US schools go East with cam­puses

The num­ber of Chi­nese stu­dents at col­leges and univer­si­ties in the United States is on the rise, but re­cip­ro­cal in­ter­est from US and other in­ter­na­tional stu­dents for study­ing in China has not been as fer­vent, re­ports from New York.

China Daily (Canada) - - DEPTH -

Mink­ing Chyu is dean of Sichuan Univer­sity-Pittsburgh In­sti­tute (SCUPI) in Chengdu, Sichuan province. The joint pro­gram was es­tab­lished in 2013.

SCUPI has en­rolled 100 un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents this year, and plans call for 1,600 full-time stu­dents over the next seven years. The school has hired 10 fac­ulty mem­bers from Canada, China, Eng­land, Ja­pan and the US.

Stu­dents ma­jor in one of three un­der­grad­u­ate en­gi­neer­ing pro­grams, with the first two years spent in China and then have the op­tion to study in the US to earn two de­grees.

“There is a lot of co­or­di­na­tion be­tween Sichuan Univer­sity and the Univer­sity of Pittsburgh,” Chyu said. “One of the ma­jor tasks in this early stage of es­tab­lish­ment is to find a com­mon ground be­tween two dif­fer­ent sys­tems. That is one of the chal­lenges for me as a dean, in ad­di­tion to deal­ing with the fac­ulty and the stu­dents.”

The need for mul­ti­task­ing was echoed by De­nis Si­mon, the ex­ec­u­tive vice-chan­cel­lor of Duke Kun­shan Univer­sity (DKU), who said that one of the key com­po­nents for op­er­at­ing a branch cam­pus in China is the co­or­di­na­tion of all the “lo­cal play­ers”.

“The city of Kun­shan, the peo­ple back at Duke and Wuhan Univer­sity, the peo­ple in Jiangsu, we have to make sure all are in align­ment on things,” Si­mon said.

Duke Univer­sity

Duke and Wuhan’s part­ner­ship was ap­proved by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion in Septem­ber 2013. The school’s first group of stu­dents be­gan classes in Au­gust 2014.

Si­mon said there are 37 grad­u­ate stu­dents from 14 coun­tries in DKU’s master’s de­gree pro­grams in global health, med­i­cal physics and man­age­ment stud­ies. Plans call for a full-scale un­der­grad­u­ate pro­gram in Fall 2018, Si­mon said.

DKU also of­fers a non-de­gree un­der­grad­u­ate se­mes­ter pro­gram in Kun­shan, the Un­der­grad­u­ate Global Learn­ing Se­mes­ter, which has 53 un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents — 15 per­cent are in­ter­na­tional and 85 per­cent are Chi­nese — for the 2015-2016 aca­demic year.

“The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion has cre­ated a spe­cial bureau that is re­spon­si­ble for over­sight and man­age­ment of these joint-ven­ture univer­si­ties,” Si­mon said. “There are new things on the Chi­nese and for­eign sides, but the re­spon­si­bil­ity is twofold. They want to en­sure com­pli­ance with cer­tain rules and reg­u­la­tions and make sure that the ground re­mains fer­tile for these univer­si­ties to do their thing. In other words, to bring to China the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion, the type of ped­a­gogy and the re­search ca­pa­bil­ity that was com­mit­ted to from the very be­gin­ning.”

Kent Stew­ard, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of univer­sity re­la­tions and mar­ket­ing at Fort Hays State Univer­sity (FHSU), said that in re­cent years the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has im­proved its col­lege ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, in­clud­ing part­ner­ships for­eign schools.

“The big pro­gram that we have there is what we call a cross-bor­der agree­ment,” Stew­ard said. “And we have two dual-de­gree part­ner­ships in China right now, so the stu­dents end up with a dual de­gree ei­ther from Shenyang Nor­mal or from Sias In­ter­na­tional and Fort Hays State.”

FHSU op­er­ates the dual-de­gree pro­gram along with Sias In­ter­na­tional Univer­sity (Xinzheng, He­nan province) and Shenyang Nor­mal Univer­sity (Shenyang, Liaon­ing province) where Chi­nese stu­dents study in English to­ward un­der­grad­u­ate de­grees in busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion, global busi­ness, in­for­ma­tion net­work­ing, or­ga­ni­za­tional lead­er­ship and po­lit­i­cal science.

Open­ing doors

“It gives many young peo­ple in China an op­por­tu­nity they would not oth­er­wise have,” Stew­ard said. “They get a good ed­u­ca­tion and hav­ing an Amer­i­can de­gree re­ally does open some doors for them.”

“All of those things have al­lowed our stu­dents to broaden their hori­zons,” he said. “China hasn’t been our big­gest growth area, but it’s been part of our over­all ef­fort to grow our en­roll­ment. We are in western Kansas, which is sparsely pop­u­lated. The pop­u­la­tion is de­clin­ing and ag­ing, which is a dou­ble­whammy for a univer­sity, so we’ve had to broaden our hori­zons in a lot of ways.”

He said that dur­ing the last aca­demic year there were nearly 3,200 Chi­nese stu­dents en­rolled in Fort Hays’s pro­grams at its part­ner schools in China. The school be­gan op­er­at­ing in China in the early 2000s.

There are some is­sues that do come up for stu­dents, like the use of new tech­nol­ogy in the cur­ricu­lum, Stew­ard said.

“In China that doesn’t al­ways work real well,” he said. “Part of that is a fire­wall that can cre­ate prob­lems, and that’s why we can’t use online ed­u­ca­tion as our main tool in China. It’s been dif­fi­cult at times to try to fig­ure out how we can take ad­van­tage of what com­put­ers can do.”

A lo­ca­tion near the in­ter­na­tional busi­ness hub of Shang­hai was one of the main rea­sons that the Univer­sity of Michigan chose to part­ner with Shang­hai Jiao Tong Univer­sity in 2006, James Paul Hol­loway, vice-provost for Global and En­gaged Ed­u­ca­tion at the Univer­sity of Michigan, wrote in an e-mail to China Daily.

“Shang­hai Jiao Tong Univer­sity (SJTU) is one of China’s top univer­si­ties,” Hol­loway wrote, and that makes them “a nat­u­ral part­ner for us”. The JI also pro­vides a “large land­ing zone for UM stu­dents to take cour­ses in China”.

Chi­nese and in­ter­na­tional stu­dents at­tend­ing the school have a chance to study in Shang­hai and Ann Ar­bor for two years to com­plete their dual-de­gree pro­gram.

There are 1,217 Chi­nese stu­dents en­rolled at the school in Shang­hai and 26 in­ter­na­tional stu­dents, in­clud­ing one from the US, in the un­der­grad­u­ate and grad­u­ate pro­grams.

Com­fort zone

“For both US and Chi­nese stu­dents, spend­ing time to study and work in each other’s coun­try pro­vides all of the im­por­tant ben­e­fits of study abroad — it re­quires stu­dents to live and achieve out­side of their com­fort zone, in a place where prac­tices and ex­pec­ta­tions are dif­fer­ent. This de­vel­ops flex­i­bil­ity, cre­ativ­ity, per­sis­tence, and the abil­ity to ap­pre­ci­ate and deal with dif­fer­ences.”

The other full-scale branch cam­pus school op­er­at­ing in Shang­hai is New York Univer­sity, which opened in the fall of 2013.

NYU Shang­hai is home to 141 full-time fac­ulty and roughly 1,000 stu­dents — equally di­vided among Chi­nese and in­ter­na­tional stu­dents — in the full un­der­grad­u­ate pro­gram, ac­cord­ing to Thomas Bruce, a se­nior coun­selor at the school. The goal is 2,000 stu­dents a year.

NYU’s part­ner­ship with East China Nor­mal Univer­sity is part of an ef­fort “to carry out small ex­per­i­ments with ap­proaches to higher ed­u­ca­tion that are dif­fer­ent from those gen­er­ally used at Chi­nese univer­si­ties”, Bruce wrote in an e-mail.

“A cam­pus in Shang­hai ad­vances NYU’s over­all ‘global net­work’ vi­sion,” Bruce wrote. “The scale of China along any di­men­sion — its own ed­u­ca­tional as­pi­ra­tions, and its im­por­tance geopo­lit­i­cally and cul­tur­ally — make it an im­por­tant place for NYU to be.”

A fo­cus on in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary work helps NYU Shang­hai pro­vide stu­dents with “a unique, cross-cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence,” he wrote.

NYU Shang­hai of­fers roughly 20 dif­fer­ent ar­eas of study, with un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents el­i­gi­ble for two bach­e­lor’s de­grees. Stu­dents study­ing for master’s and PhDs in the grad­u­ate pro­gram re­ceive one de­gree from NYU.

Some 20 miles away from NYU’s US cam­pus is Kean Univer­sity in New Jersey. In 2012, Kean re­ceived ini­tial ap­proval from the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment to op­er­ate a branch cam­pus through a part­ner­ship with Wen­zhou Univer­sity in Wen­zhou, Zhe­jiang province. Wen­zhou-Kean Univer­sity ( WKU), wel­comed its first class in the fall of 2014.

Hol­ger Henke, as­so­ciate vi­cepres­i­dent for aca­demic af­fairs at WKU, wrote in an e-mail that the part­ner­ship “of­fers an Amer­i­can univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion to Chi­nese stu­dents as well as an op­por­tu­nity for Kean’s New Jersey stu­dents to study in China”.

“Like other for­eign univer­si­ties op­er­at­ing in China, WKU of­fers a Western cur­ricu­lum and ped­a­gogy to Chi­nese stu­dents,” Henke wrote. “WKU will also en­hance the cre­ativ­ity land­scape of Wen­zhou by fos­ter­ing pro­grams such as graphic de­sign and ar­chi­tec­ture,” Henke wrote. “In turn, fu­ture de­mand for new pro­grams at WKU may be­come an in­cen­tive to be­gin such pro­grams at Kean Univer­sity in the United States.”

Ed­u­ca­tional ex­changes

On June 19 dur­ing a visit to the Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute at the Univer­sity of Pittsburgh in a meet­ing with univer­sity of­fi­cials and Pittsburgh Mayor Wil­liam Pe­duto, Liu Yan­dong, China’s vice-premier, stressed the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tional ex­change be­tween China and the US at all lev­els.

Af­ter Pittsburgh, Liu stopped in Hous­ton, Texas. Dur­ing a June 22 key­note ad­dress for the US-China Univer­sity Pres­i­dents Round­table at Rice Univer­sity, Liu em­pha­sized peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes be­tween China and the US and the role of univer­si­ties.

“Univer­si­ties are pioneers for peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­change be­tween our coun­tries, and [they] act as pioneers for hu­man progress,” Liu said. “They are where dif­fer­ent ideas and cul­tures meet and merge with each other, and also the bind­ing force for China-US re­la­tions.”

Chyu, with Pitt, said: “Ev­ery univer­sity has dif­fer­ent ob­jec­tives when they’re do­ing this type of col­lab­o­ra­tion — both from the US and the Chi­nese side. The bot­tom line is ev­ery­one is try­ing for bet­ter pro­grams pol­icy-wise.”

Si­mon of DKU said: “China has be­come more glob­ally en­gaged, and as a re­sult there’s a greater will­ing­ness to look into things like a lib­eral arts univer­sity. There’s a will­ing­ness to experiment. That wasn’t al­ways the case.”

Kinser said his team sees more pro­posed cam­puses by US schools in China on the hori­zon, “so the trend is not slow­ing ap­pre­cia­tively”.

“But the trend is likely to­ward more joint pro­grams and cam­puses that fo­cus on re­search con­nec­tions, in ad­di­tion to stand-alone ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions,” he said.

As for US-based col­leges and univer­si­ties en­rolling Chi­nese stu­dents, Kinser said as their abil­ity to en­roll do­mes­tic stu­dents de­creases they are look­ing to over­seas stu­dents who can af­ford the tu­ition.

In the 2013-14 aca­demic year, 886,052 in­ter­na­tional stu­dents stud­ied at US col­leges and univer­si­ties, an 8.1 per­cent in­crease year-overyear ac­cord­ing to IIE, and stu­dents from China ac­counted for nearly 31 per­cent of that to­tal, 274,439.

China be­came the No 1 coun­try send­ing stu­dents to the US in the 2009-2010 school year, and it has main­tained that po­si­tion with seven years of dou­ble-digit in­creases, ac­cord­ing to IIE.

But Kinser said part of the chal­lenge with schools look­ing for stu­dents from China is that many have “banked their fi­nances” on China con­tin­u­ing to fun­nel stu­dents to US univer­si­ties.

“As China con­tin­ues to build its ca­pac­ity by build­ing these [US] part­ner­ships, it is in­creas­ingly able to ed­u­cate its own stu­dents ac­cord­ing to Western qual­ity stan­dards,” Kinser said. “At the same time, it is main­tain­ing ed­u­ca­tional sovereignty, and there might be a turn­ing point.’’

“Right now Chi­nese stu­dents rep­re­sent some­thing like a third of all glob­ally mo­bile stu­dents,” Kinser said. “It might con­tinue for a while longer, it cer­tainly can’t con­tinue un­til per­pe­tu­ity. So what hap­pens when China stops pro­vid­ing all these in­ter­na­tional stu­dents?”

Con­tact the writer at jack­freifelder@chi­nadai­


The cam­pus of Duke Kun­shan Univer­sity is in Jiangsu province.The school’s first group of stu­dents be­gan classes in Au­gust 2014.

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