Guna-Tana Integrated Field Research and Development Center (GTIFRDC)
In order to realize the innovative curriculum in a holistic approach, DTU is establishing an open field learning environment where nature and man interact. The field-based learning integrates education, research, and service. They are three and one. This is University without walls.
The learning space/Center is bounded by Guna Mountain in the east, Lake Tana in the west, Rib River in the north, and Gumara River in the south. This is a means in which quality of education, and conservation and development of the learning environment.
2. Vision, mission, aims, and objectives of GTIFRDC
The Guna Tana Integrated Field Research and Development Center (GTIFRDC) aspires to be a center of excellence in integrated multidisciplinary research, training, and development in a field setting, a University without walls in Africa.
The mission of the Center is to contribute to the holistic development of the country by advancing excellence in multidisciplinary research through the integration of research, training, and service; by involving the different stakeholders. Hence, it undertakes multidisciplinary study, supports and facilitates both staff and students in their inquiry endeavor, offers training, and works with all stakeholders to address societal needs.
The major aim of the Center is to improve the quality of education and to conserve and develop the ecosystem from the tip of the mountain to the water body of the lake both biotic and abiotic elements based on research so that nature and the human species can benefit from each other.
3. GTIFRDC detail Information
From the tip of the mountain to the water body of the lake, an area bounded by the two rivers, which rises from the mountain and drains to the lake, is one ecosystem. Both biotic and abiotic elements in this catchment area are interdependent on each other. Hence, the need to conserve and develop this setting based on research. This approach will be a novel undertaking to integrate training, research, and service to realize DTU’s educational philosophy of innovative curriculum.
The ecosystem provides for human species food, construction material, recreation, and tourism. And it has a major role in the maintenance of hydrological cycles, cleaning air and water, the maintenance of oxygen in the atmosphere, crop pollination and even things like beauty, inspiration, and opportunities for research.
There is a need for research, to undertake evidence-based measures to conserve and develop the ecosystem where-by nature and the human species mutually benefit from each other. It is at this juncture DTU introduces its novel scheme of integrated education research and service in this catchment area. The University will engage its students of the different disciplines to undertake research and development on each ecology zone: physical feature, soil, fauna and flora; and the inhabiting community by involving the different stakeholders. The study and development addresses everything in the area both abiotic and biotic.
Learning will take place in the community outside the classrooms (University without walls). Students will be attached to this setting at the early stage of their learning that increases in a spiral form, as the learning year increases. In the process both students and the community will benefit from each other. Hence, the University is attempting to integrate learning, research and community service by engaging the different disciplines of the university and the different stakeholders of development.
For longitudinal data and population parameters, representative sample kebeles are selected at each ecological zone which includes eight rural and two urban kebeles.
In order to establish a baseline data, the research center/study setting is being mapped; and houses and population census are being undertaken.
To facilitate, learning, research and service, the University is building working stations at Awzet kebele for cool areas and Worta College of Agriculture (by joint agreement) for warm areas. These are field stations for research and technology dissemination. The field stations will have laboratories, workshops (eng), computer and IT facilities and accommodation services.
In line with this, the different disciplines in the University will develop study projects which will involve the different stakeholders – a multisectoral approach.
Introducing Green campus /Green University initiative scheme
Since DTU is committed to ecological sustainability in the Center’s setting, it is also introducing a new initiative of Green campus /Green University scheme in the university itself to be exemplary. This is an initiative where by DTU undertakes ecological sustainability in its academic, research, physical structure and space and in various campus life.
It introduces in the different academic programs curriculum sustainability issues such as environmental studies, green building, environmental engineering, sustainable development, environmental education, human ecology and extend to the larger community surrounding the campus.
Partial view of Mount Guna
Sheep breading at Awzet Research center
Partial view of Awzet Research Center