KSU may get office in China

Kiera Manion-Fischer

Kent State is poised to establish a presence in China.

President Lester Lefton and Provost Robert Frank are looking to create a Kent State office to be stationed in the country with the world’s largest population. The office may open in the spring semester.

Frank said the initiative could mean many things, including opportunities for student and faculty exchanges as well as recruiting.

It would be a one or two person office in China to take care of the university’s interests.

Steve Michael, vice provost for diversity, is overseeing the initiative.

Kent State is coming to this a little late, he said, because businesses and other institutions have expanded their operations to China.

“It makes every sense for a university of our size and our scale of operation to be heavily involved in China,” Michael said.

Michael has set up a team of faculty and staff to work on the project.

Frank said there are a number of faculty of Chinese origin at Kent State who have connections with Chinese universities.

“The growth of higher education in China has created opportunities for collaboration with universities,” Frank said.

Frank said Kent State students need to understand the importance of the emerging Chinese economy on the world stage.

Michael agreed.

“It’s one of the fastest growing economies in the world with over a billion people who are determined to speak English and determined to move their economy forward,” he said.

Objectives of the China

initiative

• To increase the number of students enrolled at Kent State from China in significant ways starting next year.

•To establish a physical presence in China.

• To establish a Confucius Institute at Kent State, which is the Chinese government’s program to help countries around the world set up Chinese language and cultural education programs.

•To develop memoranda of understanding with major universities in China.

•To expand Kent State’s Chinese language program.

•In the long term to establish a center for Chinese studies.

Source: Steve Michael, vice provost for diversity.

Michael said the initiative will add to current international programs.

“A credible university education must include a global education,” Michael said. “Our students are going to graduate into a shrinking world.”

Frank said having a person in China every day would improve chances of success.

“It’s very hard to pursue these things from a distance,” Frank said. “If we really want to succeed, we have to have someone charged with accomplishing it.”

Frank said the initiative would not have a significant impact on the university budget because salaries are less in China.

Frank said some of the same things apply to India and Kent State may look to establishing an office there as well.

Contact academics reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected]