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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Arizona goes global

    To facilitate the gathering of research information and the global exchange of students and faculty, UA officials have created hundreds of pending international agreements with other universities.

    The overall focus of such agreements often goes beyond simply exchanging personnel. Agreements allow faculty and administrators to gain more experience through collaboration with like-minded individuals, said UA President Robert Shelton.

    “”The world isn’t shrinking,”” he said. “”It has already shrunk.””

    The UA is now set to provide academic services to Nanjing International University, an institution in China currently being built for a fall 2009 debut, said Jerry Hogle, vice president for instruction and UA representative in the agreement.

    What sets the NIU collaboration apart from other international agreements is the UA’s involvement in the creation and integration of academics into the Chinese university’s original curriculum, Shelton said.

    “”We sign a lot of these love agreements,”” he said. “”This one really is unique, though.””

    Despite Arizona regulations that prevent state universities from becoming a partner or a co-founder of the project, the UA will provide primary academic service ranging from the development of certain degree programs to creating an American connection with NIU students, Hogle said.

    Part of what will make NIU revolutionary to the Chinese education system is its American approach to academia and student relations. While Chinese universities typically drown out individual interaction between faculty and students, NIU will strive to facilitate a free-flowing exchange of ideas between educators and the student population, he said.

    The UA influence on the university will also be reflected by the presence of English as the dominant language on the NIU campus, Hogle added.

    “”These students have very high quality academic skills, and their English is wonderful,”” he said. “”All of the classes will be taught in English.””

    The agreement is the result of a four-year project started by Michael Tsang, a prominent UA supporter and donor. When Tsang found that his business ties in the Nanjing education offices were looking for academic assistance in the construction of their new university, he immediately suggested the UA, Hogle said.

    Located on the East Coast of China, Nanjing is in the Tung-Tsu province. Although the province is roughly the size of Arizona, it holds approximately 76 million people, an advantage in the quick production of NIU, he said.

    “”The population is absolutely huge,”” Hogle said. “”They have the people to do it.””

    Within its first 10 years of operation, the enrollment is expected to reach up to 10,000 students, Shelton said.

    NIU students will also be given the opportunity to gain UA degrees. The agreement states that after students complete 90 academic units at NIU, they must take an additional 30 UA units needed for an undergraduate UA degree. These may be completed either in Nanjing or in Tucson, Hogle said.

    The specifics of such degrees will be decided major-by-major in the near future, he added.

    While there will be intense interaction between NIU and the UA, UA students need not feel like the UA is turning its back on domestic students. The reality is quite the opposite, Hogle said.

    “”It is not a loss,”” he said. “”It will actually be a gain for us.””

    In exchange for providing academic services to the Chinese university, the UA will receive revenue when NIU students achieve UA degrees in such forms as exchange programs and out-of-state tuition from NIU students. This income will go back into services on the UA campus, he said.

    “”I just want to assure everyone that this is not going to drain any resources here at the University of Arizona,”” Hogle said. “”The money is a one-way street, from them to us.””

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