Jan. 29, 2014

Schulich professors join delegation to promote articulation partnerships with Chinese universities

International Strategy gains momentum with signing of new agreements

The world is becoming a global village and the University of Calgary is at the forefront, becoming a world-renowned intellectual hub and preparing students to “think globally and act locally.” Over the course of five days in January, a delegation from the University of Calgary visited 20 universities in six cities in China: Shanghai, Xi’an, Wuhan, Harbin, Beijing and Tianjin. The group consisted of Janaka Ruwanpura, vice-provost (international), Ken Barker, dean of the Faculty of Science, and professors John Chen, Andrew Tay and Anil Mehrotra from the Schulich School of Engineering. China is one of six regions of focus identified in the University of Calgary’s International Strategy.

“This was a very successful visit and we’re very pleased with the responses from the Chinese universities,” says Ruwanpura. “The programs we are proposing in engineering and science will certainly help us move towards many of the international targets and goals identified in our International Strategy.”

The International Strategy was launched in March 2013 with the goal to increase diversity on campus by building a student population consisting of 10 per cent international students at the undergraduate level and 25 per cent international students at the graduate level. One of the four strategic goals of the international strategy is to enhance opportunities for international collaborations and partnerships in research and education.

These new partnerships will enable students to earn engineering and science degrees by completing part of their studies in China and the rest at the University of Calgary. Adding an international component to their degrees benefits students because it increases their chances of working internationally and they take their Canadian educational experience back to their home countries. The Schulich School of Engineering and the Faculty of Science are presently working on the details of these programs.

The articulation agreements that have been signed in principle will enable the University of Calgary to offer science and engineering degrees in collaboration with Xi’an Jiaotong University as well as the China University of Petroleum in Beijing and Qingdao. The agreements of the China University of Petroleum in Beijing and Qingdao were signed at the Office of the Embassy of Canada in Beijing, facilitated by the Alberta China Office. Ruwanpura expects to explore signing articulation agreements with additional Chinese universities that were visited.

"In addition to partnership programs in chemical and petroleum engineering, civil engineering, and energy and environmental engineering," said Anil Mehotra, professor and director of the Centre for Environmental Engineering Research and Education, "many of the Chinese universities also expressed interest in partnering in other programs offered by the Schulich School of Engineering, including electrical engineering, software engineering, geomatics engineering, and mechanical engineering."

The other five regions of focus under the International Strategy are Germany, Mexico, the Middle East, Tanzania and the United States. The Province of Alberta and the Government of Canada have also unveiled initiatives of their own aimed at increasing the number of foreign students.