Historic agreement to train Chinese university officialsUC San Diego and the Chinese Ministry of Education have signed a first-of-its-kind agreement to train student affairs officers from universities throughout China. The first 33 Chinese student affairs officers have arrived at UC San Diego Extension, the continuing education arm of the university, to begin 13 weeks of instruction.
“This type of cross-cultural education has a long-term benefit of building global relationships with future Chinese university projects,” says Roxanne Nuhaily, the director of international studies at UC San Diego Extension. “In the future it is hoped that this region and university will be first in their minds when they reach out to establish
new educational, business and cultural partnerships with the United States.”
In the past five years Nuhaily has worked with the China Scholarship Council, part of China’s Ministry of Education, to train more than 250 visiting Chinese professors, mostly in the fields of science and engineering. The objective of the Chinese Scholarship Council is to provide financial administration for Chinese overseas training programs in order to support the socialist modernization drive in China.
“To become part of the top universities in the world we need to improve our English levels,” says Mo Lianjin, deputy director of the division of Academic Affairs at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, one of the first administrators to arrive at UC San Diego. “A second purpose is to learn from a culture and teaching style that is different than our own.”
Partnering with UC San Diego Extension in the training is Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Penny Rue and many members of her student affairs staff. At UC San Diego student affairs is responsible for a wide range of student services, including admissions, career services, intercollegiate athletics, recreation, the International Center, study abroad programs, student health and wellness, student judicial affairs, university events and fundraising for student scholarships.
The visiting Chinese administrators feel that because English is the international language of science and business, learning English and American university practices are both critical to competing on the world stage. They are greatly impressed with the teaching styles of the UC San Diego instructors, which are in stark contrast with Chinese
The visiting Chinese professors concur. When he learned that the China Scholarship Council would support several Chinese university professors to come to UC San Diego, Yang Mingshan, an associate professor in Zhongzhou University, said he applied immediately.
“After several qualification examinations, I was lucky to be chosen. My English skills have improved greatly,” says Mingshan. “English is quite important in the research field, such as getting information from advanced countries, writing scientific papers to report the research process and sharing viewpoints about projects with foreign researchers.”
Each year UC San Diego Extension educates about 3,500 international students from 45 countries. According to the university’s 2008 economic impact report, international participants in Extension’s various programs bolster the California economy by annually spending more than $10.3 million on food, transportation, housing and retail consumption.