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【China Daily】Shanghai-Michigan Venture Wins Award

March 17, 2014      Author: Yu Wei

Shanghai Jiao Tong University's engineering-education joint venture with the University of Michigan has won the prestigious Andrew Heiskell Award for best practices in international partnership, one of the highest honors in international higher education, the Institute of International Education announced on Monday.

IIE selected the Shanghai-based University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute for the award because it represents "an excellent example of a successful, mature and sustainable partnership," Daniel Obst, deputy vice-president of International Partnerships at the IIE, told China Daily.

The joint institute (JI) was founded in 2006 to be a leading international academic institute for innovative global engineering education and research activities, "using the best practices of both universities", according to the Chinese university's website.

IIE, a New York-based private nonprofit organization, and its selection committee were especially impressed by the partnership's scale and broad reach, Obst said. The JI encompasses "not only student mobility and faculty collaboration but also the development of dual degree programs", he said.

For the Shanghai university, a key goal was to use the JI to learn new ways of teaching and organizing research and faculty, according to U-M. Courses in the institute are all taught in English by more than 20 full-time faculty members. More than 30 U-M faculty members have engaged, according to the university.

James Holloway, U-M vice-provost for global and engaged education, said the JI has been an excellent place for the university's college of engineering students to study in China and become immersed in the country as it emerges into a global economic powerhouse.

"Nearly 300 U-M students have participated in the JI program, and they consistently described the experience as transformative," Holloway said.

The JI currently offers two undergraduate programs in mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering to more than 1,200 students. Within the programs, it also offers two joint programs with U-M: the dual undergraduate degree program and the combined undergraduate/graduate program.

The university said the JI has provided a solid pipeline for highly qualified Chinese students to transfer to U-M through dual-degree programs.

"Over 500 Chinese students have benefitted from the dual-degree program since the JI was established, helping us develop the next generation of student leaders who will bring a global perspective to their professional work and understand the potential for Sino-US collaboration," U-M president Mary Sue Coleman said.

"The JI partnership serves as a springboard for joint research collaborations in fields of critical interest to the US and China, including renewable energy, sustainable transportation and biotechnology," Holloway said.

The Heiskell Awards were established by IIE to promote and honor outstanding international higher education initiatives among more than 1,200 member institutions. In the past 13 years, IIE has given Heiskell awards to more than 100 initiatives.



Source: China Daily