Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chinese official in Claremont

left to right: Maria Klawe, President, Harvey Mudd College, David Oxtoby, President, Pomona College; Madam Wu; Sheldon Schuster, President, Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences; Deborah Freund, President, Claremont Graduate University; Robert Walton, CEO, CUC.

The Claremont Colleges got a visit yesterday from a high ranking Chinese official. Madam Qidi Wu, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Education, was invited to Claremont to discuss topics of mutual interest. She met with Robert Walton, CEO of the Claremont University Consortium and several college presidents. Below are some further details about the visit, courtesy of CUC.

Madam Wu is a member of the National People’s Congress, a policy making body of high ranking officials in the PRC government. Madam Wu, former President of Tongji University, is presently a professor in the university Department of Electrical Engineering. Madam Wu has been a leader in shaping higher education in China, exploring the concepts of higher educational characteristics unique to China.

During her visit, Madam Wu and the presidents discussed topics of mutual interest, including the interest of the Chinese central government in the establishment of high quality US and other international institutions of higher education in China. Madam Wu explained that in China, a “research university” is considered higher quality than a “college” and a top rated college could be refused a presence in China. An outcome of her visit and study of US higher education is to better understanding US higher education and continue to guide educational policy in China. The concept of liberal arts is not well understood or valued in China where science and engineering continue to be emphasized. Madam Wu identified The Claremont Colleges as the level of quality of interest for further discussion of educational partnerships in China.

Madam Wu’s visit to Claremont was at the invitation of Robert Walton, CEO of CUC. A delegation of Claremont Colleges Presidents and senior leaders met with Madam Wu in 2008 during a tour of Chinese institutions of higher education. Most recently, Madam Wu hosted Mr. Walton and Mr. Yang during their September 2010 visit to China. The meeting concluded with an invitation to the Claremont Colleges presidents to visit Beijing and Shanghai to continue discussion of mutual interest.

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