Concordia increased its ties to China through an educational agreement with a university in Chongquing, China. On Nov. 2, Provost Mark Krejci and Vice President of Enrollment Steve Schuetz met with two delegates from the Sichuan International Studies University for a signing ceremony.
This new agreement will allow SISU students to apply for Concordia enrollment. Conversely, Concordia students have the option to study abroad at SISU, which has a strong international business program, among others.
“In China, it’s trendy to establish partnerships with other developed countries,” said Concordia Chinese professor Tao Ming, who attended SISU.
Other schools have made similar partnerships, including the United International College in Zhuhai, China. UIC connected with the Minnesota Private College Council and developed its relationship with Concordia in 2006. UIC is the first liberal arts college in China.
The Chinese education system places a high value on quality training and increased English fluency, according to Tao. Students want a competitive edge for the job market, and studying in an English-speaking environment helps.
Relationships with schools in China impact most students on campus in indirect, but important, ways, said global studies professor Ken Foster.
“It’s important for the college to be international in many ways,” Foster said. “This could lead to an increase in our students who study Chinese.”
And with China emerging as a world leader, Foster said, he has been impressed with the action of campus leadership to nimbly establish these partnerships.
Last May, Foster and six other faculty members spent six weeks at SISU to learn about the culture and discover ways to incorporate China into their curriculum.
Doug Anderson, a Concordia math professor, spent time during his 2010 sabbatical teaching linear algebra and calculus at the UIC.
Four more faculty members, including Joan Kopperud, Kristi Loberg, David Wintersteen and Greg Carlson, are in China now visiting the UIC.
Interest in Asian studies has experienced growth at Concordia, according to Tao. In 2008 when he began teaching at Concordia, there were seven Chinese students. Now, he says, there are more than 50.
“This world is a changing world, a globalized world. So how can we know each other better?” Tao asked. “We go to each other’s culture.”
Editor’s Note: Another piece of Chinese culture appeared on campus Wednesday, Nov. 16 through the CHINA Town Hall event. The global studies program and the Offutt School of Business hosted the fifth annual CHINA Town Hall: Local Connections, National Reflections.
Steph Barnhart, 2013, is a multimedia journalism and public relations major at Concordia College. She has been a contributing writer, staff writer, and the news editor for The Concordian. Steph is an optimistic vegetarian who loves sustainability blogs, green tea, and talking. Follow her on Twitter at @stephbarnhart.