EWING, NJ … The College of New Jersey is among ten U.S. colleges and universities chosen by the Institute of International Education (IIE) to participate in the year-long International Academic Partnerships Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, to help the College establish partnerships with academic institutions in China.
The IIE, a non-profit educational organization promoting international exchange, will assign mentors to each institution to help guide campus-based task forces focused on the development of student and faculty exchanges, as well as joint research and curriculum projects. Webinars, conferences, and a spring study tour in China arranged by IIE will support these task forces.
“One of the benefits of this program is that it will provide TCNJ with a tool kit we can use to establish a direct partnership with a Chinese university,” said Jon Stauff, director of TCNJ’s Center for Global Engagement, who will travel to China this spring to meet with potential partner institutions. “Developing a strategic plan to enhance our ties with Chinese universities and integrate China into our curriculum is an important part of a broader effort at TCNJ to expand our international education program.”
There is growing interest among TCNJ students to both study in China and to learn Chinese. Ten students are spending at least a semester in China this year, up from a single student the previous year.
Last year, TCNJ’s Schools of Business and Culture and Society received a U.S. Department of Education grant dedicated to “Doing Business in China” that has supported new China-related courses, scholarship support for study abroad, and faculty-student research initiatives that will benefit the growth of trade between China and New Jersey businesses. The College is currently developing a Chinese Studies major.
Stauff said TCNJ’s inclusion in the program represented “an acknowledgement of our potential and our ability to play a leadership role in international education.” Some of the other participants include the State University of New York at Fredonia, Marymount Manhattan College and Southern Methodist University.
“Educational ties are key to strengthening the productive relationship between China and the U.S.,” said Allan E. Goodman, president of IIE, which administers the Fulbright scholarship program, among others. “Developing partnerships in higher education helps us understand and learn from one another in ways that have profound impact.”
Chinese students already study in the United States in large numbers. In the 2009/2010 academic year, they accounted for 18 percent of the total international student population, more than from any other country.
A year after he was elected, President Barack Obama called on higher education institutions to significantly increase the number of students studying in China in order to prepare what his administration described as the next generation of “China experts” to manage growing political, economic and cultural ties between the two countries.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later affirmed that goal by urging colleges and universities to double their number of students on foreign study programs and exchanges in China by 2014.
“Today, more than ever, there is a global understanding that no major challenge can be resolved without the active engagement of both the United States and China,” Clinton wrote in a letter to the IIE.
For additional information on the College’s participation in the International Academic Partnerships Program or TCNJ’s Center for Global Engagement, please contact Jon Stauff at 609-771-2596 or Stauffj@tcnj.edu.