Prof. Ruijun Long, then Executive Dean of Cuiying Honors College, and Associate Prof. Jirong Ren, School of Physics, and other delegates from the Office of International Cooperation and Exchange visited UK universities from 10th March to the 17th March, 2014 to deepen existing co-operations or to forge new opportunities.
Pembroke College, University of Cambridge
On Tuesday, 11th March, the delegation visited Pembroke College, one of the colleges of the University of Cambridge. They met with Greg Lewis, Acting Deputy Director, and Carlos Podadera, Programme Coordinator, both from their Department of International Programmes.
They discussed the Pembroke King’s Programme (PKP), an international undergraduate summer school programme, which one CHC student attended last year. Greg Lewis, the director affirmed the quality of our students and especially welcomed early applications. The two sides also talked about the possibility of activating CSC funding with a signed agreement for their Spring Semester Programme. Greg Lewis stressed that entry into the Semester Programme was generally through attendance and good performance in the PKP Summer Programme. Our college agreed to continue sending our students as a springboard into their Semester Programme and to further future cooperation.
With Greg Lewis and Carlos Podadera at Pembroke College
University of Oxford
On Wednesday, 12th March, the delegation visited the University of Oxford’s Careers Internship Office to meet with Dr. Fiona Whitehouse, the Internship Manager. They discussed a variety of opportunities for Oxford undergraduates to visit Lanzhou University for Summer Internship Programmes. Dr. Whitehouse said that their office already had links with Tsinghua University, Beijing Normal University and several other Chinese universities, and that Oxford students had generally returned home with positive accounts of their experiences. Professor Ruijun Long introduced the opportunity for an exciting summer internship combining learning Chinese language and culture, with part-time research focussed on aspects of the unique climate, Gobi desert and Tibetan grassland ecology, archaeology, ethnic customs and silk road history of this area of North-west China.
After that, the delegation paid a brief visit to meet Marco Haenssgen, a MPhil student, and his fellow research officers, Jun Hou and Giacomo Zanello, at the Technology and Management for Development Centre. Our professors talked with them about their research, which focusses on the use of technology and innovation in developing countries, and talked with them about research collaboration and about inviting visiting lecturers to Lanzhou University.
With Dr Fiona Whitehouse at Oxford Internships Office
University of Reading
That afternoon, the delegation also visited the University of Reading, and met with Craig Lennox, Regional Manager for East Asia, and Ms. Anna Campbell-Colquhoun, responsible for East Asian universities with the Reading International Office; Marcos Dowse, Erasmus and Study Abroad Manager (Erasmus Institutional Coordinator) from their Erasmus & Study Abroad Office; and Benjamin W. Neuman, Director of Internationalisation, and Admissions Tutor, from their School of Biological Sciences.
Reading University has a history of good cooperation with Lanzhou University since the signing of an MOU in 2012, and with the exchange of many students since. On the basis of this existing cooperation, the delegation discussed initiating “2 +2” dual degree programmes, and sending students to undertake laboratory practice.
Afterwards, the delegation met three Lanzhou University students, who are currently on undergraduate exchange at the University of Reading. They inquired about the students’ learning and living conditions, and encouraged them to seize the opportunities that they have while studying in the UK.
Talking with Reading University Representatives
Royal Holloway, University of London
On Thursday, 13th March, the delegates arrived bright and early to see the beauty of the historical buildings of Royal Holloway, through a campus tour given by Liz Chapman, International Partnerships Coordinator, accompanied by the three Cuiying Honors College students currently studying there. They saw the students’ accommodation, the library, the chapel and the art gallery. Later in the Principal’s Office, they met with Professor Rob Kemp, Deputy Principal; Professor Paul Hogg, Vice-Principal for Research & Enterprise and Dean of Science; and Sheryl Simon, Director of Student Recruitment & Partnerships.
As a result of multiple visits to Lanzhou by Professor Rob Kemp with his geographic interest in the unique, natural landscape of North-western China, official co-operation between Royal Holloway and Lanzhou University began in 2011. So far, fifteen students have taken part in the year abroad exchange programme. Professor Ruijun Long described the Cuiying Honors College international training model and objectives, and expressed the hope that in the future we could cooperate to establish dual-degree (2+2), and degree plus masters (3+2) models of joint study, and even to extend our existing agreement to include a model with a final year research (3+1). Professor Long also proposed to hire visiting lecturers to teach courses, especially retired lecturers, who would have more teaching experience, but also more research experience to collaborate in research with Lanzhou University and enhance academic exchanges. Professor Paul Hogg expressed his interest in this idea and said that he would help us to advertise this opportunity. They talked about some of their new programmes in Engineering Physics and about the possibility of pursuing joint dual-degree “2+2” or degree plus masters “3+2” programmes. We asked about expanding the existing agreement, to include a “3+1” training model for a final year research internship. Ms. Sheryl Simon introduced their Volunteer Leadership Program, and said that maybe this could be combined with a final year research programme.
Meeting with representatives from Royal Holloway
Professor Long Ruijun and Vice President Rob Kemp exchange gifts
Professor Rob Kemp also specially invited Royal Holloway Professor Brian Cowan, director of their Department of Physics to meet Associate Professor Jirong Ren. Professor Cowan shared their Physics Undergraduate Student Handbook, including curriculum content and assessment methods, which could be used as a reference for credit transfer for our physics exchange students.
Associate Professor Jirong Ren and Professor Brian Cowan discuss the physics syllabus
Visiting current exchange students at Royal Holloway
London School of Economics and Political Science
On Thursday afternoon, our delegation travelled into central London, to the home of the London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE. There, they first met Pete J Campion-Spall, Deputy Head of Academic Partnerships, who introduced us to the history of the LSE summer schools in London, Beijing (LSE-PKU Summer School) and Cape Town. After this, Tom Purser, Summer School Manager, introduced the delegation to the London-based school, which is one of the largest summer school in Europe with over 6000 students each year with professional level courses in finance, accounting, economics, international relations, law and management. Our delegation mentioned that the high language entry requirements (TOEFL iBT 107 or IELTS 7.0) are prohibitive for many of our students and Tom Purser suggested that students come for a week of preparatory English language training if they need a little extra preparation. He welcomed applications from our students in January or early February. Tom Purser then took us for a short tour of their very modern library and compact campus nestled in the heart of London.
University of Leeds
On Friday, 14th March, the delegation travelled to Leeds, and were welcomed by Robert Partridge, the new Director of Student Opportunity, and Louise McCarthy, Deputy Head of the International Office and Senior International Marketing Manager. We also met Joanne Shiel, as a representative of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, and other professors from the Department of Physics and the Department of Biological Sciences Departments.
In the early afternoon, we split into two groups to meet with University of Leeds faculty from Biological Sciences and Physics. Prof. Ruijun Long met with Daniella Strauss, Lecturer in School of Biomedical Science, and Prof. Jirong Ren, met with Professor Tom Hartquist, Head of School of Physics, and Dr. Alison Voice, Director of Student Education. Both groups also met with students from Cuiying Honors College, who were currently studying there to discuss their study plans and improve the exchange programme for future students.
Professor Long Ruijun meets with lecturers from the University of Leeds, School of Biomedical Sciences
Associate Professor Jirong Ren with Professor Tom Hartquist, Head of the School of Physics, and Dr. Alison Voice
Our meetings for the day, concluded with meeting the Language Centre, where 11 Cuiying Honors Students studied last summer. We met with Niamh Mullen, Deputy Director of the General English Programme, Director of the Summer General English Programme and Teaching Fellow; Joanne Shiel, Internal Liaison & External Collaboration, International Representative of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, and Michael Parkin, Director of Academic English for Undergraduate Studies, Pre-sessional Programme and Senior Teaching Fellow.
A Cuiying physics student meets with Dr. Alison Voice
The delegation with staff at the University of Leeds, Language Centre
Finally, the delegation met up with nine Lanzhou University students who are currently studying at Leeds University to learn more about the students’ challenges and successes.
The delegation with current exchange students at the University of Leeds.
Visiting these six universities has helped us to gain a broader understanding of some of the best opportunities in the UK for the honours students in the Cuiying Honors College. It has also helped to consolidate links, to strengthen research cooperation, and to explore new innovative educational models with existing partner institutions. It may serve to help us recruit more overseas lecturers in the future, and even to raise the international profile of Lanzhou University.