International College Beijing – Moving Forward Together
CU Denver/CAU Celebrate Graduation & 23-Year Partnership
“I would like to honor the remarkable foresight of our partners at China Agricultural University, who had the vision to create the International College Beijing in partnership with the University of Colorado Denver in 1994 – 23 years ago,” said CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell at the June 27th ICB commencement ceremonies in Beijing, China. Each smiling student who walked the graduation stage to receive his or her diploma represented another good reason to celebrate this unique partnership, the first and only agreement of its kind in China. It was a powerful demonstration of the success of respectful cooperation and collaboration between two distinguished educational institutions.
The event celebrated the significance of the students’ achievements as well as the support of their parents and family members. Graduates of the ICB program joined more than 1,000 alumni as the next generation of global citizens: innovators, communicators, policy makers, leaders, and valuable members of society. Through the International College Beijing program, students earn a University of Colorado Denver undergraduate degree in communication or economics in either Beijing or Denver.
“China is dynamic and is definitely emerging in the arena of global communication and economic development,” explained Dean Pamela Jansma, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Both institutions are committed to the growth of ICB. A dedicated CU Denver faculty group teaches in China; many spend 50% of their time in Beijing and really get to know the students, the culture and the people.”
One hundred twenty-three students graduated from ICB this year. Approximately half walked the graduation stage in Denver and half in Beijing; some enjoyed walking on both stages.
“More than 100 ICB students will be coming to CU Denver in the Fall of 2017,” explained John Sunnygard, Executive Director, Office of International Affairs. “The program has a very strong reputation in China. It is a rigorous liberal arts undergraduate program that prepares students for success in top graduate programs.” ICB students have an average GPA of 3.5; they continue on into graduate studies at institutions such as Boston University, George Washington University, Lehigh University, London School of Economics, Rutgers University, and the University of Colorado Denver.
Learning an American liberal arts curriculum in China or in the U.S. empowers ICB students to hone their critical thinking and communication skills and prepare for entering a global economy. CU Denver and CAU work effectively together in recognizing future trends and in designing programs accordingly. An example is the five-year bachelor’s to master’s degree in Economics that was recently developed and made available to ICB students in both cities. For this program, students attend CU Denver in their fifth year.
Dean Jasma and Executive Director Sunnygard have attended several ICB commencements and spoken to many students and parents. They are keenly aware of evolving academic and career interests.
“In the Communication program, there is more interest in media studies, digital technology, and public relations/advertising,” said Dean Jansma. “With the electives offered at ICB, students can learn more about societal issues at large. The Economics program continues to provide sound principles which apply to any business.”
What does the future hold for ICB students and alumni? The Office of International Affairs and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are working on increasing connections between alumni and students, creating more academic opportunities through additional major and minor tracks, and sending more American students to Beijing through study abroad programs.
“We look forward to the 25th anniversary of International College Beijing in two years and to many more years of this exemplary partnership,” said Executive Director Sunnygard.
As Chancellor Horrell summed it up during her commencement speech in Beijing,
”Now that you are graduating, we wish to welcome you to the permanent University of Colorado Denver family. You will always have a home in Colorado.”