Giang Pham, assistant professor in the department of communication disorders, recently traveled to Vietnam to formalize international collaborations between the department and its peer institutions abroad.
One promising result: The Hanoi National University of Education has signed a memorandum of agreement with UMass Amherst, the first step in establishing an official collaboration between the two universities. It is the first such agreement between the university and any institution in Vietnam.
Pham, who specializes in bilingual language development and has worked extensively with the Vietnamese-American communities in Springfield, had previously visited Vietnam as a guest lecturer and a volunteer aiding in the development of clinical programs. Her recent visit brought the prospect of more formal partnerships.
Speech-language therapy remains a new field in Vietnam; special education and communication disabilities programs have only recently been introduced. Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, for example, will establish the nation’s first bachelor’s degree program in speech-language therapy in the fall.
Pham received funding for the trip through a $5,000 faculty internationalization grant awarded by the International Studies Council and the International Programs Office. The grant award and her subsequent travel, she explains, are part of the university’s initiative to promote globalization in the curriculum. Pham, who teaches the general ed course Introduction to Communication Disorders, notes that the trip allowed her to build an international perspective into that course as well as to her graduate instruction on linguistically diverse populations.