At a ceremony in China last week, the University of New England (UNE) and Wuxi South Ocean College (WSOC) celebrated the 10th anniversary of a highly successful educational partnership.
The partnership has brought about 350 students from the College in Jiangsu Province, China, to Armidale, NSW, to undertake business studies at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels at UNE.
UNE’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Pettigrew, speaking at the Wuxi celebration, said that the partnership was “enriching – both personally and professionally – for students and staff at both institutions”.
“While WSOC students gain from UNE’s strong international reputation for academic excellence and outstanding student support services,” he explained, “UNE benefits from the cultural diversity WSOC students bring to the campus and the internationalisation of our academic program.”
Professor Pettigrew said the relationship, begun in 1999 as a Collaborative Teaching Agreement, had become an Advanced Standing Arrangement in 2006. Under this arrangement, Wuxi students undertake 2.5 years of study (including English language) at WSOC, and then move to Armidale, where they transfer with Advanced Standing into an undergraduate program for their final 1.5 years of study. There are currently more than 70 Wuxi students at UNE completing their Bachelor of Business degree studies.
The Director of the Wuxi Municipal Education Bureau, Mr Lu Weidong, also speaking at the ceremony, reflected on the success of the 10-year association and commended all staff members involved for the high quality of the program.
Professor Xiaoxing Zhou, the President of WSOC, was the host for the occasion. He was accompanied by the previous President, Professor Honglu Zeng (a member of the WSOC Council), Dr Kevin Gao (the Assistant President of WSOC, who is a UNE graduate), Mr Michael McAuley (the College’s Associate Dean Academic), and Mr Mark Zhang (Vice Head of School – and also a UNE graduate).
The Head of UNE’s School of Business, Economics and Public Policy, Professor Alison Sheridan, and the UNE team leader for Wuxi, Dr Peter McClenaghan, accompanied Professor Pettigrew to Wuxi for the celebration.
Special guests at the ceremony included Mr Iain Watt, the Minister-Counsellor for Education at the Australian Embassy in Beijing, Mr Kevin Qian, Chairman of the Chiway Holding Group (of which WSOC is a subsidiary), and Dr Xiangning Yang, Vice Director of the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education, who is also a Professor at Nanjing University.
During the ceremony Professor Zhou and Professor Pettigrew joined in launching the WSOC & UNE Alumni Association, and Professor Pettigrew presented Professor Zhou with a painting of the UNE building in which Wuxi students attend most of their classes.
The image displayed here expands to show Professor Xiaoxing Zhou (left) and Professor Alan Pettigrew launching the WSOC & UNE Alumni Association.