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Delegation of Chinese educators visits UW-Madison

September 14, 2010 By Susannah Brooks

Leaders from Shanghai’s East China Normal University (ECNU), one of China’s top institutions of teacher training, visited UW–Madison on Sept. 14 to learn more about the School of Education and discuss possible collaborations in the future.

On Sept. 14, 2010, Julie Underwood (left), dean of the School of Education, and Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell (center), associate dean of the School of Education, meet with Dr. Yu Lizhong, president of the East China Normal University in Shanghai, China, during his visit to UW–Madison.

Photo: Bryce Richter

See more: UW-Madison and China: Strengthening Ties

ECNU President Yu Lizhong joined colleagues Ding Shuzhe, director of the university’s International Exchange Division, and Guo Weilu, director of the president’s office. The visit follows UW–Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin’s stop at ECNU during her spring trip to China. Li Li Ji, a UW–Madison professor of kinesiology who also serves as adjunct professor at ECNU, facilitated the visit after accompanying the chancellor in the spring.

The day began with breakfast at Olin House, hosted by the chancellor. School of Education Dean Julie Underwood and Associate Dean Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell then met the visitors at the newly renovated Education Building for an introduction to the school’s programs and discussion of possible collaboration opportunities. The visit also included lunch with Wisconsin Center for Education and Research staff and a UW–Madison graduate student who completed undergraduate work at ECNU.

Founded in 1951, ECNU was the first teacher training university formed after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. The university offers 67 undergraduate programs in 54 departments, with four advanced research institutes and additional emphasis on adult and distance education. It is the only university in China designated as a national training center for elite secondary school principals; more than 100,000 have gone through the six- to 12-month training program. Currently, the university has nearly 50,000 students, including 7,700 graduate students and 2,700 international students.

Although UW–Madison does not currently have a formal partnership with ECNU, leaders from both institutions are eager to pursue opportunities in the future, particularly those involving student exchange. Yu especially hopes to emphasize programs in educational policy and leadership. Because most American K-12 schools do not offer regular classes during the summer, the delegation has suggested a program running from mid-August through mid-September to give students a chance to attend focused workshops before experiencing the daily activities of an American classroom.

In addition to its similarity with ECNU in size and national standing, UW–Madison is uniquely positioned as a model for Chinese universities because of its growing relationship with China. Following the chancellor’s spring trip, a group of students and staff from UW–Madison’s Center for Academic Excellence recently returned from 10 days in Shanghai and Beijing, shortly after the university welcomed nine elite Chinese student-athletes and coaches for a semester-long stay.

ECNU has also established strategic cooperative partnerships with other world universities, including the University of Pennsylvania and New York University in the United States, Tokyo University and Kobe University in Japan, the University of Melbourne in Australia and the ENS Group in France. Academic exchanges also take place with more than 100 other institutions around the world.