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January 4, 2005 > Ohlone College delegation establishes relationship with sister college in China

Ohlone College delegation establishes relationship with sister college in China

by Ohlone Public Relations

A delegation team from Ohlone College recently completed a week-long visit to the City of Taizhou, China (Zhejiang Province). The trip was organized to develop a relationship with Taizhou Radio and Television University/Taizhou Community College (Taizhou University) to provide international education opportunities for Ohlone students.

The delegation team, comprised of Xisheng Fang, Professor of Computer Science; Alison Hill, Director of Admissions and Records; Jim Wright, Vice President of Instruction; and Garrett Yee, Board of Trustees Member worked to develop a framework for a sister college relationship through which both schools can learn from each other and improve the program quality.

The week-long effort established a collaborative effort for curriculum development, student exchange, and faculty exchange. According to Jim Wright, who led the delegation, "One of the characteristics of leading colleges and universities, including community colleges, is that they have an active student/faculty exchange program. Ohlone's ability to develop such a program will help to give Ohlone College a reputation as a top notch community college, which will in turn help to attract quality students and faculty."

According to Garrett Yee, "Taizhou University is a community college much like Ohlone College. After spending the past week with their staff, it became clear that we have a good fit. We hope to have a resolution to the board by the next regularly scheduled meeting to formalize this relationship with Taizhou University as our Sister College."

Ohlone's expansion of international studies is in synch with the board's recent adoption of several goals including, "Promote appreciation for and understanding of diverse races and culture by expanding the diversity of college personnel, international education offerings and exchanges, cross-cultural curricula, and ethnic/cultural events." Alison Hill, who is on the task force working to pursue this goal states, "The timing of this visit to China is perfect. It really provides a shot in the arm to the task force, which this kind of program falls under. Establishing a program of student exchange can be a challenge, but the quality of the organization is much improved once in place."

Professor Fang served as the delegation team's contact person for Taizhou University during the planning portion of the trip, and once on the ground in China, also served a key role helping to work through the details of collaboration between the two colleges. According to Professor Fang, "We are in a unique position to work with Taizhou University because some of the areas that Taizhou is interested in collaboration are areas where we can help. Likewise, Taizhou has their areas of expertise that will be very beneficial to Ohlone."

During the last portion of the trip, Jim Wright held a special work session with the deans and selected faculty in order to hash out details of the focused areas of collaboration. According to Wright, "We wanted this effort to be practical and to work towards achievable outcomes. The best part about this is that there is optimism on both sides at the faculty level, which is where it counts." Yee states, "Jim's leadership during this trip was vital to the successful establishment of realistic goals and objectives. This was an example of where Jim made the decision to have this special session with the deans to ensure that we had something that was achievable-it made a big difference."

In addition to working with Taizhou, the delegation team succeeded in achieving two other major outcomes during this visit. The first was to develop a relationship with Zhejiang Changzheng Professional College in Hangzhou, China, which is interested in working with Ohlone to further the implementation of their Enterprise Township economic development zone. Hangzhou is a privately funded three-year college which is a new community college model.

The other major objective was to create a relationship with Shanghai Jiao Tong University Distance Education Center, which is interested in working with Ohlone College to further its work on an international scale. According to Wright, "This is an area in which we are far behind. At the University of Shanghai, they have the ability to broadcast their courses via wireless technology to cell phones and PDAs in real time. This is an area where we have much to learn."

The team agrees that whatever prior impressions they had of China have now changed. According to Yee, "We were all overwhelmed with the hospitality from everyone we met from the day we arrived in China up until the day we departed back for the United States. Every meal was special which created opportunities to forge long-lasting bonds with those we met--they all went out of their way to ensure our stay was as good as it could be. It was a lot of work, but we accomplished a lot during our brief stay. Both sides mutually respected and appreciated what each organization had to the offer. This was a "win-win" for both Taizhoul College and at Ohlone."

 
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