Gaston Berger University - St. Louis, Senegal
Gaston Berger University (GBU) was founded in 1974 and began operation in 1990 with 600 students. It is composed of four teaching and research colleges, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Applied Science and Technology,Judicial and Political Science and Economics and Business Management. Currently GBU has approximately 4500 students, 135 faculty in instruction and research, and 200 staff, but with plans to reach 15,000 students by 2015. It has a spacious, well-planned campus with a strong student-centered ambience. GBU defines itself as Senegal’s second university, but it is in effect the University of the Senegal River Valley, situated squarely in the river basin, near the Diama dam and one of the few universities in West Africa that is expressly proclaimed a combined instruction/applied research mission.
GBU formed the Agronomy, Aquaculture and Food Technology Unit in 2010, which forms part of the university’s efforts to engage in the regional development of the Senegal River valley through agriculture and sustainable development. The unit focuses on reducing risk to support increased food security in Senegal and the rest of west Africa. It draws on the experience and expertise of a multidisciplinary team with diverse backgrounds in the fields of agriculture, economics, hydrology, geography, environment, rural sociology, biostatistics, law and jurisdiction, biomathematics and modelling.
|GBU has also adopted an experiential and interdisciplinary learning approach which integrates classroom theory with field research and practice. The university maintains a 240 ha, including a 30-ha experimental farm, which is located in the Valley and presents similar environmental and agronomic conditions to those faced by SRV farm households. As part of a 2008 expansion plan, GBU has approved its UFR in Agricultural Sciences, Aquaculture, and Food Science. The faculties are called “Training and Research Units” (Unités de Formation et de Recherche – UFR), under which interrelated departments are clustered. The establishment of this agricultural technology competency within GBU contributes to an important complement to the research programs in rural development based on the social sciences.The University is in the process of developing its distance-learning capabilities, and it intends to reach 5000 students through distance-learning pedagogy by 2015.
The partners at GBU have hosted several unique short courses, largely centred around agricultural risk which have included;