ASU looks to expand programs with Chinese universities
A group of ASU faculty and administrators returned from an early-March trip to China are optimistic about expanding ASU 3+2 programs with partner and potential partner institutions there.
3+2 programs enable students to complete the first three years of their undergraduate degree at their home institutions; the fourth year and a first year of post-graduate work is done at a partner institution, resulting in a bachelor’s degree from the home institution and a master’s degree from the partner.
Stephen Feinson, director of ASU Global’s Strategic Partnerships office, escorted the ASU delegation, which included Sander Van der Leeuw, director, School of Human Evolution and Social Change; Paul LePore, associate dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Gary Waissi, associate vice president, ASU Global; Zohreh Sotoodeh, director, International Undergraduate Admissions; Jianguo “Jingle” Wu, Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS); and Jiping He, Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering.
The group met with representatives of Sichuan University (SCU), Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), Wuhan University, Beijing Normal University, East China Normal University, China University of Petroleum, Communication University of China, Henan University of Science and Technology and the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. The Chinese universities were selected on the basis of due diligence research by Mengying Li, ASU China partnerships manager, based on each institution’s ranking within China, overlapping areas of academic strength between ASU and the Chinese institutions and pre-existing relationships that could be built upon.
“This was only my second trip to China, and the first outside Beijing,” says Van der Leeuw, “and I was tremendously impressed. The social sciences in China differ more from what we do here than is the case for many other disciplines, such as engineering and life sciences. Hence, the trip offered many opportunities to discuss our ways of doing things. Chinese faculty and students are very eager to come here, and I expect a really interesting time as we ramp up this program.”
The response from the Chinese universities was almost uniformly positive, with existing partners and potential partners alike expressing an eagerness to begin as soon as possible.
"These 3+2 programs will advance student mobility significantly between ASU and SCU, says Jian “Stan” Shi, SCU’s vice president for global engagement, who signed a supplementary 3+2 agreement with ASU during a February visit here. “They enable both faculty and students to participate more broadly in the strategic partnership we have with ASU, and provide opportunities for students to benefit from a global education experience."
Programmatic areas discussed include English as second language (TOESL), teacher training, engineering, sustainability and a number of social science disciplines. HUST anticipates sending as many as 50 students to ASU in the coming year to participate in an electrical engineering program, and students from other institutions could arrive as early as fall 2010.
“It became clear to all of us,” says LePore, “that the universities we visited in China in many ways share and are incorporating the design principles of the New American University – access, excellence, impact, teaching across the disciplines, and a focus on student success. We share far more in common with our Chinese partners than many of us had realized.
”The 3+2 partnerships have the potential to add much to the ASU environment – at the faculty level by cementing collaborations, and among students from connecting with different cultures. I see it as diplomacy in its best form.”
Two weeks before the delegation arrived, Rob Melnick, executive director of GIOS also visited Tongji University to promote a 3+2 program in sustainability.
ASU Global has convened an “all hands” group with representatives from across the university to serve as a task force that will structure and formalize the 3+2 model in support ASU’s international student initiatives, building on the success of the China trip to broaden support for recruiting efforts by individual academic units.
Also under way are efforts to ensure that ASU has appropriate funding to launch and support this ambitious initiative, to evaluate ASU capacity and the capacities of individual academic units to absorb students, to identify faculty champions, to map courses and credits with partner institutions, to resolve credit-counting issues with the Graduate College, and to develop marketing, business and recruitment plans in support of the programs.