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Top U.S. educator looks to TAFE for inspiration

24 Jun 2009

Dr Andrew Thulin, a senior academic from the United States' fourth largest agricultural college, is heading 'down-under' to seek inspiration from one of Victoria's leading TAFE institutes - NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE).

As Head of the Animal Science Department at California Polytechnic State University (Cal-Poly), Dr Thulin will spend a week touring NMIT facilities and meeting key staff from NMIT's aquaculture, agriculture and land management, equine and viticulture programs.

With design and construction commencing later this year on Cal-Poly's new equine studies facility and meat processing centre, Dr Thulin is keen to visit some of NMIT's leading primary industry facilities including the institute's Applied Aquaculture and Research Centre, wineries and vineyards, training farm, horse stud and Meat/Fish Processing and Training Centre. Most of these facilities are based at, or in close proximity to, NMIT's Epping campus.

Cal-Poly is also planning an expansion of its culinology area and Dr Thulin will visit NMIT's Hospitality training facilities at its Preston campus to see how NMIT's agricultural programs are vertically integrated with its culinary programs - a learning process more commonly referred to at NMIT as “paddock to plate”.

“I hope to get better acquainted with the vision, leadership, management, faculty, students and facilities at NMIT,” said Dr Thulin. “Cal-Poly and NMIT have significant similarities in their Higher Education programs for Equine Studies and Viticulture and Winemaking.

Following a number of reciprocal visits by key NMIT and Cal-Poly staff over recent years, the tour by Dr Thulin represents a significant opportunity to further open the door to increased exchanges between NMIT and Cal-Poly. During his visit, Dr Thulin and NMIT CEO, Brian MacDonald, will sign a memorandum of understanding which, it is hoped, will pave the way for broader cooperative engagement between the two organisations, including student and staff exchanges.

“NMIT has a leading Higher Education program in Aquaculture that potentially could serve US students from Cal-Poly,” added Dr Thulin.

NMIT's Director of Programs, David Draper, said that Dr Thulin's arrival in Melbourne was keenly anticipated.

“Dr Thulin's visit represents a significant step towards establishing a mutually beneficial partnership between our two institutions. It also demonstrates that Australia's TAFE system can offer international students world's best practice and facilities,” Mr Draper said.

Related: News 2 May, 2009 - Cal-Poly's Animal Science Head to visit NMIT


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Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour