SOCORRO, N.M. – New Mexico Tech officially renewed an exchange program with a Norwegian university this month, paving the way for graduate students in petroleum engineering to expand the scope of their education.
University president Dr. Daniel H. Lopez on Thursday signed the official documents solidifying a working agreement with the University of Stavanger.
The two engineering schools maintained an active collaboration for several years, but activity had waned over the past two years.
Lopez said this agreement is another piece of New Mexico Tech’s ongoing mission to expand its global horizons.
“New Mexico Tech already has a diverse campus,” he said. “We have excellent programs in science, engineering and research that can contribute and compete on a global scale. This agreement is another indication that we have excellent programs and instructors who can help put New Mexico Tech on the world’s stage.”
Petroleum Engineering Department Chairman Dr. Tom Engler said he expects that the renewed agreement will jump-start the exchange program.
The initial agreement with the University of Stavanger was launched by professors Dr. Lawrence Teufel, who had industrial experience in the North Sea, and former professor Dr. Geir Hareland, a Norwegian who was instrumental in making connections in Norway.
Engler, who also has private sector experience as a petroleum engineer, said he hopes to revitalize the exchange program, bring in new students and grow Tech’s international reputation. Although the program has been exclusively within the petroleum engineering departments, the agreement allows for exchanges of professors and students from other engineering departments, as well.\
Already, Stavanger has five master’s students interested in studying in Socorro and two Tech students interested in spending a semester in Norway.
“Their graduate program in petroleum engineering is all taught in English,” Engler said. “They did that several years ago to make this program work. The young Norwegians who come here speak and understand English very well. It’s been a very positive program.”
Norwegian students can study at Tech for one, two or three semesters, then transfer their credits back to Stavanger. The agreement also allows Tech students to transfer credits earned in Norway back to New Mexico Tech. Although, Stavanger’s only English-language program is petroleum engineering.
Exchange students get a broad scope in their education because the two universities have different emphases.
“Stavanger is very strong in research and close to North Sea production,” Engler said. “Their program is more oriented toward off-shore oil production, engineering and drilling. Our focus is more geared toward on-shore, unconventional. We work with the same common core materials, but our specialties are different.”