Arcadia and Jiangsu University Celebrate 10 Years of Collaboration
On June 18, members of the Arcadia University community joined in “virtually” when the School of Mathematical Science of Jiangsu University in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province, China, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the joint program of the university and Arcadia.
Through the program, students can earn bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics from both institutions, usually completing two or three years at Jiangsu, then finishing their degrees at Arcadia.
More than 200 university administrators, faculty, students, alumni, and students’ parents participated in the celebratory event, including over 50 who took part online from the U.S. and other countries. Arcadia Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Jeff Rutenbeck, Vice Provost and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Rebecca Kohn, staff from the Division of Civic and Global Engagement, faculty from the Department of Computer Science and Mathematics, and Jiangsu students currently attending Arcadia joined the meeting online. The conference was hosted by Hong Chen, professor and vice president of Jiangsu University.
President Xiaohong Yan of Jiangsu University and Provost Jeff Rutenbeck of Arcadia gave speeches representing their respective universities, and special guest Director Yixian Ru of the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education also spoke. She congratulated and praised the success of the joint program and the history of collaborations between two universities.
Yannan Niu, a 2022 graduate of the program who was recently accepted to graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley, reflected on his Arcadia experience in a congratulatory letter: “What I am also so grateful for is the care we received from the lovely professors at Arcadia. …It was their warmth and friendliness that brought us closer to the American students and allowed us to integrate into the family naturally.”
Several awards were announced at the event:
- Outstanding Contribution Award–Dianchen Lu, a professor at Jiangsu University, and Dr. Xizhong Zheng, Ph.D., professor of Computer Science and Mathematics at Arcadia
- Outstanding Teaching Team–to the team led by Houqing Fang, a professor at Jiangsu University
- 2022 Student Pine-Knight Award–gold: Yannan Niu; silver: Long Ling; bronze: Lindong Liu
The celebration also featured two invited presentations. Tao Tang, a professor and president of the United International College of Beijing Normal University and Hong Kong Baptist University, gave a talk titled, “Fusion of Chinese and Western: Through the Present and the Past–New Type of Internationalization Education of UIC.” Jinhui Lin, a professor and director of the Research Center of Sino-Foreign Joint Programs at Jiamen University, gave a talk about “The Development Situation and Policy Trends of Sino-foreign Joint Programs.”
A significant impact
The collaborative program traces its beginnings to spring 2011, when Dr. Zheng suggested to his department that it develop a proposal to take advantage of a new program between Chinese and American universities.
Professor Emeritus Dr. Louis Friedler, who was then department chair and professor of Mathematics, worked with Dr. Zheng and others, including associate dean Jan Finn of the Office of International Affairs (now the Division of Civic and Global Engagement), to develop a proposal that Dr. Friedler presented to the Undergraduate Academic Program Committee/Academics Committee and then to the full faculty. The faculty then approved the core-to-core and the program-to-program contract with Jiangsu University.
The program started with a single Jiangsu student coming to Arcadia in 2013 and grew to 29 students coming in 2019. Despite the stress that international programs have suffered during the pandemic, as well as a difficult international situation, the program was renewed by the Chinese Education Minister in 2022. The Arcadia program was one of the few international programs in China to be renewed this year.
Jiangsu students have had a significant impact on the Arcadia community, especially in the Actuarial Science program. They have created clubs, worked to strengthen cultural awareness, and infused cultural perspectives into our students, faculty, and staff.
Graduates of the Jiangsu program are regularly accepted to top schools for master’s work. In 2021, 16 students graduated and 15 applied to graduate school. All were accepted to top schools in the U.S. and abroad including Columbia University; Johns Hopkins University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Pennsylvania; and Brown University. The program has a particularly strong admission record with Columbia University (ranked No. 1 for the best master’s in Actuarial Science in North America and Asia).
About 80 former and current students of the Jiangsu program are living and working all over the world.