Posted on October 25, 2010 by Tia Lalani

We have reached a partnership agreement with UIC, a fledgling liberal arts college in Zhuhai, China.

By Christopher Thrall

The University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus in Camrose has reached a partnership agreement with a fledgling liberal arts college in China. The agreement, signed this month, establishes a framework for cooperation in teaching, research, student and faculty mobility between the campus and United International College in the city of Zhuhai.

“Throughout China, the post-secondary sector is growing exponentially,” said U of A Augustana Dean Roger Epp, who visited UIC in April. “With UIC, we’ve found a strikingly like-minded, collaborative partner in an important country.”

UIC is building a new model of higher education among its 4000 students on the southeast coast of China. Founded in 2005 as a joint venture of Beijing Normal University and Hong Kong Baptist University, it describes its particular purpose as advancing internationalization and “taking the lead in implementing liberal arts education in China.” The college curriculum stresses a philosophy of holistic education across all of its 16 degree programs, which are organized into three divisions: Business and Management, Humanities and Social Science, and Science and Technology. The language of instruction is English.

“The world is going to have to understand China, and a globally-minded campus like ours has a responsibility to give students an opportunity to experience the country and its culture,” said Dean Epp. “In some respects UIC represents a soft landing, an entry-point, for a student going on exchange or for a faculty member considering a sabbatical.”

“At the same time, we want UIC students and professors to shape global learning on our campus. I hope that we can each demonstrate to our respective campuses that this is a good opportunity and build faculty champions on both sides.”

Augustana professors have begun meeting to consider how to take advantage of the relationship with UIC.

“While this is very much a forward-looking agreement, there is also a historic dimension to it in our centennial year,” said the Dean. “I couldn’t help but be mindful that stepping into China was stepping into the country that formed Chester Ronning.” Ronning was principal of what was then Camrose Lutheran College from 1927 to 1942. Born in China to Norwegian parents, he returned to teach in the early 1920s and returned again in a significant diplomatic role during World War II, beginning a distinguished Foreign Service career. He was a long-time friend of Premier Zhou Enlai.

Augustana is the University of Alberta’s undergraduate liberal-arts campus in Camrose, Alberta, with close to 1000 students in Arts, Sciences, Music and Management degree programs.

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