February 02, 2009

SIUC to ink cooperative deal with Chinese

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Scholars from the Southern Illinois University Carbondale and a Chinese university will expand their knowledge of global business practices under an agreement SIUC officials will sign this week.

Chancellor Samuel Goldman is scheduled to sign a new memorandum of understanding with officials from The University of International Business & Economics, Beijing, during a ceremony Tuesday. The agreement will pave the way for undergraduates, graduate students and faculty from both universities to study and teach at both campuses.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are invited to attend the memorandum of understanding signing, set to begin at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 3 in the balcony conference room at Anthony Hall on the SIUC campus.

Goldman said the agreement would promote understanding and cooperation among tomorrow’s global business leaders.

"We are pleased to sign this agreement with our colleagues from UIBE, as it will continue to promote understanding between our cultures and provide learning opportunities for students from both institutions,” Goldman said. “SIUC has a long commitment to international studies, and this agreement is more evidence of that."

Along with Goldman, Wang Ling, chair of the University Council at UIBE, will be on hand for the signing ceremony, as will other SIUC administrators.

Shing-Chung “Max” Yen, director of the Materials Technology Center at SIUC, along with others, worked for several years to promote cooperation between the two universities, meeting with Chinese officials in China on several occasions. Yen said the agreement is a continuation of SIUC’s long-standing international commitment to scholarly excellence, and will promote UIBE’s desire for a global curriculum.

“UIBE wanted a credible university to work with in the U.S. to help them transform into a global curriculum,” he said. “SIUC, with its strong research and teaching, was a perfect match.

“Our universities want to bridge the gap between East and West, and this is a very forward-thinking arrangement,” Yen said.

Yen said the agreement could bring up to 50 UIBE students to SIUC this fall, with perhaps hundreds following in the future.

UIBE specializes in business, marketing, management and law, Yen said. But in order to prepare students for the global business world, it needed an international partner. Faculty from both universities will work on developing a curriculum that serves this need, he said.

“There are always issues with languages and cultures, so the curriculum we develop needs to be a middle ground between East and West,” Yen said.

The memorandum is aimed providing UIBE students with the opportunity to study on SIUC campus and experience American education and culture, therefore broadening their horizon and foster their international awareness. It also will provide SIUC students the opportunity to study on UIBE campus and experience Chinese education and culture, therefore broaden their horizon and foster their international awareness.

The agreement also will enrich the academic and cultural life of the two universities, contribute to the diversity of both campuses and build closer relationships between the two universities while laying foundation for further cooperation.

Students can choose to study for a semester or a year on each other’s campus during their undergraduate or graduate study. Both universities will set standards to select students to join this program to ensure the success of their study on the host campus.

Credits earned in the host university will be transferred to the credits of the home university. Students will not be granted a degree through the one semester or one-year study on the host campus, unless they choose to stay longer and apply separately to the host university.

UIBE students have the option of pursuing a master’s degree at SIUC through a “4+2 program,” which will allow them to earn their undergraduate degree at UIBE before pursing a two-year master’s program at SIUC.

UIBE students participating in the 4+2 program are required to attend two sessions of summer classes at UIBE during their undergraduate study. SIUC faculty will teach many of the summer classes in English, along with some UIBE faculty with overseas education background.

UIBE students will pay resident tuition at SIUC for both graduate and undergraduate courses. SIUC students studying at UIBE will pay $2,000 per year to UIBE as tuition and fees, or $1,000 per semester, which is about the amount of the tuition and fees of Chinese students.

As designed, undergraduate exchange students can choose any course offered by the host university. The program coordinators will provide updated curriculum information to each other prior to the start of the program.

Yen said the program is flexible and both universities will work together to modify it as needed in years to come. He expects UIBE students will focus on business courses at first, followed by other areas such as language, journalism and tourism and management in the future.

“The students who will be coming here are among the top 1 percent in China,” Yen said. “The key here is we have a strong partner to host our students in Beijing, as well as allowing us to do more recruitment and partnership efforts there. It’s a huge advantage for SIUC.”