VCU Deans visit China to explore collaboration opportunities
RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 2, 2015)—Virginia Commonwealth University’s initiative to increase the number of Chinese students who enroll at VCU and university students who study in China took a major step forward this summer when the Global Education Office led a delegation of deans to Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai over a two week period.
This visit provided key decision makers with the opportunity to connect with their counterparts at various educational institutions throughout these cities.
“Studying in China presents an incredible cultural opportunity for our students,” said Joe Seipel, dean of the VCU School of the Arts. “Any time we can expand the possibilities for them to have an international experience, we welcome that.”
While at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Dean Seipel identified significant opportunities for collaboration. Of particular interest to him was industrial, urban and interior design exhibition that he was able to view during the visit. “This undergraduate design exhibition was quite impressive – as good as any that I’ve seen in the U.S. and better than most,” he said. Seipel was also impressed with SJTU’s proximity to the adjoining research park, with which it is associated.
Now that the visit is complete, VCUArts is considering a 1+1 master’s program in design with SJTU, in which students would complete one year of study at VCU and a second at SJTU.
“This is but one example of the type of collaboration we hoped would result from this visit,” said McKenna Brown, Ph.D., executive director of the Global Education Office. “We look forward to seeing many more departmental initiatives develop and hope to provide a sustainable gateway for student exchanges between VCU and Chinese universities.”
In addition to SJTU, while there, the deans visited Beijing Normal University, East China Normal University, Fudan University, Hubei University, Ningbo University, Peking University, Sichuan University, Southwest Jiaotong University and Wuhan University.
Led by Brown and Hong Cheng, Ph.D., professor and director of the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, the full delegation included Niraj Verma, Ph.D., professor and inaugural dean of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Christine Walther-Thomas, Ph.D., professor and former dean in the VCU School of Education, Guofang Wan, Ph.D., professor and director of graduate studies in the School of Education, in addition to Dean Seipel.
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