By Scott Bigelow
Chancellor Allen C. Meadors (center) signs agreement with HNU President Shutao Chen and UNCP Provost Roger Brown.
Officials from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Harbin Normal University (HNU), China's largest teacher training university, signed a landmark agreement on April 19.
The agreement enables UNCP to offer its Master of Public Administration (MPA) program in China. For Harbin, it is a unique agreement that imports a U.S. higher education program to its campus.
A second agreement will pave the way for HNU students to study English at UNCP.
HNU President Shutao Chen explained the institutional significance of the MPA agreement.
"Since the 1980s, we have developed more than 40 "sister" universities around the world," President Chen said. "We have exchange programs for students and faculty."
"This is the first degree program" from another university ever offered at Harbin Normal University, President Chen said. "This is the first program with real substance."
UNCP's MPA program at Harbin is expected to begin fall 2004 and would include as many as 40 HNU students. UNCP faculty would provide instruction both online and in person on HNU's campus.
The undergraduate English education program is a "one-plus-two-plus-one" model that would see HNC undergraduate students in China for their first year, at UNCP for two years and return to China for their final year.
Founded in 1951, President Chen said Harbin Normal University has an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 30,000, graduate school enrollment of 5,000 and 12,000 part-time students.
Chancellor Allen C. Meadors said the MPA program is a good fit, and he is encouraged by the prospects for future agreements with HNU.
Dr. Dazhu Zhang, a Professor and Dean at HNU, said China's entry into world markets created a demand for management training programs.
"Since China became a member of the World Trade Organization, there has been great demand for knowledge in the field of public management," Dr. Zhang said. "A joint venture program will equip our students with the knowledge they need in the global marketplace."
"Our goal is to expose students to study abroad experiences," Dr. Zhang said. "In our education system, we emphasize a solid foundation in the acquisition of knowledge, and our students are well prepared. The U.S. system's strong point is in the application of knowledge. By integrating these philosophies, we hope to produce better students."
Harbin Normal University is a teacher education institution, offering courses on many subjects. It is one of the key universities in Heilongjiang Province, the center of teacher education and scientific research in education and the center for training teachers in the province.
HNU is located in Harbin, a major city adjoining the scenic Songhua River.