China / Education

Thinking globally, educating locally

By Zhao Xinying (China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-28 07:18

As provost of the prestigious University of Pennsylvania, Vincent Price believes the internationalization of a university consists of two dimensions: bringing the world to the university and the university to the world.

"In a world where all aspects of life are thoroughly globalized, one of universities' missions is to prepare students to live and work in such an environment," Price said. "So students who are educated at Penn, wherever they come from, need to think in global terms, have cultural competence, and understand the global scale of whatever disciplinary activities they are engaged with at Penn."

To make sure that students have these abilities, Price said they have been bringing the world to Penn by adding international elements to many components of the university, including having an international student body and international programs.

Meanwhile, bringing the university to the world is of equal importance in the internationalization of the higher education institute.

For Penn, Price believes it's about building a collaboration of interests and making sure that the faculty and students at the university have easy access and interconnectivity to the world to deepen their teaching and research.

In this process, collaborating with the higher education institutions of China - a country that Price called a major force in the world today - is one of Penn's steps to march toward the world.

The university recently launched the Penn Wharton China Center in Beijing, to support a range of its activities in China, from research programs to alumni organizations.

"The purpose of the center is to provide a support system to help us do many of the things we have been doing for years in China more effectively, and broaden and deepen our partnerships as well," Price said.

Penn has very long and traditional ties with China that date back to when Penn's first student from China graduated from its dental school in 1899, he said.

The relationship developed into student exchange programs and research agreements covering fields like sustainable food supply, urban planning, landscape design and health and medicine.

"We have a very high concentration of partnerships in China. The partnerships are doing very well and we expect to see them go forward," Price said.

He also said universities in China are becoming increasingly internationalized with a recognized need for expansion of educational opportunities and a tremendous interest in higher education.

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