Senegalese universities now recognize "community service" as a core value after passage of a law that is a direct result of Virginia Tech's involvement in the West African country.

"The relationship of Senegalese universities to the public has been transformed," said Mary Teuw Niane, Senegalese Minister of Higher Education and Research, at a research symposium in the capital city, Dakar, earlier this month. He credited "a new culture" introduced to public universities through the work of the Virginia Tech-led program Education and Research in Agriculture in Senegal.

The program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, has been working to improve the system of agricultural education at the college level for the past four years.

In addition to the new mission to promote community service, Niane also credited Virginia Tech with inspiring a second section of the law. It ensures private sector representation in university governance, which helps universities stay in tune with the job market.

Senegal's National Assembly unanimously passed the law in late December.

The Education and Research in Agriculture in Senegal program is managed by the Office of International Research, Education, and Development.

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