Lees-McRae is proud to announce they have signed cooperative agreements with four Chinese institutions. Though still in their infancy, these relationships hold many possibilities for the expansion of Lees-McRae’s global education programs.
In March 2014, President Barry M. Buxton, Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Kacy Crabtree, and Director of International Programs Marv Williamsen traveled to China and met with university presidents, high school principals and Ministry of Education officials to discuss strategies for Chinese students to enroll at Lees-McRae.
“China is a country with a 5000 year history and I believe they will dominate the next decade both economically and culturally,” said President Buxton. “China has the ability to mobilize it's citizenry behind identified priorities. Educational exchanges between our two countries represent a wonderful opportunity for mutual respect and understanding.”
Cooperative agreements have been signed at Langfang Foreign Language School, a residential high school; Oriental Institute of Technology, a junior/technical college; Shan Xi Lingshi High School, a residential high school of 6,000 students; and Oriental University City, a campus of seven different universities totaling 75,000 students.
Several of these institutions are located in or near Langfang, 50 miles south of Beijing. LangFang is known to be a city on the rise, with the largest airport in the world currently under construction just outside the city and many government offices set to be moved within its borders.
As part of these relationships, Lees-McRae will be establishing a Confucian classroom on campus and has already received a rare scroll artwork from Mr. Xu Zhiqiang, the general manager of Oriental University City, for display in the classroom.
This summer, Lees-McRae expects to host a delegation of businessmen from China led by Dr. Xu Hongwei, a representative of the Ministry of Education in China. Dr. Xu has been instrumental in the development of the College’s Chinese relationships. In addition, this summer the College will also potentially host a select group of 15-20 Chinese high school students for an American culture program to introduce them to the Lees-McRae campus.
International students representing ten countries are currently enrolled at Lees-McRae. In addition, the College offers a variety of global education programs including exchange programs through Hanaam University in South Korea, faculty-led academic trips to New Zealand, Belize and London, and independent study abroad programs through affiliation agreements with five international education agencies. An annual study abroad fair is also held to educate students on the opportunities available to them.
Prior to this visit to China, in the summer of 2013, Williamsen and instructor of business John LaCapra traveled to China to begin the initial research for these relationships. Additionally, Dr. John Thomas, former chancellor of Appalachian State University, and Dr. Jensen Jen, who lives locally, have been invaluable in constructing these relationships.
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