PEMBROKE — Officials at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke recently signed agreements with two universities in China.
Students majoring in business will have the opportunity to complete two years at North China Institute of Science and Technology, then transfer to UNCP to complete their undergraduate degree in Business Administration or Accounting.
The agreement with China University of Geosciences allows graduate students in the Masters of Business Administration program to transfer to UNCP after their second year and complete one year of studies in the states.
“Our goal is to expose our students to more study abroad experiences and attract international students to our university,” Chancellor Robin Cummings said.
UNCP has 26 agreements with universities in China alone. Other countries that have partnerships with UNCP include Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden and South Korea.
School officials hope such partnerships will attract international students to the Pembroke campus.
UNCP’s partnership with Chinese universities began in 2001 with agreements with the China University of Mining and Technology and Macau University of Science and Technology.
These relationships expanded in 2005 when UNCP joined a coalition made up of 28 American and more than 100 Chinese universities. The coalition is led by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the China Center for International Educational Exchange.
“It is important to continue to expand our International Programs in order to expose our students to different cultures and different parts of the world,” Cummings said. “Our students benefit by knowing students from Germany, South Korea, Sweden, Australia and other countries we have relationships with.”
Jessica Hall, director of International Programs, said she is equally enthusiastic by the growth her office is generating.
“International Programs brings a unique flavor to our university and it is part of what we would consider a ‘university experience,’” Hall said. “A lot of our students might never meet someone from China, France, Germany or Sweden or cannot visit these countries, so by bringing the students here, they are bringing their culture, language, values and experience with them. When you walk on UNCP’s campus and see students from two dozen countries and hear so many languages … that, in itself, should have an impact on you.”
During a recent trip to China, Cummings joined other university leaders in a panel discussion at Henan University. He shared UNCP’s unique history and diversity and how the university is being innovative in educating and cultivating global talent.
Cummings participated in a graduation ceremony for students in the Sino-American Cooperation on Higher Education and Professional Development transfer program. Four UNCP students were among the 380 graduates.
“You could see the pride on their faces as they walked across the stage,” Cummings said. “It was special that I was there to hand them their diploma. It was a very proud moment for me and the university, realizing the reach of UNC Pembroke to the other side of the world and how we are impacting and changing the lives of these students.”
Xinyi “Elsie” Wang, a UNCP student, graduated near the top of this year’s transfer participants, earning an overall 3.95 grade-point average. She received a full scholarship in a doctoral program in material chemistry at the University of Alberta in Canada.
Fellow UNCP graduates were Xiao Fu, Yanan Wang and Zhuxuan Yan. The ceremony was held on the campus of Henan University in Kaifeng City, one of the oldest universities in China and home to 60,000 students.
Cummings was accompanied on the trip by Qi “Larry” Liu, Asian program coordinator for the Office of International Programs at UNCP. Liu came to UNCP as a transfer student from Harbin Normal University in China in 2006.
“I was one of the first students to participate in this program at UNCP,” Liu said. “I am a product of a transfer program, so I feel deeply how powerful the impact of the collaboration that universities can have on the students’ academic and professional success.”
Liu, who also holds a master’s degree from UNCP, says there are more than 100 UNCP graduates living in China.
Cummings got a chance to meet with some of the UNCP alumni at a reception in Beijing before heading back to the states.
“That was the highlight of the trip,” he said “They traveled long distances … several hours on a train, to be there to reconnect with the university and to tell me how much their time here meant to them.”
Officials at UNCP are taking steps to establish a UNCP Alumni Association chapter in Beijing in order to remain connected with alumni there.
One alumnus, Xing “Chuck” Zhang, left a lasting impression on Cummings. Zhang is the chief operating officer of Beijing DCN Orthopedic Hospital — the official hospital for the Chinese Olympic Team. Zhang’s wife also graduated from UNCP, finishing at the top of her class in the Nursing program.
Zhang, a 2008 graduate, earned a master’s degree in Public Administration. He lived at the Baptist Student Union building while he was a student at UNCP. He and his wife were members of Calvary Way Baptist Church in Pembroke. Their first daughter was born at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.
Zhang gave Cummings and Liu a tour of the hospital.
“During our tour, Chuck stopped and said, ‘you have no idea what it means to have the leader of my university come to visit me,’” Cummings said. “And with moist eyes and all the sincerity you can imagine, Chuck described to me how this university changed his life. UNCP is not only making an impact in southeastern North Carolina, but all over the globe.”
Mark Locklear is the public communication specialist for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.