Greetings from the Chinese University of Mining and Technology
UNCP's Nick Giannatasio and Robert Schneider were awed by Tiannemen Square, the Great Wall, Mao's tomb, Hong Kong and other sites during their trip to China this summer.
What impressed them most, however, was the Chinese people's intense curiosity for all things American, including our educational programs.
"Wherever we went people followed us," Dr. Schneider said. "They want to know everything about us."
The travelers were on a mission to establish an educational outpost at the Chinese University of Mining and Technology (CUMT) in Xuzhou, a city of six million in central China. UNCP will help fill a management training void in China by launching its Master of Public Management program (MPM) there.
Here is how Dr. Schneider, who is chair of UNCP's Political Science and Public Administration Department describes the mission:
Dr. Schneider at the Great Wall
"China is a developing country in the process of modernization. The nation is experiencing all of the growing pains and challenges associated with this process. The creation of a more open society and a market-base economic system means historic change for China. It is a society in transition. Our task is to assist in the training of Chinese public management professionals and to thereby ease this transition through the introduction of public sector techniques appropriate for a thriving market economy. It is exciting to be even a small part of this historic moment."
This fall, the joint venture will begin with two courses in the MPM program. The courses will be taught via the Internet and culminate in an intensive two-week classroom experience in China.
Veteran political scientists Dr. Carolyn Thompson and Dr. Roger Brown, who is also provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, will instruct these first historic courses. Dr. Brown, who has worked extensively to create the program, says it holds promise for both the Chinese and UNCP.
"Creating global academic ties holds promise for the university, its students and its faculty," Dr. Brown said. "We gain so much from these relationships because it opens our minds to possibilities and opportunities that were unimaginable just a few years ago."
"As a political scientist and an administrator, I thrilled at the opportunity to interact with Chinese students and their university," Dr. Brown said. "Education opens many doors, and programs like this one may be the key to the China market."
Dr. Thompson, who is also director of the University Honors College said, "Chinese students are eager to learn about Western practices in public management and to apply them to their rapidly changing governmental system."
Young Girl Curious about Americans
"The public sector in China, as in the U.S, has become more decentralized, placing more responsibility on regional and local government to address public issues of healthcare, economy, infrastructure development and so forth," Dr. Thompson said. "They face the same problems as other nations with the added burden of a massive population which has historically relied on government for all services. The Chinese face a significant challenge in their attempts to modernize their country and their government."
Dr. Alex Chen, associate vice chancellor for International Programs, said the Chinese market for education is huge, hungry and ready for partnerships of this kind.
"We are making alliances throughout the world for our students and faculty," Dr. Chen said. "At the Chinese University of Mining and Technology, we will start with 25-30 students with hopes for a very profitable future. It must benefit both parties to have a good partnership."
Dr. Chen said attracting international students to UNCP is another important goal as the university seeks to internationalize itself.
"In addition to attracting more international students to the campus, UNCP will offer more degree and non-degree courses abroad," he said. "The Master of Business Administration, Master of Education, and other programs are also being negotiated and will be offered in the Asian market in this year or next."
Dr. Giannatasio, director of the MPM program, said UNCP faculty are excited by the opportunity to teach in China.
Entrance to the Forbidden City
"Yes, the faculty are very excited about teaching at the China University of Mining and Technology," Dr. Giannatasio said. "Dr. Schneider and I will be the next to go in January. In all, we will send at least eight professors to China, while the faculty at CUMT will teach the remaining four electives."
Dr. Giannatasio is favorably impressed by the facilities at the university.
"The teaching facilities for lectures are state of the art," he said. "They have high-tech lecture facilities that we will use, and we will be able to utilize Power Point presentations in a theater-like environment to teach our classes."
"The resources are somewhat different than we are used to at UNCP. Their library has very few resources that would enable the students to do research. Furthermore, their Internet resources are limited," he said. "We are attempting to bolster their research capabilities with donated books and periodicals from faculty and publishers of texts. It is important to note that CUMT has always been a mining and technical college and so their collection in the field of public management has not caught up to the demand yet; nevertheless, they are willing to add to their collection."
"China, as an open society, is still a product of a feudal society that ended in the last century," Dr. Gianntasio continued. "They have been making great strides in the last 75 years as a society that wants to model itself on the successes of the United States, both economically and administratively. The success of this program is 'bread on the water' for further initiatives in China."