Chi­nese univer­sity lead­ers visit Texas to round-up some ideas

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By MAY ZHOU in Houston mayzhou@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

A del­e­ga­tion of more than 20 lead­ers from 19 Chi­nese uni­ver­si­ties put their heads to­gether at the Con­sulate Gen­eral of China in Houston on Dec 19 to fig­ure out ways to en­tice Chi­nese PhD grad­u­ates at US uni­ver­si­ties to come back to China.

Zhang Yiqun, con­sul and di­rec­tor of the con­sulate’s ed­u­ca­tion of­fice, and Con­sul Duan Fenghua dis­cussed with the del­e­ga­tion var­i­ous in­cen­tive pro­grams tar­get­ing the roughly 235,000 Chi­nese stu­dents study­ing in the US. Zhang also men­tioned that Chi­nese uni­ver­si­ties wel­come Amer­i­can stu­dents to study in China and en­cour­age them to ap­ply for schol­ar­ships pro­vided by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment.

The del­e­ga­tion, con­sist­ing mostly of vice-pres­i­dents and vice-chair­men of univer­sity coun­cils from China, had just com­pleted a week of train­ing and ex­change pro­grams at Rice Univer­sity and Texas A&M and were meet­ing just hours be­fore their flight home.

Del­e­ga­tion leader Zhao Ji, ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of Jilin Univer­sity, said, “We touched on many topics. We learned about US uni­ver­si­ties’ ex­pe­ri­ences and ways of gov­er­nance, cul­ti­vat­ing tal­ent, com­modi­tiz­ing re­search re­sults, fundrais­ing, alumni re­la­tions, re­la­tions with the gov­ern­ment and other is­sues.”

Chi­nese uni­ver­si­ties are un­der­go­ing re­forms and can learn from the US’s so­phis­ti­cated higher ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, Zhao said. “We are im­pressed by their third-party eval­u­a­tion of col­lege qual­ity, guar­an­tees of aca­demic free­dom and well-de­fined sys­tem with the nur­tur­ing of tal­ent at its core mis­sion, as well as con­sis­tent poli­cies to en­cour­age and sup­port pro­fes­sors,” he said.

Kelly Kleinkort, di­rec­tor of the Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute at Texas A&M Univer­sity, said that “Texas A&M was very hon­ored to host such a pres­ti­gious group of lead­ers from Chi­nese in­sti­tu­tions of higher ed­u­ca­tion”.

She said that her univer­sity “wel­comes the op­por­tu­nity to be a part of en­hanc­ing univer­sity ad­min­is­tra­tion in China, shar­ing best prac­tices, and global stan­dards for ed­u­ca­tional ad­min­is­tra­tion. Ad­di­tion­ally, this train­ing opens doors for en­hanced col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Texas A&M Univer­sity and Chi­nese in­sti­tu­tions”.

Sonny Lim, spe­cial as­sis­tant for in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tions at Rice Univer­sity, said, “I am very happy to meet with the del­e­ga­tion mem­bers”. He also of­fered a sug­ges­tion to fu­ture groups: or­ga­nize the group by func­tion to fo­cus on the same sub­ject for bet­ter indepth dis­cus­sion, and pre­pare pre­sen­ta­tions to talk about Chi­nese uni­ver­si­ties “be­cause US univer­sity ad­min­is­tra­tions want to learn from them also. When we col­lab­o­rate with Chi­nese uni­ver­si­ties, we need to learn about the Chi­nese way.”

Lim said that he and Rice Univer­sity Pres­i­dent David Lee­bron and his wife, univer­sity rep­re­sen­ta­tive Y. Ping Sun, vis­ited China in Oc­to­ber of last year. “We are very in­ter­ested in col­lab­o­ra­tions with China,” Lim said. “We were very happy to be re­ceived by Vice-Pre­mier Liu Yan­dong in Zhong­nan­hai im­pe­rial gar­den and met with the pres­i­dents of Bei­jing Univer­sity and Qing Hua Univer­sity.”

Be­sides the of­fi­cial pro­grams, Sun said she and her hus­band hosted the del­e­ga­tion in their home and in­vited some Rice pro­fes­sors to fur­ther ex­change ideas in a more re­laxed en­vi­ron­ment.

“Dur­ing our visit to China we no­ticed that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment was in­vest­ing heav­ily in higher ed­u­ca­tion, yet in the US gov­ern­ment is cut­ting back on univer­sity fund­ing. This is re­ally not a wise move. China and US def­i­nitely can learn from each other,” Sun con­cluded.

MAY ZHOU / CHINA DAILY

Zhang Yiqun (right), con­sul and di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion at the con­sulate gen­eral of China in Houston, talks to Zhao Ji (left), ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of Jilin Univer­sity and del­e­ga­tion leader at the Chi­nese con­sulate gen­eral.

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