Nov 302008
 
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

Immediately following their trip to Japan this month, a team of CSU deans and Interim CSU President Tony Frank traveled to China to begin negotiations resulting in research agreements and enhanced foreign exchange in one to two years, Frank said last week.

While logistics are still “in process,” CSU plans to collaborate with two Chinese universities, East China Normal University and the Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, to provide offices in each others’ campus to facilitate foreign exchange recruitment and to trade student scientists to conduct research overseas, respectively.

“China is an amazing place. The pace of general physical and social change is dizzying,” Frank said.

During the next one to two years, CSU will build on its recently established relationships with the schools to determine whether their collective goals and programs will align.

If plans are finalized, CSU will set up an office in East China Normal University’s Shanghai location with the intention of housing an overseas representative that will answer questions and promote student academic exchange. East China will establish the same office in the CSU-Fort Collins campus.

And at the Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Frank said that ensuring that student credits will easily transfer between it and CSU will be the first priority in progressing toward their planned joint PhD program.

“The opportunity for undergrads to go back and forth is an exciting one,” he said.

He said that because water is such a precious resource in China, negotiations that deal with it – as any agreement with its water research institute would do – must go through a cabinet-level minister.

Networking opportunities such as these provide CSU the opportunity to become a “world leader” in water research, Frank said. Work with the institute will aim to strengthen CSU’s current PhD in water management degree.

Frank said that finalizing details concerning next steps in China and in Japan will require more visits, as, because CSU is a government agency, project approval from the state takes time.

Referencing the fact that Shanghai built an entire campus in five years, Frank joked, “It takes (CSU) five years to even get approval.”

The opportunity to work with universities abroad, he said, increases his feeling that all institutes of higher education are a part of a bigger picture.

“Wherever I’ve been, I’ve always been struck by how similar people are: in what we enjoy, what we laugh at, what we worry about for our families,” he said. “When we talk about each other, so much of what we paint are our differences. Changing that perspective is a positive feeling.

“As long as we’re talking, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish.”

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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