Chinese to say sí for FIU degree
By Laura Stace
Florida International University will soon be teaching the Chinese to speak Spanish.
The university, which at 61% has one of the largest Hispanic student populations in the nation, continues to build its global relationships with a master's of public administration and a business degree program set to launch abroad.
The university is in the final stages of negotiations with Qingdao University, south of Beijing, in establishing a bachelor's degree in Spanish, said Provost and Executive Vice President Douglas Wartzok.
"Qingdao University and FIU will submit the formal request to the Chinese Ministry of Education later this month," he said.
Dr. Wartzok said the university has dual degree agreements with several dozen universities around the world and every couple of months it reviews another possible dual degree agreement.
"These range from business to education to engineering to hospitality to public administration," he said.
Launched in the spring of 2007, FIU's hospitality and tourism program at Tianjin University of Commerce graduated 340 students last year. The number of graduates is set to increase with the recent renewal of the program beyond 2014 — the initial time frame.
FIU's dean of the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Mike Hampton said the program was extended for 10 years by the Chinese Ministry of Education.
At present, 1,100 students are enrolled in the program, but the extension allows the addition of 100 students. These additional students will be added to the course next fall, Dr. Hampton said.
The university looks to offer the hospitality course in China's gambling hot spot, Macau. Launch of the program at City University of Macau is still in the works, Dr. Hampton said, with an internship program set to launch in fall.
FIU students will be able to travel to Macau and participate in an internship in what Dr. Hampton describes as the "most dynamic hospitality destination in the world."
He said the next step will be a certificate course and then eventually a degree program at City University of Macau.
Meanwhile, students are being recruited in China for FIU's new public administration and business programs.
Mohamad Alkadry, associate professor and director of the master's of public administration program, said the master's of public administration degree will launch next August at Tianjin University of Commerce and Qingdao University.
"Both universities have signed agreements and are working on recruiting students," Dr. Alkadry said.
"The joint program represents collaboration with international institutions to meet the needs of their students. For the FIU MPA program, it is an effort to emphasize the I in FIU and in its own mission statement."
Students will take the first 12 credits of approved courses in China and then come to Miami to complete the final 30 credits of the 42-credit master of public administration degree.
Dr. Alkadry said students will pay $20,000 for 30 credits of graduate work and the university has a target of 20 to 30 students a year.
"This is a self-supporting program, which means that its revenues pay for its own expenses."
The FIU business school is readying for the launch of its bachelor's of business administration degree in management information systems at Tianjin.
Joyce Elam, executive dean of the College of Business, said she was hoping for a freshman class of 120 students next fall.
Like Tianjin's hospitality and tourism management program, business students will receive instruction from Tianjin for the first two years, with FIU providing the remainder. The students will get their degrees from FIU.
Dr. Elam said some faculty members will travel from the US to China to teach the course and part-time local staff will also be hired.
The healthcare MBA offered by FIU at the Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, is experiencing marked growth, Dr. Elam said.
The students take four courses in China before coming to the US. Fourteen students are at FIU now, with 30 enrolled in the course in China, she said. Thirteen students graduated from the program in August.
Dr. Elam said the business school continues its MBA programs in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Panama, with FIU faculty traveling to teach the students on the weekend.
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