Southeast inks agreement with Chinese university

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Southeast Missouri State University is reaching out to China in a move that will bring Chinese college students to the Cape Girardeau school to study as early as next summer.

Southeast officials signed an agreement with officials from Sichuan Normal University in southern China at a ceremony Wednesday at the University Center.

An eight-member delegation from the Chinese school visited Southeast to sign the agreement to provide joint degree programs in industrial technology and fine arts. The degree programs eventually may extend to communications and environmental science, officials from both schools said.

"It is a very historic moment," said Dr. Adelaide Parsons, director of international programs at Southeast. It's the first such academic partnership between Southeast and a Chinese university, she said.

The agreement will allow students from Sichuan Normal University -- initially perhaps 20 students -- to study for two years at Southeast sandwiched between a year of study in China at the beginning of their college career and again for a year at the end.

The Chinese students will receive degrees from both schools, officials said.

In addition, the agreement will provide an opportunity for Southeast to secure Chinese instructors to teach the language to American students on the Cape Girardeau campus. That, in turn, could lead to future opportunities for Southeast students to study in China, Southeast officials said.

Southeast president Dr. Ken Dobbins said it makes sense to partner with a Chinese university.

"We believe that China and the citizens of China are key players in the 21st century world," he said.

"Your students will make our university better," Dobbins told officials from the Chinese school.

Dr. Yan Yusong, vice president of Sichuan Normal University, said through an interpreter that he expects to see a growing partnership between the two schools.

"I believe our program will be fruitful," he said.

Wednesday's ceremony followed an initial agreement signed by a Southeast delegation which visited China last May.

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