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CofC establishes exchange programs with Chinese, Ghanaian universities

Charleston Regional Business Journal
Matt Tomsic
September 12, 2011

The College of Charleston has signed four bilateral agreements with universities in China and Ghana to exchange students, who will pay the same tuition as their home college.

The agreements are with Fudan University and Xiamen University in China, with the National Kaohsiung Normal University in Taiwan and with the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. They cover a variety of disciplines, including economics, business, Chinese language, culture and education.

Frances Welch, dean of the college’s School of Education, Health and Human Performance, said the agreement with National Kaohsiung Normal University came from work between the college and a university faculty member who had a Fulbright scholarship with the College of Charleston last year.

Welch said that teachers are highly regarded in Taiwan and that she wanted to expose the college’s teaching students to that atmosphere. Taiwan also excels in math, an area that needs more attention in South Carolina and the United States, she said.

Alan Shao, dean of the college’s School of Business, said the agreements help accomplish the institution’s goal of globalization. Shao said the business school has five MBA students from China now and its Master of Science in Accountancy program has three Chinese students.

College of Charleston MBA students also traveled to China during the summer for about three weeks. The students visited Chinese companies and universities.

“During that three-week period, they got a real good look at what education and business is like in one of the fastest developing countries in the world,” Shao said. “It really enhances the knowledge that our College of Charleston students get, because they’re learning now, not just from an American perspective but from a Chinese perspective.”

The Chinese perspective is important because of the country’s role in the world and with the United States. Shao said China ranks second as a trading partner to the United States, provides more foreign students to American universities and has many quality students, meaning some of the highest achievers come stateside in exchange programs.

“It’s crucial that we understand what the Chinese are about and that they understand what we’re about,” Shao said. “It’s important that both sides learn to cooperate, and we feel that by training executives and future business leaders in China, that will give us a better opportunity to collaborate rather than compete.”

Shao said the college’s top goal is to establish graduate universities in other parts of the world.

“Really, the College of Charleston is going through a real shift in attitude, and that is we are looking to really be a world player,” Shao said. “But at the end of the day, we’re always focused on the state of South Carolina and the city of Charleston. That’s our bread and butter.”

Shao said sending students and faculty abroad and bringing those people here benefits Charleston and its college by expanding alumni and increasing student and faculty knowledge.

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