University strengthens US ties


Birmingham City University has strengthened its links with the United States after forming an exclusive partnership with Kent State University.

Representatives from the Ohio-based institution’s College of Aeronautics and Engineering visited Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus to discuss collaboration opportunities going forward.

Benefits will be widespread for both institutions, not only as a result of increased global clout from joint research but also via the improved mobility and transatlantic opportunities for respective staff and student bodies.

Global ambitions

The strategic alliance is also a statement for the growing global ambition of both the universities, and will initially focus upon the disciplines of engineering, architecture and fashion – of which both institutions are internationally known for.

The visitors from Kent State University were shown around the University’s Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment, which has gained a reputation as the West Midlands’ chief hub of knowledge, technology and skills-transfer into industry. This visit followed a series of meetings between the two universities in both Chicago and Birmingham last year to discuss potential areas of collaboration and explore the mutual benefits of forming such a partnership.


On Thursday 26 April Birmingham City University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Julian Beer and Dr Blake Stringer, Assistant Professor from the College of Aeronautics and Engineering at Kent State University signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions – the only one which the Ohio institution has agreed with a UK higher education partner.

Dr Blake Stringer, Assistant Professor, College of Aeronautics and Engineering, Kent State University, said:

“We were excited to connect with Birmingham City University last year and now to establish this exclusive Memorandum of Understanding. During our visit to determine the paths forward, we were even more excited by the multiple ways in which we can engage each other through several disciplines. 

Also present from Kent State University was lecturer Kimberley Holizna and Tom Southards, Outreach Programme Manager.

Since its founding as a teacher-training school in 1910, Kent State University has become an engine for economic, cultural and workforce development in the region and beyond as a premiere university in Ohio. Today, the university is home to almost 40,000 students across eight campuses, as well as additional facilities in Cleveland; New York City; Florence, Italy; and Shanghai, China.

Shared culture

In particular, Birmingham City University’s Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment and Kent State’s College of Aeronautics and Engineering share similar cultures, student base and educational opportunities.

Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Birmingham City University, said:

“Birmingham City University is delighted to enter into an exclusive partnership with Kent State University and feel that this will play to the strengths of both institutions – principally around the disciplines of engineering, architecture and fashion.

“We are very much looking forward to exploring the possibilities around innovation, research, joint course offerings and student exchange when we meet again in the next few months.”

Transatlantic Conference

Professor Beer is also President of the British American Business Council (BABC) Midlands Chapter, who will be hosting the BABC Annual Transatlantic Conference in Birmingham this year.

The conference will welcome 300 senior executives from the BABC’s 23 Chapters in the US and UK, including directors from some of the largest manufacturers, exporters and professional services companies from both countries.

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