Wednesday, October 30, 2013
The University of West Georgia has two new partners in China, a development that gives the university the ability to expand international operations in several new academic areas. On a two-week visit that started in the Three Gorges region in central China and finished in the northern lake area of Hebei province, UWG representatives met with faculty, administrators and students to forge institutional relationships and establish the basis for academic cooperation.
Led by Dr. Maria Doyle of the International Services and Programs Office, the UWG team formalized relationships with Southwest University in the Beibei district of Chongqing and Hengshui University in Hengshui. “These partnerships not only open up new opportunities to bring international students to our campus, but they also provide us with strong prospects for developing collaborative research and enabling faculty exchange,” said Dr. Doyle.
The partnership with Southwest University promises to increase understanding of educational practices and theories from a cross-cultural perspective. According to Dr. Dianne Hoff, dean of UWG’s College of Education, “As our world becomes more connected, it is essential that educators gain a better understanding of the complex cultural and economic links between people and the impact these are having on education and on the children they are preparing for the future.” To further that end Dr. Doyle and College of Education professor Dr. Li Cao met with representatives from SWU’s Faculty of Education to discuss a program of student exchange that would bring Chinese students to the UWG campus to study U.S. educational practices. It would also create the opportunity for UWG students to spend time in China learning about this different educational system. The visit to Southwest included discussions about research with faculty in both education and psychology.
At Hengshui University, Dr. Doyle and Dr. Fengrong Wei of the College of Science and Mathematics met with representatives from the International Office and the Department of Mathematics to discuss ways to recruit talented Hengshui students for UWG’s master’s program in mathematics. Dr. Farooq Khan, dean of UWG’s College of Science and Mathematics, asserts that developing such international projects is very important for “a new college in a growing university” and the Department of Mathematics, “which is home to outstanding teacher-scholars, is well poised to initiate and promote such endeavors.”
“The department has already built international connections in terms of its scholarly activities, and we see this new program as a significant first step toward building such alliances in our teaching activities,” added Dr. Bruce Landman, UWG chair of the Department of Mathematics. Hengshui also offers the opportunity for research partnerships and the exchange of language faculty.
UWG President Dr. Kyle Marrero and Dr. Michael Hester, dean of the Honors College who also oversees International Services and Programs, signed a Memoranda of Understanding with both institutions. These memoranda establish the basis for discussion of specific projects that are now in development. With the addition of these partnerships, UWG now has four partner universities in China. The other two are Zhongnan University of Economics and Law in Wuhan and Shanghai University of International Business and Economics.