Global Partnership Model = Chinese Student Success
Innovation Leads to Success for CU Denver & Northeast Forestry University
Strategic expansion is a key component as well as indicator of a strong professional partnership. Six years and more than forty students after signing their memorandum of understanding, the University of Colorado Denver and Northeast Forestry University are not only celebrating their collaborative 3 + 1 + 1 academic program, but also moving forward on plans that will broaden and deepen the academic offerings.
On January 23rd and 24th, CU Denver was honored to welcome Dr. Bin Li, President and Deputy Party Secretary, Northeast Forestry University (NEFU), and several other distinguished leaders. The visiting group included Dr. Sun Hongzhi, Director of the International Cooperation Office, Dr. Cheng Peifeng, Dean and Professor, College of Civil Engineering, and Dr. Sun Long, Deputy Dean and Professor, School of Forestry.
“There is value in meeting face-to-face to directly to discuss program developments and student success,” explained Dr. Sun Hongzhi. “It also creates better understandings between cultures.”
In the current 3 + 1 + 1 model, students study at NEFU during their first three academic years. Their fourth year of undergraduate studies takes place on the CU Denver campus, where they take design courses in the Department of Civil Engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Upon completion of their undergraduate degree, they continue on into a fifth year to earn a master’s degree at the University of Colorado Denver. Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Chengyu Li was instrumental in helping to develop connections between NEFU and his school.
The partnership has now expanded with the addition of another 3 + 1 + 1 program that creates course collaborations linking CU Denver’s Business School and NEFU’s College of Economics and Management.
During their visit, the guests met with Dean Pam Jansma and faculty members of three departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS)– Geology, Biology, and Geography and Environmental Sciences. Their focus was on developing a 3 + 1 +1 program in ecology and environmental studies.
Discussions also took place with the Office of International Affairs and CLAS to introduce Maymester study abroad programs in environmental science, chemistry, and biology. NEFU has exceptional research facilities as well as new international student accommodations. China is the #1 destination for CU Denver study abroad programs.
Jun Wang, a NEFU student who is earning her doctoral degree in civil engineering on the CU Denver campus, commented about the educational partnership program and how it benefits students. “It broadens our views and develops multi-dimensional thinking, which is priceless for our daily lives and study.”
She has been impressed with the friendliness of the people in Denver, and the helpful attitude of the CU Denver instructors. “One of my class lecturers even drove us miles away to visit a factory related to our studies,” she said. Jun is also taking advantage of employment opportunities as a student assistant for International Student and Scholar Services.
The Office of International Affairs (OIA) hosted a welcome luncheon for the NEFU leaders and students. Two of the student attendees, Yongchen Ji and Wei Ji, have had a busy year at CU Denver. Yongchen is earning a PhD in engineering and is also a teaching assistant. Wei is earning a master’s in engineering – and the happy couple now has a new baby. Baby pictures were enjoyed and exchanged with a member of the OIA team, whose child was the same age.
Approximately one-third of the NEFU students choose to attend CU Denver’s ESL Academy. Jingzheng Li is taking undergraduate classes in computer science and said the ESL Academy helped her to refine her English language skills and to excel in the classroom.
John Sunnygard, Executive Director, Office of International Affairs, expressed appreciation to Dr. Li and his associates. “Northeast Forestry University continues to be a dynamic partner with the University of Colorado Denver.”
He explained that global partnerships address CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell’s priorities for student success; the University is committed to being a welcoming environment for international students and to provide a nurturing culture that encourages them to develop their talents.
“We are excited to deepen our relationship with NEFU to include opportunities for research collaboration. It opens the door for more CU Denver students to study in one of China’s most unique and welcoming cities,” said Sunnygard.