Arcadia Leaders Visit, Strengthen Links With China, Singapore

By Purnell T. Cropper | October 7, 2011

Arcadia University President Carl (Tobey) Oxholm III and Provost Steve O. Michael recently returned from a whirlwind seven-day, three-city visit to the Far East—the President’s first trip outside Pennsylvania representing the University.

The trip began with a two-day visit to Dalian Nationalities University—one of just three nationalities universities in China that includes representatives from all of China’s 56 different ethnic groups as well as a large population of international students. There, the President and Provost met with the leadership of the University, signed affiliation agreements, and worked on the development of several dual-degree graduate programs that are expected to result in more opportunities not only for Chinese students to study in Glenside, but for Arcadia faculty and students to study and teach there. Both the President and the Provost addressed more than 400 students, many of whom are interested in the joint degree programs with Arcadia. This year, two students from Dalian Nationalities University are studying at Arcadia and the President and Provost hope to increase that number significantly by next year.

Next came Jiaozhou in Shandong Province, where President Oxholm was the keynote speaker at the public unveiling of its new Association of Global Education Exchange. Three institutions were invited to this important celebration: a Korean university, and representing the United States, Arcadia University and Jackson High School in Ohio. Speaking on behalf of the U.S. Higher Education System, President Oxholm discussed the impact of globalization on higher education, the growing significance of transnational education, and the critical importance of educating students for leadership in a shrinking world. Quoting Confucius, he said, “A very wise man once said, ‘We are all the same at birth but become different by what we learn.'” When we give our students the opportunities to learn in foreign lands, we bring people closer together. That is what educators must strive to do to create leaders of a truly global workforce.” The day concluded with a three-hour dinner with the CEOs of the region’s 15 largest businesses, where U.S. education and partnerships with Arcadia were the topics.

The President and the Provost also visited Jiaozhou Number 1 High School—a top high school in China with more than 4,000 (mostly residential) students. Describing the experience, Provost Michael stated, “we met the students during their track and field tournament. You would have thought a celebrity was visiting as students rushed to greet the President and asking for his autograph. Dozens must have taken pictures with us.” Some of the students who had visited Arcadia before in 2010 and 2011 rushed to embrace the Arcadia visitors and were quick to talk about their fond memories of the University.

Finally, the two flew to Singapore, where they met with The Aventis Institute of Management (Arcadia’s partner in Singapore) to discuss AU’s MBA program. Currently, there are about 100 students in the MBA program jointly offered with the Institute. The purpose of this visit was to explore expansion of Arcadia’s current offerings to include undergraduate business degree programs. They also met with faculty and students, and with the leadership of the Singapore Arcadia Alumni Association. Opened in 2010 and starting new cohorts four times each year, the program already has 25 alumni who are both proud and passionate about their studies and relationship with Arcadia. Arcadia’s program is one of the very few U.S. business schools in what is Southeast Asia’s hottest economy and cultural melting pot.

“It was a fantastic trip,” said Provost Michael, still a bit bleary-eyed but back at his desk on Monday. “In many non-western cultures, Chinese inclusive, business transactions are influenced by personal relationships. Seasoned internationalists cultivate relationships as a foundation upon which to build business partnership. Hence, our partners in China appreciated the fact that our President chose to travel 9,000 miles from our campus to visit them within his first 60 days in office. We left with stronger relationships that I am confident will lead to our having more international students with us in Glenside and more opportunities for our US students and faculty in China – for studying, internships, and jobs.”

President Oxholm remarked that “this is my first trip to China and I am glad to begin to develop what will be long lasting relationships between me and leaders of our partner institutions. China is a great nation with rich cultures and traditions as well as tremendous emerging opportunities. Our relationship with China is strategic and comprehensive and I look forward to involving as many faculty, staff, and students in our growing relationships and networks across China.”