Friday, July 26, 2013

SNRAS partners with Jilin University of China

UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers signs a memorandum of understanding while Yu Li, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, looks on.
University of Alaska Fairbanks Chancellor Brian Rogers sealed the deal for academic exchange with Jilin Agricultural University of Changchun, China, July 24. This is UAF’s third memorandum of understanding with a Chinese university.

The connections came about when School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences Associate Professor Mingchu Zhang was on sabbatical at Jilin University for spring semester of 2012. A draft memorandum of understanding and degree completion documents were approved by UA General Counsel. Once Jilin approved the papers, it was time to formalize the bilateral partnership.

Yu Li, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Piwu Wang, dean of the college of agronomy, Chun Cui, vice director of the Office of International Cooperation, and Liangcheng Chen, doctoral student at Jilian, arrived in Fairbanks July 23 after visiting Pennsylvania State University.

Piwu Wang, dean of the College of Agronomy, Jilin University, feeds a reindeer at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm.
During their whirlwind visit to Fairbanks, the visitors spent the morning July 24 with Zhang touring the Fairbanks Experiment Farm, where they saw the reindeer herd, Zhang’s canola research fields and the peony plots in the Georgeson Botanical Garden. The rest of the day was spent meeting with administrators and faculty to discuss the potential for collaborative activities and explore curriculum in agriculture and natural resources management.

That evening, the visitors were treated to a banquet in the new Murie Building with Chancellor Brian Rogers and his wife Sherry Modrow, along with deans from other UAF schools and colleges, Provost Susan Henrichs, Vice Chancellor for University and Student Advancement Michael Sfraga and Registrar Libby Eddy. The event was coordinated by Donna Anger, director of the UAF Office of International Programs and Initiatives.

“Signing this agreement is the first step,” Chancellor Rogers said. “Then it’s going to take time and real work to make something happen. This is quite an opportunity for us to work together.”
Provost Henrichs said Jilin and Fairbanks are at about the same latitude. “We are far apart in distance but similar in climate and agricultural challenges,” she said. “We see a lot of opportunities for exchanges of expertise with faculty and students.”

She said Jilin offers UAF students a way to study in China with full financial support. “We see many chances to improve the international status of both our institutions,” Henrichs said. “We are very glad you made the journey here to visit us.”

Yu Li said, “We will learn from each other and promote cooperation between the two universities. We have a bright future.”

Doctoral student Liangcheng Chen said, “I am impressed with the professionalism this university has. I wish I had been born later to enjoy these international exchange programs.”
Chancellor Rogers said the new MOU is another step in “internationalizing UAF,” explaining that he envisions continuing to develop partnerships with great universities around the world.

Jilin offers 52 undergraduate programs, 47 master’s programs and 17 doctoral programs. It encompasses Chinese languages, management, economics, law, education, literature and medicine. The Jilin campus is 10.3 million square meters of beautiful woods and greenery, surrounded by fragrant flowers. According to its website, Jilin Agricultural University places great emphasis on international cooperation and exchanges and has established cooperative ties with many universities and research institutes worldwide.

Mingchu Zhang said the agreement gives SNRAS a new recruiting tool because it can offer undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to study in China. “If this is successful it can really increase our student numbers,” he said.
From left, Chun Cui, Erin Carr, Piwu Wang, Liangcheng Chen, Mingchu Zhang and Yu Li observe the reindeer.

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