Penn State deepens collaboration with Chinese universities

Collaboration among faculty members and students at Penn State and Peking University in Beijing, China, is continuing as part of the partnership between the two institutions. The partnership, strengthened and formalized during a recent visit to China by Penn State President Graham Spanier and a delegation of faculty members from across the University, is part of Penn State’s long-term globalization initiative.

Academic exchange with China has become a significant part of the University’s Global Engagement Network (GEN), which seeks to help Penn State expand its global reach through partnerships with institutions of higher education around the world. Administered by the University Office of Global Programs, GEN promotes the transformation of Penn State's students into global citizens, enhances Penn State's global presence and relevance, and propels the University toward global leadership in scholarship and international engagement.

"In today’s world, an international vision is no longer a choice for Penn State -- it’s the only choice," said Michael Adewumi, vice provost for global programs and a member of the president's delegation during the recent visit. "We have both an economic and an ethical imperative to prepare our students to be globally competitive and encourage our faculty to engage with colleagues around the world in resolving some of the global challenges of our time."

During the visit, Penn State faculty members conducted eight research workshops with their Peking University peers, showcasing joint research projects conducted in recent years. Collaboration is taking place across multiple disciplines at both universities, in areas including science, information technology, energy research, communications and the liberal arts.

In his speech to faculty members and students at Peking University, Spanier said Penn State greatly values its international relationships, "not only for our institution, but for our nation at large."

During the visit, Spanier and President Zhou Quifeng of Peking University signed two agreements to promote more in-depth research collaboration and student exchange between the two universities. One agreement facilitates collaboration faculty members of both institutions, particularly in research, while the other focuses on undergraduate student exchange. With the latter in place, students may take classes at the partner universities while paying tuition at their home university and receiving full credit for all courses.

In an interview with China Central Television’s "Crosstalk" program, Spanier explained why Penn State attaches so much importance to its globalization initiative, including the academic ties with China.

"The most important thing we can do to ensure peace in the world is to promote exchanges of ideas, students and faculty," Spanier said. "Building connections and friendships between our cultures fosters mutual appreciation and understanding."

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Last Updated October 13, 2011