The University of New England and China’s Wuxi South Ocean College (WSOC) are planning new developments in their decade-long collaborative relationship, including a new program in environmental management.
The President of WSOC, Professor Zhou Xiaoxing (pictured here), and his delegation visited UNE last week for high-level discussions aimed at furthering the relationship between the two institutions.
“Over the past two days my colleagues and I have had very successful meetings with senior members of UNE management, including the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jim Barber, and the Pro Vice Chancellor and Deans of both Faculties,” Professor Zhou said. “We agreed that we should further develop our relationship, and we have discussed other prospective collaborations.
“We agreed, particularly, to work together in developing a new program in environmental management. To maintain economic growth without environmental damage is a big challenge that China faces, and we need to increase our knowledge and talents in both environmental science and the management of the environment.”
Professor Barber said that the discussions had focused not only on signing a renewal agreement, but on identifying a number of new areas for potential collaboration. “These include our recent postgraduate developments in financial planning as well as in environmental management,” he said.
“Since 2007 our student numbers from China have been increasing, and in 2009 we had more than 160 students from Wuxi come to UNE to further their studies,” Professor Barber said. “At our meeting we spoke about how these numbers could increase still further in the years to come, and how the students’ experience at UNE and in Armidale generally could be enhanced.”
During their visit the Wuxi delegation met with the Armidale Dumaresq Mayor, Councillor Peter Ducat, and Councillors Rob Richardson and Herman Beyersdorf. “I am impressed by the management and environment of Armidale,” Professor Zhou said. “As we have a successful program between UNE and WSOC and both institution have a very close relationship with their respective local governments, I can be confident that the relationship between the two cities will be enhanced in the future.”
UNE first established a relationship with WSOC in 2000, and has a “credit transfer” agreement with the College. Under this model WSOC students enrol in a WSOC Diploma program for 2.5 years and then come to UNE for 1.5 years. The pathway involves business disciplines (particularly accounting), with UNE providing advanced standing for 12 units completed at WSOC.
“To ensure the quality and equivalence of the units for which UNE provides advanced standing, UNE provides guidance on the development of appropriate curricula, and evaluates – on a three-year cycle – every WSOC unit for which advanced standing is granted to ensure its equivalence to the relevant UNE unit,” said Professor Victor Minichiello, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of UNE’s Faculty of The Professions.
WSOC is owned by Chiway Holding Group, Professor Zhou explained. “Established in 1995, Chiway Education Group – a main member of Chiway Holding Group – is one of the most prominent private education providers in the Yangtse Delta,” he said. “By the end of 2006, Chiway Education Group had set up eight educational institutions in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Anhui, including one vocational and technological college qualified to issue diplomas approved by the Ministry of Education, three K-12 boarding schools, two middle schools, one primary school, and one international school.”
Clicking on the photograph of Professor Zhou displayed here reveals a photograph of (from left) Professor Graham Webb (Deputy Vice-Chancellor of UNE), Professor Alison Sheridan (Head of UNE’s School of Business, Economics and Public Policy), Professor Jim Barber, Professor Zhou Xiaoxing, Ms Jacklyn See (Educational Consultant with Chiway Group), Professor Victor Minichiello, and Dr Kevin Gao (Assistant President of Wuxi South Ocean College).