FIU adds 10 programs across China
With the success of its Hospitality & Tourism Management program in Tianjin, Florida International University continues to expand its presence in China with a variety of new programs over the past year.
The Hospitality & Tourism Program at China’s Tianjin University of Commerce was launched in the spring of 2007 and recently underwent a renewal process to renew it past the original 2014 timeframe.
Due to the success of this program, FIU has expanded program offerings in China, though they aren’t of the same caliber as the full hospitality program currently offered, Provost Douglas Wartzok said.
The ten new programs are spread across institutions in China, and include “articulation” programs where Chinese students begin their college career at a university in China and finish at FIU’s campus in Miami, exchange programs for both Chinese and American students, and even faculty exchange programs.
The university signed separate agreements with Tianjin University of Commerce and Qingdao University in Qingdao, China, in regards to a master of public administration program as well as with Tianjin University of Commerce for a bachelor of business administration degree in management information systems in 2012.
Since then, the expansion of joint programs includes masters of engineering programs at Xiamen University, Amhui Sanlian University, Tianjin University and North China Electric Power University as well as business or finance program agreements with Wenzhou University, Tianjin Foreign Studies University and Shandong University of Finance and Economics.
“FIU has been interested in establishing stronger relationships with China for at least a decade recognizing the importance of China in the world’s economy,” Mr. Wartzok said. FIU’s oldest program in China, Tianjin’s hospitality program, graduated 240 students in May. FIU’s President Mark Rosenberg even traveled to China for those commencement ceremonies.
FIU also hopes to expand the majors offered through the program in China to include a major in tourism (in addition to the current degree in hospitality), which would increase the number of students enrolled each year from about 250 to 500, Mr. Wartzok said. That would bring the total capacity of the program up to about 2,000 students total.
Chinese students are not the only students who benefit from FIU’s partnership. Every year, about a dozen seniors at FIU in Miami spend their senior year studying in Tianjin, with about three dozen seniors from Chinese studying in Miami, according to Mr. Wartzok.
FIU’s presence in China is over a decade old, beginning with the 2008 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
“(China) realized they were going to have a large influx of foreign tourists and they didn’t have personnel who were educated in western tourism expectations,” Mr. Wartzok said. “They talked to several different universities and in the end the selection was made to go with FIU in order to establish that program at that time.”
Programs that allowed Chinese students to earn US degrees or to study here became very attractive as the Chinese economy slowed over the past several years and jobs were harder to come by. Students who graduate in the US can often apply for a one-year visa extension that allows them to work and gain practical experience in their industry in the US, Mr. Wartzok said.
“With that sort of background,” he said, “that makes them very attractive when they go home.”