By Rebecca Stratton
(July 6, 2015) —The University of Kentucky Confucius Institute and UK Education Abroad recently collaborated to offer a programming site visit to China. The visit allowed faculty and staff members from across different colleges to learn first-hand about international higher education issues in China and to explore education abroad programming opportunities for UK students to study in China.
The program was facilitated by Chen Gu, Chinese culture event coordinator of the UK Confucius Institute; Yiyi Tang, financial manager and scholarship coordinator for Education Abroad; Thomas Teague, advisor for the Gatton College of Business and Economics; and Anthony Ogden, executive director of Education Abroad.
Each college dean or unit head nominated one faculty/staff representative to participate in the site visit. The following nominees were selected:
Ben Allen, WRFL, UK Media Advisor
Jen Bartlett, UK Libraries
Ellie Holliday, College of Education
Jim Holsinger, College of Public Health
Patrick Lee Lucas, College of Design
Kamyar Cyrus “K.C.” Mahboub, College of Engineering
Sam Matheny, College of Medicine
Katherine McCormick, Undergraduate Education (Service-Learning)
Jasmine McNealy, College of Communication and Information
Kathleen Montgomery, Patterson School of Diplomacy
Sue Roberts, College of Arts and Sciences
Rachel Shane, College of Fine Arts
Diane Snow, Undergraduate Education (Undergraduate Research, Honors)
Sharon Stewart, College of Health Sciences
Kirsten Turner, College of Arts and Sciences
Scarlett Wesley, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment
Prior to departure, representatives attended a series of orientation sessions that provided an introduction to Chinese culture, an overview of Chinese higher education, and an introduction of the curriculum integration process rapidly underway at UK that is focused on integrating education abroad opportunities in every discipline.
The site visit consisted of three cities: Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin. Representatives visited several prestigious institutions like Fudan University, Beijing Normal University and UK's Confucius Institute partner, Shanghai University.
“Fudan University is a remarkable institution that teaches over 100 courses in English,” said Holsinger. “UK students spending a semester abroad at Fudan will be able to take courses with their Chinese counterparts, giving them the opportunity to make lifelong friends.”
The itinerary also included visits to affiliated partners in China through which UK students are doing internships, enrolling in advanced Chinese language study, engaging in service-learning and much more.
Chinese cultural professional development activities also included time an architectural walking tour of Shanghai, an evening cruise on the Huangpu River and visits to several landmarks, such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. These visits were excellent opportunities to network and better understand Chinese culture and contemporary society.
“No less valuable was the opportunity to get to know many talented, dedicated faculty and staff across our campus with a deep understanding and experience of education abroad programs,” Bartlett said.
Upon return, delegates have attended a series of debriefing meetings to discuss the site visit and further develop college-specific action plans for enhancing education abroad programming in China for UK students.
“I know I came back to the states thinking differently about the place of our university in the world and the many potentials of partnerships in China,” said Lucas. “Although the College of Design boasts that nearly one-half of its students undertake an education abroad experience during their undergraduate years, certainly China represents a significant opportunity for aspiring designers to understand global impact on the practice of design.”
"This was the first time UK Education Abroad has been able to facilitate such a large and diverse delegation and we are incredibly grateful to Dr. Huajing Maske and the UK Confucius Institute for their good partnership," Ogden said.
For more information on future faculty opportunities with the Education Abroad office, visit the EA website.