Nov. 20, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – China’s Beijing Union University (BUU) and Illinois Wesleyan University will conduct faculty exchanges and collaborate on scholarly research, according to a newly signed agreement between the institutions.
The agreement outlines the conditions of faculty exchanges and follows a Memorandum of Understanding between the two universities which was formalized by Illinois Wesleyan Provost and Dean of the Faculty Jonathan Green and Professor of Sociology Teodora O. Amoloza when the two visited BUU this past summer.
“The delegation’s visit was a direct result of a U.S. Department of Education grant received by IWU in 2009 to build Asian Studies on campus,” said Professor of History Thomas D. Lutze. He and Sonja Fritzche, associate professor of German and Eastern European Studies, were associate co-directors of the grant.
“This relationship with BUU appears particularly promising in the areas of faculty exchanges and collaboration and possibly joining students from the two schools in short-term study courses such as May Term,” said Lutze.
The six professors and directors from BUU representing that institution’s departments of history and political science, the humanities division, and the Center for Chinese Studies Abroad visited Wesleyan. While on campus, the delegation met with faculty members who serve on the Asian Studies team of the International Studies program. Other activities for the group included a tour of The Ames Library and a visit to Lutze’s Gateway class so the Chinese delegation could learn more about a liberal arts curriculum.
In addition, the head of the delegation, Professor Han Qiang, presented Lutze with a Letter of Appointment as a Foreign Specialist in the BUU Center for Chinese Studies Abroad. “I am deeply honored and moved by this special appointment,” said Lutze. “To me, it represents 40 years of work to build understanding between the peoples of the United States and China.”
“Asian countries have become serious players in the international area in the 21st century and therefore it is imperative that we teach our students how to engage that part of the world,” said Amoloza, who was the grant project director. “The idea behind the grant is to strengthen the Asian Studies curriculum, to incorporate Asian perspective into many fields of study across campus and to establish linkages with Asian institutions. The visit by the BUU delegation strengthens our collaboration with that institution.”
These and other efforts continue the University’s impetus toward providing more international opportunities for students through direct exchanges and study abroad programs, said Provost Green.
“As we strive to continuously improve our preparation of students for meaningful lives in a global society, opportunities for scholar and student exchanges will become ever more important,” said Green. “Partnerships with colleagues like those at Beijing Union University create valuable opportunities for faculty and students at both institutions to enhance their understanding of each other and themselves while strengthening the international community of scholars.”
Beijing Union University was established in 1985 and enrolls more than 30,000 students, including 20,000 undergraduates.
Illinois Wesleyan University, founded in 1850, is a highly selective liberal arts institution enrolling about 2,000 undergraduates from across the nation and around the globe.
Contact: Kim Hill, (309) 556-3960