Dr. Alexander N. Chen is scouring the globe to build alliances on every continent for UNC Pembroke's International Programs.
Chancellor Allen C. Meadors and Dr. Chen have forged a series of agreements in Asia and Europe. Africa, Australia and Hispanic America are next on the list as UNCP works to "internationalize" its students and faculty.
Dr. Chen was named this fall associate vice chancellor for International Programs in UNCP's Office of Academic Affairs.
He will be responsible for developing and administering international programs of all types, including studies abroad, international student recruitment and faculty teaching and research.
Already one of the most racially diverse U.S. campuses (U.S. News), UNCP's goal is to give its students exposure to the global society by bringing in students from all over the world to study and interact with our faculty and our local and national students on a personal level, Dr. Meadors said.
"Dr. Chen's commitment to the internationalization of higher education during his academic career fits nicely with our quest to improve the quality of our university through the expansion of our international student base," the chancellor said. "We look forward to Dr. Chen's working with our faculty, staff, students and regional community to bring a fulfilling and enriching aspect to our part of Southeastern North Carolina."
Dr. Chen has hit the ground running. Chancellor Meadors signed agreements this summer with two Chinese universities.
UNCP will offer its Master's of Public Management (MPM) program to students at the China University of Mining and Technology. Chancellor Meadors also signed an articulation agreement to accept Chinese undergraduate students with associate degrees from Macau University of Science and Technology.
Those pacts and a recent student exchange agreement with France's Center for Advanced European Studies pave the way for the global travels of students and faculty. This is what Chancellor Meadors, Provost Roger Brown and Dr. Chen call the "globalization" of UNCP students and faculty.
"Our goal is to internationalize our faculty by facilitating their teaching and research abroad," Dr. Chen said. "Next year, Dr. (Jeff) Geller will participate in a professor exchange with the Polish Academy of Sciences. We will host one of their philosophy professors."
Further down the road, the university will make alliances for its MBA (Master's of Business Administration) program to gain an international focus. An English as a second language or ESL program is also in the early planning stages.
It appears likely that UNCP will achieve its goal of forging agreements all continents.
"Recently, officials from UNC Wilmington and UNCP met to discuss a partnership in South Africa," Dr. Chen said. "Building connections in Spanish-speaking countries of Mexico, Central and South America is especially important because of demographic shifts taking place in this region and in the national as a whole."
Chancellor Meadors has said many times that an international perspective and exposure is essential in preparing well-rounded students.
"International connections help prepare students for the global society in which we live," he said. "The programs we are planning will provide our students educational experiences and opportunities that will carry them far beyond the classroom."
Becoming an "international" campus would give UNCP a competitive edge in competing for students, faculty and external funding, Dr. Chen and Chancellor Meadors said.
"Chancellor Meadors has a vision of UNCP as a university that truly prepares its students for the world that we live in today and the world of tomorrow," Dr. Chen said. "This would be something unique that we would offer to students, faculty and the region we serve."
Dr. Chen has an extensive background in international programs, information technology and educational administration. He was founder and president of Beijing New Era College of Business and president of a web development and E-commerce business.
He was a tenured faculty member at Penn State, college representative of SMEAL College of Business at Altoona and executive director of the Center for Asian Pacific Management Research at Penn State Altoona.
He has a Ph.D. and a master's degree in agricultural economics and rural sociology from Penn State and a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the National Taiwan University.