Boise State University has extended a program with a Vietnamese university that provides an exchange program for undergraduate Vietnamese students.
Representatives from National Economics University, based in Hanoi, attended a signing ceremony at the Boise State University Administration Building on Dec. 19 with President Marlene Tromp, interim provost Tony Roark and Mark Bannister, who at the time had been interim dean of the College of Business and Economics (COBE) and has since been named permanently to the position. Altogether, three documents were signed: A continuation of the agreement, academic exchanges and credit exchanges.
During the event, Tromp noted that the program represented Boise State’s trailblazing nature.
After the signing, Tromp and the Vietnamese delegation exchanged gifts and discussed a possible visit for Tromp to Vietnam.
Two years there, two years here
The new program, 2+2, started in 2016 and allows Vietnamese students to spend two years at NEU, followed by two years at Boise State and receive degrees from both institutions. Like many students from overseas, they pay full tuition while attending Boise State, according to a statement.
The program was designed by Kirk Smith, marketing department chair for the College of Business and Economics (COBE), and Gonzalo Bruce, assistant provost for global education. It is overseen by Jack Marr, clinical associate professor of international business in the COBE.
The program has been underway for two years and is scheduled to send its first cohort of five or six students to Boise State in the fall. The second cohort, which started in Sept. 2019, has about 100 students in it, and thus far has about six students who have already indicated that they plan to come to Boise in the future.
Several participants noted that Boise State first started partnering with Vietnamese students in 1993, before the U.S. recognized it as a country. Then-president Bill Clinton re-established diplomatic relations with Vietnam in July 1995.
That program had been funded as an international aid project by the Swedish International Development Co-Operation Agency with the goal of developing graduate and postgraduate management education in Vietnam, Nancy Napier, distinguished professor emerita and executive coach with the Executive MBA program at COBE, wrote in an article describing the original program. She also spoke at the December event.
In the 1990s program, more than 80 Vietnamese people received MBA degrees from Boise State, and several Boise State professors had the opportunity to teach in Hanoi. Bui Duc Tho, the vice president of NEU who attended the signing and represented the Hanoi university, was a 1999 graduate of Boise State with a Master’s of Business Administration and spent one semester in Boise. Napier also leads a one-week international business residency of Boise State Executive MBA students to Hanoi each year.
This program marks the third generation of a partnership with Vietnam, Napier said at the event, adding that children of the first generation of the program have also attended Boise State.
Graduates of the earlier program are mostly in Vietnam in business, education and government, said communications specialist Matt Jones, in an email message. One has a house in Portland and is often there, he said.
The Vietnamese students in that program were like part of the family, Smith said at the event.
Currently, Boise State has 16 Vietnamese students, all of whom have either a direct or an indirect connection with the Boise State Vietnamese alumni chapter, Jones said.