NORMAN — James Pappas, the University of Oklahoma’s dean of liberal studies and vice president of OU Outreach, knows the importance of lifelong learning. For the past 26 years at OU, he has dedicated himself to improving and advancing continuing education for all students.
Recently, Pappas’ work drew international attention from Universitatea din Bucuresti. In English, that’s the University of Bucharest, a 150-year-old institution in the European country of Romania. The university’s Faculty of Psychology and Educational Studies presented Pappas the title of Professor Honoris Causa. The honorary title is typically given out by European colleges fewer than 10 times a decade, Pappas said.
In April, a ceremony held in Romania to recognize Pappas was attended by officials from the University of Bucharest’s Psychology and Educational Studies staff. After a ceremonial vote, Pappas officially was recognized as an honorary professor.
“I’m excited about the fact that, while this is a personal award, it also recognizes the fact that the University of Oklahoma is being regarded internationally as a good school,” he said.
The award is in recognition of Pappas’ outstanding achievements, but is also the first step in building a relationship between the two universities. OU currently has little involvement with any Romanian institution, but Pappas said the University of Bucharest is interested in expanding its own adult education programs and hopes to form a partnership that will benefit both schools.
“In the College of Liberal Studies, we focus on adult education, and that’s something the University of Bucharest is very interested in,” Pappas said. “OU is a good model for how those types of programs can work. If we can develop activities between the two universities, it would enhance our ability to teach, as well as theirs, and create a great environment for exchanges.”
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