President Eibeck Forms Educational Partnerships during China Trip: Visit Marks First International Trip as President
Pamela A. Eibeck recently returned from her first international trip as president of University of the Pacific after completing a 10-day visit to China to strengthen ties with Chinese universities and explore new ways Pacific can partner with the country.
From May 31 to June 9, Eibeck visited universities in Beijing and Shanghai and met with students, professors and some of China's leading higher education administrators. She also addressed China's National Academy of Education Administration, the training center for education leaders throughout the country, in a speech titled "Challenges and Trends in American Higher Education". At the NAEA, Eibeck met China's Vice Minister of Education Li Weihong, who praised Pacific's two-week program for visiting Chinese university leaders seeking to understand how U.S. universities operate.
Eibeck was accompanied by Lynn Beck, dean of Pacific's Gladys L. Benerd School of Education, and Jin Gong, dean of graduate studies and associate provost for research and collaborative programs.
Eibeck's trip comes in light of new federal programs formed to support educational partnerships with China. On May 25, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong held a signing ceremony to highlight the start of the first U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) and the "100,000 Strong" initiative. The People-to-People Exchange promotes personal engagement and cooperation between the United States and China in education, culture, science, technology, sports and other fields. With the 100,000 Strong initiative China aspires to have 100,000 American students studying in China within the next four years. Currently, about 20,000 American students study in China. Yet roughly 100,000 Chinese students are presently studying in the United States.
The trip was designed to explore ways to expand Pacific's study abroad program in China, increase the number of Pacific professors who teach in the country, and boost the University's dual degree offerings. During her visit, Eibeck signed agreements to explore dual degree programs with Chinese universities and a student exchange program involving Ph.D. and advanced pre-pharmacy students.
"I am pleased to report that University of the Pacific is poised to become an important partner for China's higher education system," Eibeck said. "The Chinese are intrigued by the Pacific model of higher education: an independent university that nurtures students and educates citizen leaders with creativity and innovation."
While in Beijing, Eibeck, Beck and Gong visited the University of Science and Technology, Capital University of Economic and Business and two divisions of the Ministry of Education: the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE) and NAEA. In Shanghai, they toured Tonji, Shanghai Finance and Fudan universities.
During the trip, Eibeck signed a memorandum of understanding with the CEAIE, an agreement that lays the foundation for future dual degree programs. She also signed a memorandum of understanding with Fudan University in Shanghai. The agreement solidifies plans between the universities to exchange Ph.D. and senior-level pre-pharmacy students.
Eibeck also met with Chinese students enrolled in a Benerd School of Education 14-month graduate program. The program's first cohort of students will graduate in August.
"These efforts in China will give us the opportunity to establish international ties, educate our students as global citizens, and share an innovative model of teaching and learning with a higher education system that serves millions," Eibeck said.
In 2009, Provost Phil Gilbertson, the University's chief academic officer, and Dean Gong visited China to expand and strengthen partnerships with Pacific's Eberhardt School of Business, School of International Studies, School of Engineering and Computer Science, and the Conservatory of Music. During that visit, Gilbertson and Gong signed an agreement with Shanghai Finance University to exchange professors and students.