Florida college joins push for ties with China

Updated: 2013-09-13 11:44

By Amy He in New York (China Daily)

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Florida-based Broward College has signed a memorandum of understanding with Second Polytechnic University (SSPU) to form an academic partnership that will give Chinese students the opportunity to receive an American education experience aimed at training them to meet the needs of the manufacturing industry.

Under the partnership, Chinese students at the Shanghai-based university will take courses in Broward's program. The Fort Lauderdale school hopes to grant degrees to students upon completing their course work.

Broward College joins other American education institutions seeking to expand their efforts in China. "Institutions are realizing that in order to be a truly global institution, you have to have truly global engagement," said Daniel Obst, deputy vice president of international partnerships at the Institute of International Education. "You can't just send your students abroad."

The memorandum of understanding also includes: exchange and collaboration of faculty members and students; exchange of educational program material; joint research activities; co-organization of academic conferences, seminars and workshops; and collaboration on joint development of educational projects of mutual interest.

"Both of our institutions have been in existence approximately 50 years and have accomplished much in that time, and we have much that we can share with and learn from each other," said Yu Tao, president of SSPU, in a statement.

The academic collaboration will allow both schools "to connect both faculty and students with great educational opportunities," Broward College President J. David Armstrong Jr said in the joint statement.

In 2012, Broward College was named one of the top 10 percent of community colleges in the US by the Washington-based Aspen Institute. About 42,000 students attend the state-supported school.

It has nine international centers and affiliates from Singapore, Vietnam and Sri Lanka to Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, with plans to continue to increase its global presence.

According to the school's website, "All international partners operate with the college on a fee-for-service basis, which allows students to study in their home country while enrolled in a two-year American college program. The international programs offered at Broward College are self-supporting operations and funded by its partners for the services provided to them."

Among US universities and colleges that have recently announced programs in China or partnerships with China-based educational institutions, the University of Pittsburgh said in April that it would join with Sichuan University to establish the Sichuan University Pittsburgh Institute, which is aiming to enroll its first class in 2014.

"China is so important in the world. It represents - on any kind of scale - another world power," said Lawrence Feick, senior director of international programs at the University of Pittsburgh.

Feick said that the US-China college collaborations are a way for Chinese students to get an American-influenced education in their home countries. From the US perspective, these students will understand the needs of the Chinese market, and they'll have American training, he added.

Last month, New York University Shanghai welcomed its first freshman class to its new Pudong campus, bringing in 295 students from 37 countries, with more than half the students coming from across China.

Carnegie Mellon University and Sun Yat-sen University established a joint Institute of Engineering in Guangzhou, a double-degree program for master's students that begins next year.

The Juilliard School announced last year that it would possibly open a branch in Tianjing, becoming the first American performing arts school to establish a site in China. Duke University's planned campus in Kunshan is expected to open in the fall of 2014.


(China Daily USA 09/13/2013 page7)