Chinese government employees study American public administration

On a campus that prides itself on the diversity of its students‚ it’s unusual to walk into a classroom to find a sea of faces representing only one ethic group.

Georgia (Aug 4, 2004) — On a campus that prides itself on the diversity of its students‚ it’s unusual to walk into a classroom to find a sea of faces representing only one ethic group. What’s even more unusual is that the faces are all Chinese. But Dr. Barbara Neuby’s PAD 7390‚ public finance class‚ is populated solely with 24 students from the city of Hangzhou in the People’s Republic of China who are at Kennesaw State to receive master’s degrees in public administration (MPA).

On campus since October 2003‚ the students‚ all government workers from departments as varied as the agriculture bureau and the justice bureau‚ are completing the traditionally two−year program in a fast−paced 11 months — and many of them have had to learn English on top of their public administration studies.

The program came about as the result of previous‚ longstanding relationships between KSU and China. Ken Jin‚ director of Continuing Education’s Center for International Training and Services‚ hails from China and has fostered relationships with his homeland that have led to the creation of 107 short−term professional training and certificate programs for Chinese business and government officials through Continuing Education. “As the Chinese economy has grown‚ there has been more demand for long−term degrees‚” said Jin.

Continuing Education couldn’t fill the need for degree programs‚ but Jin knew which department could. He contacted Chien−Pin Li‚ chair of the department of political science and international affairs‚ who also happens to be Chinese. With Li able to negotiate with Chinese officials in their own language‚ the partnership blossomed. KSU’s MPA program was selected from a number of similar programs throughout the country.

The MPA is a relatively new degree program in China and Chinese institutions can’t provide opportunities for students to earn the degree as quickly as government officials would like. To combat the shortage‚ city governments are combing the globe for partner institutions and are eager to work with universities like KSU that have already been designated top professional trainers by the Chinese government.

The Chinese students are introducing Kennesaw State professors and other students to a culture that is becoming more and more important globally. And what will they take home to their country‚ recently opened to these exchanges with the West‚ when they return in August?

“We have gotten to know city officials‚” said Rongchang Fu‚ chief of staff of Hangzhou Foreign Affairs Office. “And gained a good understanding of the U.S. political system.”




 

A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

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