A delegation of representatives from five major US university associations visited Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) on the morning of April 16th. Both sides gained a brief but comprehensive understanding of each other and had a lively exchange on experiences and ideas of higher education.
Visiting group members included directors, vice presidents professors and staff from the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), Association for Collaborative Leadership (ACL), Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium for Higher Education (SEPCHE), Claremont University Consortium (CUC), and Colleges of the Fenway (COF).
Professor Youmin Xi, Executive President of XJTLU, welcomed the guests and gave an overview presentation of XJTLU. Explaining the mission of XJTLU to become a research-led international university in China and a Chinese university recognised internationally, he told the visitors that “we are establishing our unique features in learning and teaching, research, social service, and education management and is looking forward to more international collaborations.”
“XJTLU as an independent university has been exploring its own education model which combines the advantages of UK system’s education quality, its Chinese context, American universities’ flexibility and others attributes together.” Professor Xi expressed the University’s willingness to share insights on higher education with the US delegation.
He also mentioned the continued strategy for XJTLU to establish its innovation eco-system, enhance its research and social service exchange with the institutes all over the world and especially with the enterprises in Suzhou Industrial Park, “We would like to see XJTLU become the innovation and research engine for the development of local industry.”
The delegation was largely impressed by the presentation and had an exciting question and answer session with the management team of XJTLU.
Barbara McFadden Allen, Executive Director of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), firstly expressed appreciation on behalf of the delegation to XJTLU for offering them an amazing glace at the case study of a unique university in China. She was interested in the recruitment format of teaching faculties in XJTLU and was delighted to know that all the faculties have been recruited independently. “We would like our teachers to be full time and wholly engaged with the teaching in this university, so we recruit our teachers globally and independently. Now we have a variety of staff from over 50 countries and areas”, Professor Xi explained.
Dr. Denise Hayes, Vice President for Student Affairs for the Claremont University Consortium (CUC) asked about XJTLU’s student development aspect. She commented that “in US, we are usually facing problems in how to connect academics with student affairs, and I am interested to know how XJTLU support its students with the system.” Mrs. Heather Knight, Acting Director of Centre for Academic Affairs at XJTLU answered the question by introducing XJTLU’s student affair centers including Student Affairs Office, Student Admissions and Career Development Office and the XJTLU’s mentor system. “We have our academic advice system combining resources of in and out of campus to provide a multi-dimensional support system”, Mrs. Knight added.
When asking about how XJTLU selects students and how the University helps students overcome language problems, Professor Xi explained that XJTLU is recruiting students based on the Chinese Gaokao score at the moment and XJTLU doesn’t have language level requirements when selecting mainland students. “Most students are educatable and most of them are very strong students. XJTLU aims to change students from common ones to extraordinary global citizens with competitive abilities”, Professor Xi emphasised.
Following on from Professor Xi’s answer, Dr. Stuart Perrin, Director of Language Centre and Dean of Learning and Teaching continued explaining that the Gaokao cannot reflect students’ real English language level. “When students entered XJTLU, the Language Centre has set up series of programmes to help and support students overcome language problems. The same support is also provided to postgraduate students.”
In addition, both sides discussed issues relating to international student recruitment and faculty involvement in student affairs etc.
Others who attended the meeting were: Professor David O’Connor, Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at XJTLU; Professor Sarah Dixon, Dean of International Business School Suzhou (IBSS) at XJTLU; Mrs. Leslie Sturino, Director of University Marketing and Communication at XJTLU and Professor of Practice in IBSS and Ms. Kirsty Mattinson, Head of International Student Recruitment and Support.