On the steps of Memorial Hall, the administrative team from Xiamen University poses for a photo with UD Deputy Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Confucius Institute Director Jianguo Chen and his staff.

Xiamen University visitors

Chinese administrators visit UD to learn about US university management

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10:10 a.m., Aug. 29, 2013--Thirty-seven administrators from Xiamen University visited the University of Delaware during the past four weeks to gain a deeper understanding of the structure and management of an American university.

During the visit, which was organized by the Confucius Institute at UD with support from the Office of the Provost, senior administrators from across the Newark campus presented talks to their Xiamen counterparts on numerous topics, from budget management to student counseling.

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The Xiamen contingent also received three hours of intensive English language instruction daily at UD’s English Language Institute (ELI). They lived with local families during their stay and went on cultural excursions to New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., on weekends.

UD and Xiamen University are partners in the Confucius Institute, which promotes Chinese language and cultural programs as a primary mission. 

According to Confucius Institute Director Jianguo Chen, one of the institute’s goals is to facilitate exchange programs between UD and its partner institutions in China, fostering scholarly and institutional cooperation on global initiatives. 

“This summer’s program really blossomed in size,” Chen said. “After the first year of the program last year, President Zhu Zhongshi of Xiamen University carefully read the reports prepared by each and every Xiamen participant and personally endorsed the expansion of the administrator training from 19 participants last year to 37 this year.”

“We are delighted to be able to contribute to Xiamen University’s efforts to globalize its campus,” Chen continued.

The Xiamen administrators gave this summer’s program high marks for excellence. Read what they had to say in the Q&A that follows.

Q. What were your impressions of the U.S. and UD?

A. “My impression of America is that this is a beautiful country. There is a lot of greenery around. The environment is clean. The UD campus is very pretty. I like its landscape. Newark is a cute city. It’s an enjoyable experience to stroll on Main Street.” — Lin Lan, director, Instructional Efficiency Office, Xiamen’s Tan Kah Kee College

A. “I am very impressed by the climate of multi-culturalism both at the University and in the city. It’s amazing that there are so many ethnic restaurants on Main Street. I tried many of them during my stay at UD and wish that I could have time to try all of them. I am also impressed by the scope of internationalization on campus. You see a lot of international students around, and they all seem to look happy.” — Deng Kunyi, senior administrative officer, Xiamen’s College of Humanities

Q. What did you find most surprising?

A. “What surprises me most is that there is no high-rise [on UD’s Central Campus]. It’s a pleasure to see beautiful, classic and elegant-looking teaching buildings at UD after seeing so many high-rises in Xiamen and in other parts of China. UD has obviously paid a lot of serious attention to beautify its campus, which is aesthetically very attractive.” — Shi Huixia, deputy director, Xiamen’s Office for Alumni Relations

Q. What were the most important things you learned during your visit to UD that will help you in your job at Xiamen University? 

A. “For me, the most important things I learned here are the dedication, commitment and efficiency UD administrators and faculty have displayed towards their work. One thing shared by all the high-profile speakers UD has provided for our training program was the serious attention they paid to their talks. One can easily tell that they spent a lot of time, carefully preparing the data, information and genuinely sharing their insights and experience about how to effectively run an institution as comprehensive as UD. Also, one of the most important things for me is that with assistance from Professor Jianguo Chen, I met with the deputy dean and associate dean of UD’s Lerner College of Business and discussed with them possibilities of exchanges between my college and UD.” — Tang Maosha, senior administrative officer, Xiamen’s College of Economics

A. “This training program has provided me good opportunities to meet with my UD counterparts. In addition to meetings with UD central administrators, I also met with Tracey Bryant, director of research, graduate and global communication, and Mary Martin, assistant provost of UD’s Office of Graduate and Professional Education. I have learned a lot from them with regards to UD’s graduate admission, scholarship structure, proactive relationship between faculty, graduate students and Office of Graduate Studies, as well as effective management of communications for research and global affairs.” — Peng Huan, administrative officer in charge of graduate communication and admission, Xiamen’s Tan Kah Kee College

A. “What impresses me most is the effective teaching methods adopted by ELI. The English teachers’ dedication and enthusiasm are very impressive. They are very professional and well-trained. I wish our teachers back at home can be just as dedicated and enthusiastic. With their assistance, I have made a lot of progress in my English. I am also impressed by the professionalism, expertise, efficiency, enthusiasm, and dedication the Confucius Institute has displaced in conducting this successful training program.” — Zhang Zhenhong, senior administrative officer, Xiamen’s College of Energies

Q. How beneficial was this trip to you and your colleagues?

A. “This trip is very beneficial. I have come to realize the complexity and diversity of the American society. One more thing -- I am very impressed by the extra attention the campus community and beyond have paid to caring for the disabled. Details such as special passage leading to entrance, special devices in a bus, specially designed restrooms have been taken to ensure the integration of the disabled into society. We need to do the same in China.” — Liao Zhidan, senior administrator, Xiamen’s College of Marine Studies

A. “One of the benefits of this training program is the home stay. The four-week home stay with local American families has provided a rare opportunity for us to get to know ordinary American people and dialogue with them about how they feel about society and about their daily life. We have made friends with them. That is very important. I thank the Confucius Institute and Office of the Provost for having organized this meaningful program for us. It is not only beneficial for us, but beneficial for exchanges between the peoples in China and America.” — Song Yi, director, 2013 Xiamen University Administrator Training Program, and deputy director, Xiamen University’s Union

Photo by Don Shenkle

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