Bud Fischer, MTSU dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, said the MOU “creates an outstanding opportunity to bring together faculty and student researchers from both institutions to work together on collaborative, cutting-edge research projects in engineering and aerospace.”

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)