HANGZHOU, China — The presidents of Middle Tennessee State University and Hangzhou Normal University have agreed in principle to a three-point expansion of the strong relationship enjoyed between the two institutions.
During a two-day visit to the Hangzhou campus that concluded Saturday, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and HNU President Ye Gaoxiang outlined ideas to further expand faculty and student exchanges and joint research projects.
“We deeply value our partnership with HNU and we will gladly accept these ideas from President Ye on ways to expand it further,” McPhee said.
Also, more than 300 HNU students later attended a lecture by McPhee, at which he was asked by Ye to relate his experiences in China and provide advice for those wishing to study abroad.
The Hangzhou visit was the second stop in a seven-city tour by a MTSU delegation led by McPhee, to establish or extend partnerships with Chinese universities and review collaborative research efforts. The group also includes Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron (R-13th District), a 1976 graduate of MTSU.
MTSU and Hangzhou partnered in 2009 to open MTSU’s Confucius Institute, which works enhance understanding of Chinese language and culture in Tennessee and create opportunities for collaboration between the two universities.
Ye asked McPhee to allow MTSU faculty to participate in a special project of HNU that brings scholars each year to Hangzhou to teach classes from May to August. HNU would also like to send selected faculty members to teach at MTSU, Ye said.
Ye also invited MTSU students to participate in the China-U.S. People to People Exchange Program. Students in the government-funded program would get a full-ride scholarship to HNU and earn credits accepted at both universities. HNU now offers more than 50 courses in English on Chinese philosophy, history and culture.
And Ye asked McPhee if the two universities could collaborate on the operation of honors colleges; research in new energy; music education; and teacher training.
The presidents agreed to task academic leaders at both institutions to work through the joint MTSU-HNU Confucius Institute to put Ye’s ideas into motion.