In order to achieve the above objectives, USPCAS-AFS will work in five dimensions
- Efficient governance and leadership
- Effective curricular reforms
- High quality applied and policy research
- Internationally competitive multidisciplinary graduate training
- Technical and financial sustainability
Under the leadership of a center Director, the USPCAS-AFS will be operated by the existing UAF authorities and governing bodies. The USPCAS-AFS governing bodies will exert regulatory role for the smooth functioning of all processes not only to achieve the project targets but will also ensure its sustainability beyond the project life. In addition to UAF statutory bodies, USPCAS-AFS functions will be governed by the following three governing bodies.
The CAS-FSA Advisory Committee (CAC)
The CAC is the executive body for overall USPCAS-AFS project in Pakistan. It will review the progress, critically analyze the challenges and make recommendation in the context of overall national economy and sustainability. Working under leadership of USAID and HEC, it will have mandate to discuss USPCAS-AFS specific policy matters, personnel or other issues or feedback on which the USPCAS-AFS management seeks advice or on any other matter of importance.
The CAS-FSA Steering Committee (CSC)
It is the major decision-making body of USPCAS-AFS. It will govern all USPCAS-AFS functions by assisting USPCAS-AFS Management to develop long-term strategies which ensure USPCAS-AFS mandates as well as the interests of UAF. It will make sure that USPCAS-AFS objectives are being adequately addressed and the project remains under control. It will govern the processes of project management, HR, scholarships, training, and will be responsible to liaise USPCAS-AFS activities with the HEC, the USAID and the US Partner.
The CAS-FSA Council for Research and Policy (CCRP)
The CCRP will work as a think-tank. It will develop, review, and recommend policies that support and enhance USPCAS-AFS research and academic activities according to the current and anticipated societal needs. This proactive council will bridge gap between USPCAS-AFS research and national policy through neutral policy analysis and initiating dialogue with government and stakeholders. It will facilitate public private partnerships (PPPs) by strengthening the participation of stakeholders in USPCAS-AFS research and education. Based on market analyses and stakeholder consultation, CCRP will develop USPCAS-AFS research agenda, initiate curricular reform and determine the themes for funding projects, conferences and
The USPCAS-AFS will develop a rigorous process of curricular reforms to improve the relevance and quality of its educational programs in line with the current and anticipated future demands of the public and private sector markets. The reform process will be holistic encompassing the whole UAF. The traditional and theory-based courses and degree programs will be revamped to produce the best workforce to serve the ever changing societal needs. The USPCAS-AFS academic programs will be essentially multidisciplinary and built on rich experiential learning through participation in advanced research, workplace internships, and exposure to competitive working environment by spending time in the US partner university. USPCAS-AFS graduates will be trained to have transferrable skills like oral and written communication skills, ICT skills, resource and financial management skills, and high professionalism which will enhance their market competitiveness. At least 20 postgraduate courses meeting
the international standards and current demands of Pakistani stakeholders will be developed or reformed and 3-5 new postgraduate degree programs will be launched at USPCAS-AFS.
CLIENT ORIENTED APPLIED RESEARCH
USPCAS-AFS will focus on research that directly relates to the ongoing and anticipated challenges of food security under the domain of agriculture. The research agenda will be developed in collaboration with relevant private sector and government stakeholders to ensure relevance and attract private sector funding for advanced research in food security and agriculture. USPCAS-AFS will emerge as a state of the art, modern applied and policy research center. It will conduct high quality applied research that relates to the ongoing and anticipated challenges in food security under the domain of agriculture. Under guidance from CCRP, it will be ensured that its research agenda meets the client needs and attract private sector funding in future to become sustainable. Initially, five chairs (i.e., Agricultural Policy, Precision Agriculture, Climate Change, Biotechnology and Outreach) addressing the most important areas to boost agricultural productivity will be established.
QUALITY GRADUATE TRAINING AND CAPACITY BUILDING
The Center in Agriculture and Food Security will work with its USPCAS counterpart to increase the prevalent use of effective teaching techniques and applied learning opportunities that promote critical thinking, self-confidence and market value. In order to make sure that more than 50% USPCAS-AFS graduates are employed upon completion of their studies, USPCAS-AFS will develop lifelong learning and training capabilities in collaboration with US partner (through exchange program) and industrial giants (through internship program). The selection of candidates for every opportunity will be purely on merit but ensuring the gender balance. The current 47% female population in graduate programs at UAF clearly shows that UAF is already focused on gender mainstreaming. UAF will work with the US partner to develop the following three capacity building programs
Graduate and postgraduate Scholarships
USPCAS-AFS will administer atleast 250 postgraduate scholarships during 5 years to enable talented but economically and culturally disadvantaged students to access higher education at UAF. All students admitted in USPCAS-AFS will be fully funded (tuition fees, boarding, bench fee, books, stipends, etc.) through USAID funds.
Faculty/Student exchange programs
In collaboration with the US Partner University, USPCAS-AFS will develop a premier student and faculty exchange program to provide a unique off-campus learning experience to at least 200 students and faculty. All PhD students (registered through a stringent process of screening) will be required to complete at least one semester fellowship at the partner university. Through this exchange partnership, USPCAS-AFS students/faculty will be able to:
- Spend up to 6 months (or more depending on MoU with USU) at the host campus.
- Perform research under the supervision of a host advisor. Depending on agreement, the student will be encouraged to take some courses at the US University in addition to research.
- Discuss and share ideas on current research issues in a new environment
- Depending on the agreement with US Partner, some exchange students may have internship opportunity in the US
The fellowship will facilitate research interaction between the institutions and allow the students to enrich their learning experience.
True working environment of industry cannot adequately be taught within the four walls of classrooms or laboratories at the University. To overcome this, USPCAS-AFS will develop mutual linkages with the private industry within the country and beyond (with the help of US Partner) in order to launch internship programs. At least 50 students will be placed in internship program in different private sector organizations
TECHNICAL AND FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY
In conjunction with HEC, UAF will make sure that USPCAS-AFS perfectly assimilates into UAF system after five years by creating competitive edge and ownership that is beyond UAF. Joint teaching and research projects with the US partner and partnership with private industry will also ensure its sustainability. Further to bring sustainability in USPCAS-AFS functioning,