June 24, 2014
This past week, I had the pleasure of "seeing global" on the other side of the world: from Beijing to Changchun, to Shanghai.
Associate Provost for Internationalization Susan Carvalho and I travelled throughout China, meeting up with UK faculty, and visiting partner universities and institutions in the region. I was humbled to witness firsthand the power of UK's global partnerships, the leadership of our faculty members, and the true difference this collaboration makes in education and research for us and for our partners.
We recently deepened our ties with Chinese universities by establishing the Office of China Initiatives here on campus, to provide greater coordination, consistency and focus for UK's work in China. Faculty members across campus have expressed a need to maintain and enhance UK's strategic partnership efforts in China. This trip aimed to further enhance these efforts.
Our visits began in Beijing at the Ministry of Education, where we met with Fang Jun, the Deputy Director General of International Cooperation and Exchanges. We discussed the importance of student mobility, and in particular of opening up opportunities for UK students to study in China. He encouraged us to strengthen our ties with the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C., and he spoke about the current shift in higher education policy in China, away from rapid growth and toward quality enhancement and international alignment.
We then travelled to Changchun, the location of Jilin University, and like UK, Jilin University is a large comprehensive institution that includes several health care colleges. This creates numerous opportunities for research and teaching collaborations between our two institutions.
Jilin University President Li Yuanyuan and I signed the Collaborative Framework Agreement, which opens up discussion between our universities on developing leaders in a global community. President Capilouto first visited Jilin University two years ago, and we are now seeing the fruits of our relationship. Along with the Collaborative Framework, we signed an agreement with Construction Engineering, as well as finalized our agreements in Public Health and Business. We began conversations for collaborations in Medical Physics, Radiation Medicine, and Computer Science. Our two universities have a long friendship ahead of them.
At Shanghai University, we celebrated UK Week, where fourteen of our UK faculty were teaching SHU students. Shanghai University is also hosting a group of UK students studying Chinese (led by UK's professor Matt Wells), and a group of Kentucky high school students sponsored by the UK Confucius Institute. With Shanghai University President Luo Hongjie, we discussed the importance of strategic planning, intellectual exchange, and our shared values, especially as regards the importance of global networks and the transnational sharing of ideas.
I am so very grateful to the Executive Director of our Office of China Initiatives and Director of the Confucius Institute, Dr. Huajing Maske, for arranging these valuable conversations. I'm also even more aware of the leadership provided by our faculty across campus, in strengthening our win-win relationships abroad. These collaborations allow us to promote global awareness and literacy on our campus, while also furthering our research efforts and providing opportunities for faculty and students on both sides.
It was a wonderful week.