East meets West: Universities in Hong Kong, interior of China and Turkey form partnerships with FHSU

Fort Hays State University will expand its international outreach this week when it adds partnerships with two more universities in China, bringing the total there to six, and initiates its first partnership with a university in Turkey.

Delegates from the three universities -- Hangzhou Normal University in Zhejiang Province, China; Hong Kong Institute of Continuing Education; and Bahcesehir University in Istanbul, Turkey -- will travel to Kansas this week to meet with FHSU officials.

The week's activities will begin with a signing ceremony at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, in the Governor's Ceremonial Office on the second floor of the State Capitol in Topeka. David Yau, president of the Hong Kong Institute for Continuing Education, will join Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, in signing an agreement that will allow Chinese students to enroll in FHSU courses leading to a Master's Degree in Liberal Studies delivered via distance education technology and face-to-face instruction at the campus in Hong Kong. Classes will start there in the fall 2006 semester.

"This new partnership with the Hong Kong Institute of Continuing Education is a significant milestone because it is the first time we will be offering master's level degrees in China," President Hammond said.

Lt. Gov. John Moore will attend the ceremony to witness the signing. The governor's office has been active in promoting commerce between China and the United States. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius led a delegation of Kansas business people and government officials to China last fall, visiting Henan Province, which is a Sister State with Kansas.

FHSU has previously signed cooperative agreements with Hangzhou Normal and Bahcesehir Universities. Officials from those two schools will travel to the FHSU campus in Hays on Thursday and Friday this week for a site visit and conversations about the policies and procedures that will ensure high quality dual-degree programs. FHSU will begin offering classes at those two schools in the fall 2006 semester. The Chinese and Turkish officials will engage in formal and informal meetings with FHSU administrators and faculty on Thursday and Friday.

While earning a Bachelor of General Studies degree from FHSU, students at Bahcesehir will have the option to participate in the "two-plus-two" program, which includes two years of study in Istanbul and two years of study in Hays.

FHSU's international outreach began in the year 2000 with SIAS International University, located in the city of Xinzheng in Henan Province. Dr. Shawn Chen, a U.S. citizen who was raised in China, launched SIAS International University in 1998 with 250 students. His vision was to produce Chinese graduates fluent in the English language and equipped with highly developed skills in the use of computers and the application of Western business practices.

Dr. Chen needed an American university as a partner in order to have enough English-speaking faculty, and FHSU, as a national leader in the integration of distance education into the curriculum, was a perfect choice. The two schools signed a contract in 2000 for the delivery of FHSU courses, and the first SIAS graduating class in June 2002 included 42 students with degrees from FHSU. As that partnership continued to grow, word spread in China and other universities have approached FHSU to establish similar relationships.

FHSU and Hong Kong Tak Ming College established a cooperative agreement that allows students to enroll in FHSU courses delivered via distance education technology through the Virtual College to offer a Bachelor's of General Studies degree. The University of International Business and Economics in Beijing was founded in 1951. UIBE stood out as China's first institution of higher learning to prepare professionals for foreign economic relations and trade. The fall of 2003 marked the beginning of a partnership that saw about 400 UIBE students enrolled in FHSU classes. Shenyang Normal University in the major Chinese city of Shenyang next entered a partnership with FHSU, with classes beginning in 2004.

"FHSU has pioneered a unique model for offering our courses in China," President Hammond explained. "The Chinese university hires a cooperating teacher who coordinates with a core faculty member at FHSU. The FHSU faculty member, who is the teacher of record, is responsible for course content and management, while the cooperating teacher handles the face-to-face daily classes. In this way we have been able to protect the academic integrity of this innovative distance-education program."

The president said that besides the obvious educational benefits derived from expanding horizons of learning into another continent and another culture, the partnerships in China infused significant dollars into the FHSU budget at a time when state government was struggling with a stagnant economy. "The partnerships were a key factor in holding tuition increases at FHSU to single digits while other universities in Kansas and across the country were imposing huge tuition increases," he said.

David Yau, president, will represent the Hong Kong Institute for Continuing Education in Kansas.

The delegation from Bahcesehir University includes Suheyl Batum, president; Enver Yucel, chairman of the board; Cezmi Bayram, dean of the Vocational/Professional School; and Necati Sozuoz, FHSU liaison.

The delegation from Hangzhou Normal University includes Baiyan Yan, director of the Personnel Division; Ruixiao Zhou, director of the Equipment & Lab Management Office; Yuan Xu, director of the Audio-visual Education Program & Network Center; Dayan Xu, director of the Adult Education College; Guohua Zhan, director of the School of Information Technology; Kaixuan Zuo, deputy director of Qianjiang College; Litie Cao, director of the Social Science Research Division; Jun Yan, director of Hangzhou Normal University Transaction; and Qing Xu, vice director of the Educational Administration Office.

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Kent Steward, Director   |  ksteward@fhsu.edu  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |  kbeyers@fhsu.edu