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 CAS-AFS is operated by the existing UAF authorities and governing bodies. The CAS-AFS governing bodies exerts regulatory role for the smooth functioning of all processes not only to achieve the project targets but also ensure its sustainability. In addition to UAF statutory bodies, CAS-AFS functions are governed by the following three governing bodies.
The CAS-AFS Advisory Committee (CAC)
The CAC is the executive body for overall CAS-AFS project in Pakistan. It reviews 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 CAS-AFS specific policy matters, personnel or other issues or feedback on which the CAS-AFS management seeks advice or on any other matter of importance.
The CAS-AFS Steering Committee (CSC)
It is the major decision-making body of CAS-AFS. It will govern all CAS-AFS functions by assisting CAS-AFS Management to develop long-term strategies which ensure CAS-AFS mandates as well as the interests of UAF. It will make sure that CAS-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 CAS-AFS activities with the HEC, the USAID and the US Partner.
The CAS-AFS 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 CAS-AFS research and academic activities according to the current and anticipated societal needs. This proactive council will bridge gap between CAS-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 CAS-AFS research and education. Based on market analyses and stakeholder consultation, CCRP will develop CAS-AFS research agenda, initiate curricular reform and determine the themes for funding projects and conferences.
The CAS-AFS develops 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 processes holistic encompassing the whole UAF. The traditional and theory-based courses and degree programs revamped to produce the best workforce to serve the ever-changing societal needs. The CAS-AFS academic programs 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. CAS-AFS graduates trained to have transferrable skills like oral and written communication skills, ICT skills, resource and financial management skills, and high professionalism which enhances their market competitiveness. At least 20 postgraduate courses meeting the international standards and current demands of Pakistani stakeholders have been developed or reformed and 3 new postgraduate degree programs launched through CAS-AFS interventions.
CLIENT ORIENTED APPLIED RESEARCH
CAS-AFS focuses on research that directly relates to the ongoing and anticipated challenges of food security under the domain of agriculture. The research agenda is 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. CAS-AFS emerges as a state of the art, modern applied and policy research center. It conducts 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 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 have been established.
QUALITY GRADUATE TRAINING AND CAPACITY BUILDING
The Center in Agriculture and Food Security works with its CAS 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% CAS-AFS graduates are employed upon completion of their studies, CAS-AFS develops 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 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.
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 Partner Universities, CAS-AFS develops a premier student and faculty exchange program to provide a unique off-campus learning experience to students and faculty. PhD students (registered through a stringent process of screening) are encouraged to complete at least one semester fellowship at the partner university. Through this exchange partnership, CAS-AFS students/faculty are 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, CAS-AFS develops mutual linkages with the private industry within the country and beyond (with the help of US Partner) in order to launch internship programs. Students are placed in internship program in different private sector organizations
TECHNICAL AND FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY
In conjunction with HEC, UAF has made sure that CAS-AFS perfectly has assimilated into UAF system by creating competitive edge and ownership that is beyond UAF. Joint teaching and research projects with the partner universities and private industry to ensure its sustainability.