University of Virginia opens office in China

Updated: 2015-03-09 11:02

By Paul Welitzkin in New York(China Daily USA)

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The University of Virginia opened an office in Shanghai as the school seeks to raise its profile in China.

The Charlottesville-based university officially launched the office on March 6 with The Year of U.Va. Opening in China at Shanghai's Waldorf Astoria Club. Following a conference on the challenges posed by China's rapid growth, a reception was attended by senior leadership from the university, Chinese government officials, alumni, parents of students and friends.

"The office provides us with an outpost in Shanghai so we can strengthen our academic and research partnerships, alumni engagement and recruiting in China and the rest of Asia," Dudley Doane, director of the university's international studies office said in an interview.

The school's growing alumni presence in the China and Asia was a major factor in establishing the Shanghai office, according to Doane.

"Our alumni numbers have been increasing both from Chinese nationals and expats who now live in China and Asia. And believe me these alumni are just as loyal to the school as any native Virginian," he said.

Doane said Ohio State University and McGill University in Montreal also have satellite offices in China. Some US colleges including Duke and New York universities have established an overseas campus in China.

He said about 900 students from China are attending classes at the Charlottesville campus this year and are evenly split between undergraduate and graduate programs. Last year about 126 U.Va. students studied in China. "We hope to increase that number significantly in the future," added Doane.

The university has been eager to raise its profile in China. U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan led a delegation to China in 2012 to bolster partnerships in education and research.

"Our involvement in China has grown tremendously in the last decade. There has been an increase in faculty collaborations and MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding) have been on the rise. Many of our alumni have returned to China and taken on significant positions in academia and the government. So the foundation already existed between the university and China," said Doane.

In addition to opening the Shanghai office, the university's Darden School of Business unveiled a strategic plan called the Asia Initiative at Darden to play a major role in business issues in China and the region.

"The Asia Initiative reflects the continued strategic importance of further investment in globalization at Darden and in connecting to a critical region of the world and a dynamic and rapidly changing business environment," Darden's Dean Robert F. Bruner said "We have significant activity already taking place in Asia."