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Memorandum Signing Ceremony

By Jing Huang, Staff Writer
On October 5, 2012

On Thursday, Sept. 30 the Lanzhou Education Bureau in China visited Muskingum University as part of a Memorandum Signing Ceremony with Muskingum University.

The goals of the memorandum, provided by Professor of Art Yan Sun, are To pursue possibilities to: Promote friendship, understanding, exchange, and cooperation between two dynamic and growing organizations; work together to better prepare Chinese educators of Lanzhou in leadership, administration, global vision, diversity, instruction, and professional development; and share, as appropriate, educational resources so as to accomplish the above goals.

At the Memorandum Signing Ceremony, Muskingum University President Anne Steele and General Director of the Lanzhou Education Bureau Yongzhong He signed the memorandum as a formal means of solidifying the partnership between Muskingum University and Lanzhous educational system in China.

He explained the purpose of their bureau and what their responsibilities are as representatives of the Lanzhou Education Bureau.

The Lanzhou Education Bureau is an affiliated unit of the Lanzhou Government that manages most of Lanzhous educational systems from elementary schools to colleges, said He. Its basically an epitome of the Chinese educational management system. What I do is to manage Lanzhous schools. It maybe sounds incredible here, but I take care of around 1300 schools, including 50,000 teachers and 900,000 students in Lanzhou. Its really a huge education system. I feel its important for us to engage in international education conversations more to get a better future.

He also commented on the significance of the bureaus visit to Muskingum, specifically.

The main purpose of visiting Muskingum University is to develop a cooperative relationship between Muskingum and Lanzhou Education Bureau, and to build a comprehensive conversation between us, said He. Also, I wish to build up an instructor-exchange-system. Part of this systems function is to train some of Lanzhous teachers to improve their professionalism in the education management field. I also want Lanzhous teachers to have a chance to see Muskingum as an educational resource.

Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Janet Heeter-Bass also commented on the bureaus visit.

As our students prepare to work in an increasing global society, I think it is very significant that Muskingum University is developing partnerships with high schools, universities and now the Education Bureau of Lanzhou in China, said Heeter-Bass. These partnerships will allow for more Chinese students to study at Muskingum and more American students to study in China. It greatly enhances our student population on campus and provides our faculty and students with significant opportunities abroad.

He noted that he chose to work with Muskingum partly because of Sun suggested he do so, but also because of the opportunities that Muskingum specifically has to offer to its students.

I think Muskingum encourages students to be well rounded, said He. I saw how students have a variety of choices to take classes from different areas from humanity to science. I also noticed that Muskingum pays attention to students creative thinking. I saw how students join different clubs and students organizations. I mean, they get to do what they really enjoy. Muskingum has really supportive policies and programs for its students, which can make students healthy and independent. Its a place where students dreams can come true. For me, its just worth it to interact with Muskingum University.

Heeter-Bass said that the partnership between the Education Bureau of Lanzhou and Muskingum is not only to the bureaus benefit.

Muskingum students can benefit by taking advantage of learning from each other on campus, especially those from different countries, said Heeter-Bass. In addition, they have unique opportunities to study or work in China, which would greatly enhance their education and offer a life-changing experience. We were pleased and delighted to host special guests from Lanzhou in September, where they were able to see our campus and talk to our current students and we hope that they were able to learn from our students as well as our students learning from them.

One of the bureaus members, Basic Education Director of Lanzhou Education Bureau Xiaochun Zhang, has a daughter attending Muskingum University and was happy to support her decision to attend university at Muskingum for a couple reasons.

The first reason is because my daughter is that kind of adventurous girl, said Zhang. She wanted to see the outside world herself, and widen her vision. The second reason is that I knew about the organization of Chinese colleges personally and I dont appreciate some aspects of Chinese colleges. So, I decided studying abroad might be a good option for her. Then, I got some information from Professor Sun about Muskingum. Ultimately, I decided to support her to experience American education.

He expanded further on why the Lanzhou Education Bureau and Chinese parents should support Chinese students decisions to study at Muskingum University.

Its worth it to send Lanzhou kids here to study, said He. Chinese kids have a good knowledge basis; however, they kind of lack the capability to put their knowledge into practice. Their ability of critical thinking is relatively poor, and they are more dependent than American students. Sending Lanzhou kids here makes it possible for them to get an all-around education, which is priceless. Lanzhou kids can get more education resources here. They can get a different educational experience, and they also can gain an international perspective here, which is so important in this century.

The bureau only spent a short period of time at Muskingum University, but did not visit any other college campuses during their time in the United States.

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