The WiderNet Project Announces Visit of 20 African University Administrators

Contact: Andrea Murphy (319) 335-2200
June 18, 2003* *

The University of Iowa’s WiderNet Project will be hosting 20 high-ranking Nigerian and Ghanaian university administrators from June 23 to July 4 for a workshop focusing on computers and networks in higher education.

The two-week workshop is part of a multiple-year project designed to introduce African university administrators to a wide variety of issues they face as they digitize their campuses. The workshop will provide technical, financial, and organizational coaching for these decision makers.

“The main goals of the decision-makers tour are to immerse our Nigerian colleagues in the technology that is used in modern universities and for them to meet colleagues and create linkages between our universities,” said Cliff Missen, co-director of the WiderNet Project.

Dozens of University of Iowa experts and professionals will host discussions, seminars, and hands-on demonstrations of the campus ICT infrastructure. Participants will hear from consultants and fund-raising experts as well as visit cutting-edge facilities at the UI and Kirkwood Community College.

“Last year’s tour was a great success,” said Missen. “This year, we’re hoping for more of the same, but a little bit better.”

This is the second time the WiderNet Project plans to host a decision-makers tour. Last September, 24 African administrators participated in the first decision-makers workshop. In addition to learning about computers, last year’s group attended an Iowa Hawkeye football game, shopped at the Tanger Outlet Center in Williamsburg, and drove through Amish country in Kalona. This year, the group plans to attend a Cedar Rapids Kernels game.

During their stay next week, the African administrators will be hosted by local Iowa City families. Jan Locher and her family hosted guests from Nigeria last year and are going to host again this year because of the positive experience.

“Everyone had a wonderful time hosting last year,” Locher said. “We learned a great deal from our guests about Nigeria, and we also had fun finding out how alike our families were.”

More information about the workshop, including dates, times, locations, and participants can be found at:

Photos and information from last year’s decision maker’s workshop can be found at: