CHANGSHA, China — MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee concluded his recent tour of China partner universities with a visit to Hunan Normal University for a lecture on the American higher education system.
McPhee’s May 25 lecture was attended by more than 200 teachers and students from Hunan, one of MTSU’s first partner institutions in China.
MTSU and Hunan are engaged in a program where Hunan students finish their final year of undergraduate work at MTSU and remain on the Murfreesboro campus for a master’s degree. McPhee also met with MTSU alumni who graduated from the Hunan partnership.
McPhee also met with HNU President Liu Xiangrong and Jiang Hongxin, the university’s vice president, for updates on the partnership between the universities.
Guanping Zheng, director of MTSU’s Confucius Institute, accompanied McPhee on the visit.
McPhee’s trip included stops at Hangzhou Normal University, Zhejiang University of Science and Technology and Guangxi University. The president also made a presentation at an international scientific conference in Yulin about MTSU’s research into ancient Chinese herbs for modern medicinal uses.
MTSU IN CHINA: McPhee helps open ethnopharmacology conference
May 16, 2016
YULIN, China — Middle Tennessee State University’s research of traditional Chinese herbal remedies in modern medicine took center stage Monday, May 16, at an international conference in China.
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee was one of the keynote speakers at the opening session of the three-day 16th International Congress on Ethnopharmacology in Yulin, which attracted more than 300 academicians from 35 countries.
MTSU biology faculty members Elliot Altman and Iris Gao, who run the university’s Tennessee Center for Botanical Medicine Research, will make presentations to the conference Tuesday and Wednesday, May 17 and 18.
“In the United States, many of our citizens are still trying to figure out the importance and the significance and the effectiveness of traditional Chinese medicine,” McPhee said.
“Part of our research, the exposure, will help get our people in the West to understand and appreciate the outcomes.”
About 800 of the 7,400-plus plants at the garden show potential in treating a variety of diseases. Researchers at the garden have been preparing extracts from these plants, yielding a library of up to 400,000 compounds that MTSU researchers can explore.
Applying traditional Chinese medicine to treat a variety of diseases is an ancient and respected tradition widely accepted in the Far East that is increasing in awareness in Western cultures.
McPhee, citing MTSU’s partnership with the Guangxi Botanical Garden of Medicinal Plants, said his university is “equal partners” in the study of samples from the world’s largest site of traditional Chinese herbal remedies.
“We want to promote the exchange of scholars and students,” he said. “We have had a number of faculty members from various Chinese universities come and spend a year studying in our labs and working with MTSU researchers.”
In 2011, the Guinness Book of World Records named the garden, located in Nanning in southern China, as the world’s largest medicinal herb garden.
The partnership between MTSU and the Guangxi Botanical Garden, which began in 2011 and was extended in 2014, plays to the strengths of both institutions. Garden researchers cultivate and prepare extracts. MTSU scientists, led by Altman and Gao, then screen the samples to determine their medicinal promise.
“This will continue to be a major strategic emphasis for MTSU,” McPhee told the conference. “And I know that my colleagues in Guangxi and Beijing will continue to work with me … to advance this incredible work.”
Prior to the conference, Guangxi Botanical Garden director Miao Jianhua asked McPhee, Altman and Andrew Oppmann, MTSU vice president for marketing and communications, to plant a tree in front of the facility’s new entrance plaza to commemorating the partnership with the university. The MTSU trio also toured the garden’s research laboratories.
— Andrew Oppmann (email@example.com)
MTSU IN CHINA: Guangxi pact nearly doubles transfer student goal
May 12, 2016
NANNING, China – Guangxi University in China will send 260 students to study at MTSU, almost doubling the goal set when the partners announced an ambitious “three-plus-two” program two years ago.
The surprise came before MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee wrapped up his fourth visit on Sunday, May 15, to the Nanning campus serving the Guangxi region, located on China’s southern border with Vietnam.
“You have been a frequent visitor to Guangxi, which demonstrates the value and importance you place on our relationship,” Guangxi University President Zhao Yanlin told McPhee in announcing the new student total.
The program allows selected Guangxi seniors to come to the Murfreesboro campus for two years to finish their undergraduate studies and earn a master’s degree.
The academic partners had set a goal of 140 students when the pact was announced two years ago.
“While we have many partnerships in China, this one will be the model that we will use in establishing new relationships around the world,” McPhee said.
MTSU’s Jennings A. Jones College of Business has played a pivotal role in the partnership with most of the Guangxi students pursuing degrees in finance and business administration.
The MTSU business faculty members will teach at Guangxi this year, including Dr. Thomas Tang, who next week will wrap up a course in human resources management he has led on the Nanning campus.
Tang, a faculty member in the Department of Marketing, joined McPhee in discussions with Guangxi officials about next steps in the partnership.
Six professors from Guangxi are expected to arrive at MTSU this fall, said Zhang Weiyu, executive vice dean of Guangxi’s International Education College.
Yanlin, who visited MTSU three years ago for a ceremony to launch the partnership, told McPhee that Guangxi was recently designated as one of China’s 14 key universities. He also said the university will have a medical school by year’s end.
“It is clear that, under your leadership, Guangxi is building a national reputation in China and, perhaps, all of Asia,” McPhee told Yanlin.
While at Guangxi, McPhee also lectured to several dozen students about the advantages of studying at an American university, including a special emphasis on MTSU.
Founded in 1928, Guangxi has an enrollment of more than 24,000 students, similar to MTSU’s. Also like MTSU, most of its students are undergraduates, and it is known for its wide variety of majors within its 30 colleges.
Guangxi’s academic disciplines include various degree programs in public management, business and commerce, culture and mass communication, agriculture, and science, as well as specialties within education, science, and engineering.
Guangxi boasts academic exchanges with more than 150 universities or research institutes in 35 countries or regions.
McPhee, who is visiting with new and continuing partner universities during his China trip, travels next to an international ethnopharmacology conference for a presentation on MTSU’s research on traditional Chinese herbs for medicinal purposes.
— Andrew Oppmann (firstname.lastname@example.org)
MTSU IN CHINA: Partnership forged with Zhejiang University of Science & Tech
May 12, 2016
HANGZHOU, China — A new agreement between Middle Tennessee State University and a Chinese science university signed May 12 allowed President Sidney A. McPhee to renew an old friendship.
The pact with Zhejiang University of Science and Technology allows MTSU to begin discussions about student exchanges, joint faculty research and degree programs to help boost international enrollment on the Murfreesboro campus.
It also allowed McPhee to catch up with ZUST President Ye Gaoxiang, who led Hangzhou Normal University in 2009 when it helped MTSU create its Confucius Institute. Ye joined ZUST in 2013.
McPhee also lectured to ZUST students interested in studying in the U.S. and Ye held a dinner at his residence for the MTSU president.
“It is my great pleasure to again partner with President Ye on what could be the beginning of a fantastic relationship between our universities,” McPhee said.
“President Ye has been on our campus many times, lectured to our students and stayed in my home. It is wonderful to be reunited with him.”
Ye honored McPhee by wearing a True Blue tie with a pattern of MTSU logos.
“My good friend, President McPhee!” Ye exclaimed when he walked into the signing ceremony.
ZUST, founded in 1980, has an enrollment of more than 16,000 students. It has 10 bachelor’s degree and four master’s degree programs, focusing primarily on sciences, engineering, economics, marketing and digital media.
Ye said Zhejiang places a priority on scientific research, boasting a variety of institutes, including automation engineering and structural engineering, which aligns well with MTSU’s programs on mechatronics and concrete industry management.
ZUST boasts an international population of about 1,000 students from more than 100 countries. Its primary international ties are with Germany, with 25 partner institutions in that country. It ranks No. 2 in China among universities with ties to Germany.
However, during a presentation to McPhee and his delegation, ZUST officials made clear that they are eager to establish ties with American institutions. Of note was MTSU’s new $147 million Science Building, which opened in October 2014.
“We know you have a great relationship with Hangzhou Normal,” said ZUST Vice President Yougu Zheng. “We hope we can establish similar ties with our university.
“I think we need to select some excellent students to come and study at MTSU.”
Ye said he hoped McPhee would give ZUST students some encouragement about studying abroad, particularly at MTSU.
“You will find our students are excellent,” Ye said. “More and more students are going to study in the United States. Please give them good suggestions.”
“Don’t worry,” McPhee said. “I will.”
McPhee’s visit to China will include stops at several partner institutions, as well as a lecture in Nanning to present MTSU’s ongoing research on the study of traditional Chinese herbs for medicinal purposes.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, McPhee met with officials from Dongcheng Educational Group in Hangzhou to discuss plans for a July trip to China by Rutherford County youngsters, teachers and administrators. It will be the third such overseas trip that McPhee and his wife, Elizabeth, will have coordinated.
“What makes these trips different is that they are not vacations,” McPhee said to Dongcheng Board Chairman Lin Zhengfan. “While we get to experience the culture, the majority of our time is spent in classrooms, so that students and teachers from both countries learn from each other.”
Lin also introduced McPhee to about 30 Chinese youngsters who will visit the Murfreesboro campus for English-language immersion training in July and August.
— Andrew Oppmann (email@example.com)
MTSU IN CHINA: McPhee, HNU president strengthen institute, exchanges
May 10, 2016
HANGZHOU, China — Middle Tennessee State University and Hangzhou Normal University, already partners in the operation of a Confucius Institute on the Murfreesboro campus, took steps Tuesday, May 10, to strengthen the relationship.
HNU President Du Wei, speaking during the annual board meeting of the joint institute, said his university would send graduate students to MTSU to work at the new Center for Chinese Music and Culture and attend master’s-level classes.
The center, which opened in March in MTSU’s Andrew Woodfin Miller Education Center with great fanfare from both universities, was made possible by a $1 million gift from Hanban, the worldwide network of the Confucius Institutes.
“These students will work for the center and, with your blessing, we will pay for them to take courses and have a unique academic experience,” Du said.
HNU will also donate more than 50 different Chinese music instruments for use and display at the center, Du said. He added that HNU faculty members will regularly visit Murfreesboro to perform in Chinese music ensembles organized by the center.
Meanwhile, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee used the board meeting to announce the establishment of four full scholarships for HNU students to study on the Murfreesboro campus.
In addition, a “true exchange program” has been established between HNU’s Alibaba Business College and MTSU’s Jennings A. Jones College of Business. In the summer, a group of MTSU students will come to HNU for the “international business” study-abroad program led by Jones College Associate Dean Kim Sokoya.
MTSU Confucius Institute Director Guanping Zheng said the new program will allow students and faculty in business and computer sciences from both institutions to travel to the different campuses.
“Our partnership continues to grow and produce further opportunities for educational and cultural enrichment,” McPhee told Du. “We treasure our friendship with Hangzhou Normal.”
The Confucius Institute, named after the ancient Chinese philosopher, is sponsored by China’s Education Ministry to promote Chinese language, history and culture through tours, exchanges and university partnerships. There are more than 440 institutes in 120 countries.
McPhee and Du signed a five-year pact in 2014 to extend operations of the Confucius Institute at MTSU. The extension of partnership means $1 million in grant funding over its 10 years.
MTSU Center for Chinese Music and Culture Director Mei Han outlined her goals, saying HNU’s gift of instruments will help her organize music ensembles that will help grow interest in Chinese music and visibility for the venture.
“We are going to use music as part of language learning,” she said. “This gift, along with the visiting professors, will help us build an audience base that will be crucial to the success of the center.”
MTSU will employ graduate assistants in history and music to help operate the center and assist in outreach to local schools and community groups, Han said.
“That is a very good idea,” Du offered.
Zheng reported that MTSU’s institute successfully negotiated with Tennessee’s Department of Education to secure credentials for the volunteer Chinese language instructors provided by the institute, allowing them to teach for school credits.
He said the institute will soon release instructional modules for primary and secondary teachers who offer Chinese cultural or language instruction.
“We have been ranked by Hanban at the very top for our educational and cultural outreach,” Zheng told the institute’s board.
McPhee’s visit to China will include stops at several partner institutions, as well as a lecture at an international conference in Nanning to present MTSU’s ongoing research on the study of traditional Chinese herbs for medicinal purposes.
Under McPhee’s presidency, MTSU’s international student enrollment has more than doubled and has about 40 exchange agreements with about 20 institutions around the world.
— Andrew Oppmann (firstname.lastname@example.org)