College strengthens China ties
Written by Nina Lincoff on September 3, 2014
Miami Dade College continues to strengthen its relationship with China through the arts and study-abroad programs. Year-to-date, there have been numerous exchanges of students, faculty and ideas. This fall semester, six MDC students will study at China’s Jiangsu Normal University, the college’s partner university.
The six students were awarded scholarships by the college’s Confucius Institute, said Xuejin “Jim” Yu, director of the institute at MDC.
This summer, nearly quadruple that number of MDC students attended the Chinese Cultural Summer Camp in Beijing. That program, during July and August, was organized by the Beijing International Chinese College and sponsored by the Confucius Institute headquarters, also in Beijing. MDC is one of two community colleges to host a Confucius Institute.
But China isn’t the only country with which the college is looking to build bridges.
“MDC is working to strengthen ties with China, Brazil and India as emerging economies,” said Beverly Moore-Garcia, vice provost for academic affairs.
“These countries have shown an interest in understanding the American model of community college education and its success in generating graduates who are both skilled for the workforce as well as positioned to continue their education,” Ms. Moore-Garcia said.
The community college model is viewed by these countries as a way to raise employment rates in their economies and help students who desire to pursue baccalaureate and potential post-graduate degrees.
“Developing economies often struggle with the educational challenge of how to serve a highly degreed workforce who do not have applied workforce skills or a workforce that needs to be re-trained into new fields or trained beyond technician levels,” Ms. Moore-Garcia said. By working with and facilitating an exchange of students and faculty, both MDC and a partner university may benefit.
To facilitate a relationship with China, the film industry is one particular area ripe for the exchange of ideas. In the spring, seven members from the Shanghai University Film School, including the dean and department chairs, attended the Miami International Film Festival and participated in the “Miami-Shanghai Cinema Slam.”
The exchange went both ways. A couple of months later, three student award-winning films from the Miami festival were sent to China and showcased at Shanghai University this summer.
A delegation from MDC also went to the Shanghai International Film Festival and Shanghai University in June to attend the festival and China-USA Student Short Film Competition. Along with Mr. Yu, Jaie Laplante, executive director of the Miami festival, traveled to the Shanghai festival.
The exchange of ideas through film is just one way MDC engages with and collaborates with other countries. “Through our [Confucius Institute] students, faculty and staff are able to learn about Chinese language and culture. We in turn are able to share with our Chinese partner university American culture, academic models of education and teaching pedagogy,” Ms. Moore-Garcia said. “As we have learned about each other’s countries and cultures we have found opportunities to collaborate.”