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Front row, from left, Pier Paulo Diotallevi, dean of the University of Bologna’s faculty of engineering, and Coumbia University's Feniosky Peña-Mora, dean of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. Back row, from left, University of Bologna professor Francesco Ubertini, SEAS civil engineering professor Raimondo Betti, Professor Marco Savoia, Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Bologna, Columbia University Vice Provost Roxie Smith, Régine Lambrech, director of global initiatives and education at SEAS, and the Hon. Francesco M. Talò, consul general of Italy. — Photos by Eileen Barroso
Columbia SEAS has taken an historic step in its globalization initiatives by signing a dual certification agreement with the University of Bologna that provides an opportunity for students from both universities to obtain a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from each institution with only one additional year of study.
The agreement was signed July 28 by Columbia SEAS Dean Feniosky Peña-Mora and University of Bologna Dean Pier Paolo Diotallevi.
Dual engineering certifications have been a part of the higher education landscape in Europe for more than 20 years. With the signing of this document, SEAS students will be among the first American engineering students to be able to qualify for an Italian engineering certification, in addition to the Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Columbia.
Dean Peña-Mora praised the agreement during the ceremony.
“We are providing our students with a new academic opportunity that represents a cultural and pedagogical bridge that will give them distinct advantages in the global market place. Agreements such as this recognize the importance of a global educational experience for today’s engineer.”
Dean Diotallevi echoed those thoughts.
“Young people are more and more stimulated and encouraged to compete and confront themselves no longer in narrow contexts, but in wider ones where different cultures, rules and practices meet each other.”
Professor Marco Savoia, Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Bologna, highlighted the assets this dual certification will provide for students at both universities.
“An engineer with two Master’s degrees received from a U.S. and a European university may work as a professional in almost every country in the world. This is a unique opportunity for our students.”
The University of Bologna has spearheaded the standardization of academic degrees throughout Europe and, in 1999, 29 European ministers of higher education signed an agreement that took its name from this university. The Declaration of Bologna committed the signatories to the reorganization of their university systems by 2010, following the guidelines of what has become known as the Bologna Process.
This new agreement joins two bastions of tradition – the University of Bologna, widely recognized as the first university in the Western World, and Columbia University, one of the first academic institutions in the new world. It came about in large part because of the professional collaboration between SEAS Civil Engineering Professor Raimondo Betti and University of Bologna Professor Francesco Ubertini, both of whom witnessed the ceremony. Regine Lambrech, director of global initiatives and education at SEAS, was instrumental in bringing the agreement to fruition.