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Elon explores exchange with South China Normal University

Chinese delegation visits campus to begin formal discussions about student, faculty and academic exchange possibilities with Elon.

South China Normal University President Liu Ming posed for a photo at Fonville Fountain with (l-r) Wu Jianli, vice president of SCNU's Nanhai Campus; Ling Zhou, an Elon sophomore from China; and Tan Wei hong, deputy director of foreign affairs at SCNU.

Elon President Leo M. Lambert and South China Normal University (SCNU) President Liu Ming signed a memorandum of understanding Oct. 13, formally beginning discussions about potential partnerships between the two universities. Liu and three of his colleagues came to Elon to meet with Lambert and other Elon administrators to talk about SCNU’s initiative to expand international partnerships, enabling more Chinese students to study abroad and encouraging faculty and academic collaboration with top universities.

SCNU has three campuses in Guangzhou, the country’s third largest city located in Guangdong Province, north of Hong Kong in southern China. SCNU enrolls nearly 26,000 undergraduate students, 6,000 graduate students and more than 500 doctoral students. SCNU was founded as a teacher’s college in 1933 and has been growing rapidly as part of the Chinese government’s $2.2 billion Project 211, aimed at strengthening about 100 institutions of higher education and key disciplinary areas as a national priority for the 21st century.

Under the arrangement signed by the presidents, Elon and SCNU will begin talking about exchanging students, considering joint undergraduate degree programs, launching joint faculty research projects, collaboration in teacher development, exchange of academic information and organizing joint conferences and meetings.

President Liu and his staff met with President Lambert; Steven House, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Gerald Whittington, senior vice president for business, finance and technology; Alison Morrison-Shetlar, dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences; and Woody Pelton, dean of international programs and director of the Isabella Cannon Centre. House, Whittington, Morrison-Shetlar and Pelton will visit SCNU in December for further discussions.

Liu remarked on Elon’s beautiful and quiet campus and said he had heard of Elon’s reputation for excellence. “We hope we can learn a great deal from Elon about undergraduate education,” Liu said.

Liu said Elon students who choose to study at SCNU would benefit, since they would have the opportunity to research one of China’s fastest-growing regions, with a rapidly expanding economy.

Pelton led the Chinese delegation on a tour of Elon’s campus, and they were joined by Ling Zhou, an Elon sophomore from China. Elon accounting faculty member Catherine Chiang served as interpreter during the visit.

Dan Anderson,
10/13/2011 2:16 PM