Tuesday, May 27, 2014

[604] MTSU wraps up south China visit with agreement, lectures

Delegation visits three universities and one high school as trip winds down

CHENZHOU, China — Middle Tennessee State University’s latest delegation to China left the Hunan province Monday after gaining yet another educational partner and speaking with prospective students at three other institutions.

President Sidney A. McPhee signed an agreement with Xiangnan University in Chenzhou, which will allow the two entities to develop student and faculty exchanges. The agreement follows similar pacts made on this trip with three other China universities.

Xiangnan, with an enrollment of about 18,000 students, specializes in teacher training and medical sciences and is affiliated with eight area hospitals. Its 33 majors also include art, science, management, engineering, law and economics.

“Like MTSU, this university puts a great emphasis on experiential education,” McPhee said. “We are pleased to gain another partner in this important southern region of China.”

McPhee also lectured to students in Ningbo University and Hunan Normal University, two long-time partners with the university, about the American higher education system. Both visits gave administrators an opportunity to renew ties and talk with prospective students.

Peter Cunningham, special assistant to Provost Brad Bartel and part of the delegation, said nine students from Ningbo have graduated from MTSU’s actuarial science program since 2010. “This is a strong start to a partnership that could yield significant results,” he said.

Although it was McPhee’s first visit to Ningbo, the president has lectured several times at Hunan Normal, one of MTSU’s earliest partners in China.

“We are proud of our relationship with Hunan Normal,” he said. “We have shared students, faculty and administrators over the years, which has benefitted both of our institutions.”

MTSU Vice President Andrew Oppmann and Guanping Zheng, director of MTSU’s Confucius Institute, also toured Liuyang No. 1 High School, one of the top prep schools in the Hunan Province. Oppmann talked with students about MTSU and answered questions about the international outreach efforts on the Murfreesboro campus.

The signing with Xiangnan was the fourth agreement signed in recent days during the MTSU delegation visit to China. It follows new pacts with Communication University of China in Beijing and Shanghai Second Polytechnic University and a renewal of MTSU’s partnership with Hangzhou Normal University.

Under McPhee’s watch, MTSU’s international student enrollment has increased from 396 to 789 in five years, and the university has 335 students in its education abroad programs this summer. It has more than 40 exchange agreements with institutions around the world.

The delegation heads to Xi’an next before returning to Murfreesboro at week’s end.

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