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UT Partners with Three Chinese Universities to Provide Global Opportunities

Published: October 15, 2009

UT has established a foothold in China that will provide for structured student and faculty exchanges, study abroad trips and faculty research.

But ultimately it will provide for the exchange of ideas.

“No one right now wants to be left without a connection to China, and not just for business opportunities,” said Janet McNew, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “It’s essential to UT’s commitment to global education that we gain a better understanding of Chinese culture.

“Most international experts agree that the 21st century will be all about the increasing power and influence of China.”

Recently McNew and Jin Wang, associate provost and dean of academic services, traveled to China to sign agreements with three Chinese universities: University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) in Beijing; Sias International University, in Xinzheng; and Shandong University of Finance (SUF), in Jinan. McNew and Wang visited with officials at the three universities to discuss opportunities for UT students and faculty wanting to study in China, as well as for Chinese students and faculty who want to study in the U.S.

UIBE is among the most prestigious institutions in China and is known for its English-language programs in international trade and economics. Sias promotes its “hybrid American-Chinese model” for educating Chinese students and attracting foreign students. SUF, a state-run university, has a comprehensive curriculum with a focus on finance and economics.

The agreements outline numerous collaborations to benefit all institutions, including opportunities for: 

  •  Shared educational experience for graduates and undergraduates
  •  Short-term, faculty-led study abroad trips
  •  Faculty collaboration in research and teaching 
  •  International internship opportunities
  •  Language and cultural immersion for faculty and students

The three Chinese universities were chosen for their strong infrastructure, including stable leadership, residential environment, high number of foreign students, and locations that would offer variety to American students.

Also, the desire of the universities’ students, faculty and administration to study and collaborate with Americans — both at their institution and at UT — were big factors in pursuing the agreement.

McNew said the partnership efforts were mutual.

“They see partnerships with U.S. universities as the most important step for world prosperity and civility, even more than with European institutions,” McNew said.

Officials at the three universities were very impressed with UT, and while students will be welcome to study in any college at UT, they were especially attracted to the reputation of the Sykes College of Business and its AACSB accreditation.

UT has had casual connections with China through study abroad trips and limited faculty research, but this agreement eases the ability of cross-cultural exchanges and provides more structure for student and faculty cross-cultural interaction.

“It’s important students have opportunities to learn about countries like China,” Wang said. “If students don’t have that kind of understanding, their success on a global level will be limited.

“Whether future partners or competitors, we have to understand them first.”

McNew added that UT is very selective in the institutions it seeks partnerships with, and focuses on opportunities to best serve UT students and faculty.

“We have to be strategic in what we’re doing. We plan to keep partnership with universities abroad limited so they have meaning,” McNew said. “And in this case, that means real connections with China.”