US uni­ver­si­ties set up shop in China

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By CHINA DAILY

More and more US uni­ver­si­ties are likely to set up of­fices in China in or­der to strengthen their lo­cal pres­ence, ac­cord­ing to an ex­pert.

“The trend (of Amer­i­can uni­ver­si­ties es­tab­lish­ing of­fices in China) will strengthen as the de­mand among Chi­nese stu­dents to study in the US is huge,” said Nini Suet, CEO of Shang Learn­ing, an ed­u­ca­tion con­sul­tancy that spe­cial­izes in pre­par­ing Chi­nese stu­dents for stud­ies abroad.

Prince­ton Univer­sity will soon open its first of­fice in China at Ts­inghua Univer­sity, ac­cord­ing to Suet, who is also chair­man of an alumni com­mit­tee where she’s re­spon­si­ble for in­ter­view­ing po­ten­tial stu­dents for the univer­sity.

Three weeks ago the Univer­sity of Illi­nois Ur­banaCham­paign ( UIUC) launched its first China of­fice at the Shang­hai Center.

“It is our first over­seas of­fice,” Sarah Zehr, UIUC’s di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions for the Of­fice of Pub­lic En­gage­ment, told China Daily. “We have so many Chi­nese stu­dents and alumni, so I think China will be a great first stop to strengthen our in­ter­na­tional pres­ence.”

Phyl­lis Wise, chan­cel­lor of UIUC, flew to Shang­hai to at­tend the open­ing cer­e­mony. She wrote in her blog that the of­fice marked another mile­stone for the univer­sity.

“China is a place where we have great op­por­tu­ni­ties to ad­vance the ed­u­ca­tional, re­search and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment mis­sions of the cam­pus,” Wise wrote. “We count an in­creas­ing num­ber of Chi­nese stu­dents and alumni as mem­bers of the Illi­nois fam­ily. And they are among our strong­est and most stead­fast ad­vo­cates any­where in the world.”

Among other func­tions, the of­fice will fa­cil­i­tate the ad­mis­sion process.

“China is a big source of stu­dents for us and it’s im­por­tant to be fully en­gaged with them. This of­fice will help us bet­ter serve our stake­hold­ers in China,” Pradeep Khanna, as­so­ci­ate chan­cel­lor for cor­po­rate and in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions at UIUC, said in an in­ter­view with the school’s news bureau.

UIUC sta­tis­tics show that out of the 9,407 in­ter­na­tional stu­dents en­rolled in the fall 2013 se­mes­ter, 48 per­cent were Chi­nese.

As the de­mand among Chi­nese stu­dents to study abroad has been grow­ing sig­nif­i­cantly, over­seas ed­u­ca­tion agen­cies have mush­roomed to help stu­dents ap­ply to US schools. But along with this de­vel­op­ment have also come frauds, mak­ing China of­fices di­rectly rep­re­sent­ing the US schools ever more nec­es­sary, ac­cord­ing to Suet.

“I hope more US uni­ver­si­ties can send di­rect rep­re­sen­ta­tives or alumni of­fi­cers to China to of­fer au­then­tic and first-hand in­for­ma­tion for Chi­nese stu­dents,” said Suet. “There are sim­ply too many scams on the mar­ket.”

The of­fice will fo­cus on build­ing and fos­ter­ing re­la­tion­ships with Chi­nese com­pa­nies and aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions, as well as pro­vid­ing stu­dents and fac­ulty with aca­demic ex­change and ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties in China.

For Prince­ton Univer­sity, the main pur­pose of its first ad­min­is­tra­tive center in China will also be sup­port­ing fac­ulty, stu­dents and staff study­ing and con­duct­ing re­search in China.

“While Prince­ton fac­ulty, un­der­grad­u­ate and grad­u­ate stu­dents will con­tinue to study in China through ex­ist­ing aca­demic pro­grams, we hope the center will be a valu­able re­source and con­nec­tion to Prince­ton while they are abroad,” Diana Davies, Prince­ton’s vice-provost for in­ter­na­tional ini­tia­tives, said in the school news.

Prince­ton has no plans to of­fer ad­mis­sion sup­port through the of­fice.

“Prince­ton is very cau­tious about it be­cause it is, af­ter all, about academics and not PR,” said Suet, who is also chair­man of grad­u­ate alumni af­fairs at Prince­ton Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion of Bei­jing, which has pledged to of­fer full sup­port to help with ad­mis­sions in China.

In the past few years sev­eral US uni­ver­si­ties have es­tab­lished a phys­i­cal pres­ence in China. The list in­cludes the State Univer­sity of New York (SUNY), the Univer­sity of Idaho, Kansas State Univer­sity, Michi­gan State Univer­sity and the Univer­sity of Min­nesota. Most of th­ese uni­ver­si­ties and oth­ers have a sep­a­rate web­site in Chi­nese, some with a dot-cn do­main.

New York Univer­sity (NYU) took a phys­i­cal pres­ence one step fur­ther by es­tab­lish­ing a de­gree-grant­ing cam­pus in Shang­hai in 2012. The school, named “NYU Shang­hai”, is the first Amer­i­can univer­sity that has re­ceived in­de­pen­dent reg­is­tra­tion sta­tus from China’s Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.

The in­au­gu­ral class of 2017 be­gan last Septem­ber at East China Nor­mal Univer­sity, as the of­fi­cial cam­pus is still un­der con­struc­tion. Out of the 294 stu­dents, 51 per­cent are Chi­nese lo­cals. Zhang Yang con­trib­uted to this re­port and can be reached at yangzhang@ chi­nadai­lyusa.com

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