ChinaߝUMass Connection Strengthened

Delegation to Beijing Explores Options

Thomas Taylor, Ahmed Abdelal and Julie Chen arrive in Beijing to begin discussions with their counterparts at Chinese universities.

Thomas Taylor, Ahmed Abdelal and Julie Chen arrive in Beijing to begin discussions with their counterparts at Chinese universities.

02/10/2010
By Sandra Seitz

More undergraduate students on campus may list their hometown as “Beijing” as a result of new connections forged on a recent trip.

UMass Lowell representatives joined a University of Massachusetts delegation to Chinese universities late last fall to discuss a number of existing and potential programs. UMass Vice President Marcie Williams led the group, which included delegates from all four undergraduate universities, UMass Online and the President’s Office.

Provost Ahmed Abdelal, Vice Provost for Research Julie Chen, Dean of Engineering John Ting and Dean of Enrollment Thomas Taylor represented UMass Lowell.

Helping Chinese students take advantage of American higher education was the first order of discussion. The Tsinghua University Bridge Program, currently involving UMass Boston only, prepares Chinese high school students for entry into U.S. universities as incoming freshmen. UMass Lowell could offer a number of additional majors.

More discussion about opportunities for Chinese students was conducted at CERNET, the China Education and Research Network. CERNET, an offshoot of Tsinghua University, has expanded from its emphasis on telecommunications to include bridge programs that facilitate offshore higher education for Chinese students.

CERNET has recently opened the MAIA, the Massachusetts International Academy, in Marlborough to bring Chinese students directly to the United States (with provisional university acceptance) for English-language courses and cultural acclimatization.

These two connections will ease the way for Chinese students to enter UMass Lowell as undergraduates.

Clean energy was the focus of the third meeting: a scientific workshop that included leading researchers and industrialists in energy and solar energy, as well as the director of China’s government agency on energy. Participants exchanged information about current and exploratory research areas.

“China offers huge opportunities for clean energy development,” says Chen. “The government has made a national commitment to funding extensive research and pilot programs.”