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November 8, 2012

Urban affairs offers students chance to study in China

Partnership with SCUT provides new opportunities, dual degrees offered

By Kelsey Smith

In a move that has been in the works for two years, Cleveland State’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs has entered a partnership with South China University of Technology (SCUT), which will allow students to study abroad and receive degrees from both universities.

The agreement, signed Oct.9, allows students from Cleveland State to study in China as a way to expose themselves to the Chinese system of doing things and to gain experience working with peers from different parts of the world. There will also be students from SCUT studying at Cleveland State as part of the arrangement.

Talks for a partnership began two years ago when Professor Yizhong Zhu was visiting Cleveland State and presented the idea of it working with SCUT.

“She was very insistent that there was a community of interest between us and the school of public administration at SCUT, and toward the end of her stay we were getting more and more requests from Chinese universities to partner so we decided to take a trip,” said Edward Hill, dean of the College of Urban Affairs.

Members of the college travelled to China last December to look at some of the universities offering to participate in a partnership with Cleveland State. It was decided that SCUT was the most progressive and would offer the most benefits to students. A return trip was made in April to finalize the plans for the partnership.

Hill believes it is increasingly important for Cleveland State students, particularly those in urban affairs, to be exposed to the largest country and one of the largest economies in the world.

“Providing access to our students to China was looking to be increasingly important,” Hill explained. “It’s a big and important place, and Guangzhou, which is where SCUT is, was the first Chinese city to liberalize, so they have the freest market system in the country. Guangzhou is also the first Chinese city to go through economic transition, so they believe there is a lot to be learned from Northeast Ohio.”

SCUT is a full university with about 40,000 students and is the 25th ranked university in China. As a result, they report to the Ministry of Education. Though they are primarily a science and engineering school, SCUT reached out to Cleveland State because of the College of Urban Affairs’ No. 2 ranking in U.S. News and World Report.

The option to study in China through this partnership will be open to all undergraduates at Cleveland State once it is approved by the faculty senate, with the hope of beginning in the fall of 2013.

“We’ve gotten a set of courses that are equivalent to our gen-ed courses at Cleveland State approved at Guangzhou, and all of the courses that are approved are taught in English,” Hill said. “So it would be possible for a Cleveland State student to go to the Sino-North American College and get full Cleveland State credit for all of their courses.”

Also as part of the exchange, Cleveland State will be hosting study teams from Guangzhou’s municipal government and Guangdong’s provincial government as part of Cleveland State’s continuing education efforts.

“The idea is that, for the first phase, [students coming here] take the first two years at SCUT and the last two years at Cleveland Sate, and both universities give them degrees because we both accept each other’s credits,” Hill explained.

Cleveland State students travelling to China will be paying the same amount for tuition as they would if they were staying in Cleveland. Students visiting from China will be paying the out-of-state tuition fee. This money will be used to support the program and help establish faculty exchanges, which are expected to be in place by the third year of the partnership.

Photo Courtesy of en.scut.edu.cn