MTSU expands ties with Hangzhou Normal (+VIDEO)

MTSU expands ties with Hangzhou Normal (+VIDEO)

HANGZHOU, China — The presidents of Middle Tennessee State University and Hangzhou Normal University have agreed in principle to a three-point expansion of the strong relationship enjoyed by the two institutions.

During a two-day visit to the Hangzhou campus that concluded Saturday, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and HNU President Ye Gaoxiang outlined ideas to further expand faculty and student exchanges and joint research projects. (See a video from the visit at

“We deeply value our partnership with HNU, and we will gladly accept these ideas from President Ye on ways to expand it further,” McPhee said.

More than 300 students attended MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee’s lecture at Hangzhou Normal University on Saturday in China. On hand also was HNU President Ye Gaoxiang (front row, behind McPhee). (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee listens to a comment from a student during his lecture to more than 300 students at China’s Hangzhou Normal University on Saturday. Also on hand was HNU President Ye Gaoxiang, who can be seen seated on the front row near McPhee. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

More than 300 HNU students later attended a lecture by McPhee, where Ye asked him to relate his experiences in China and provide advice for those wishing to study abroad.

The Hangzhou visit was the second stop in a seven-city tour by a MTSU delegation led by McPhee to establish or extend partnerships with Chinese universities and review collaborative research efforts.

The group also includes state Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, a 1976 graduate of MTSU who now represents the 13th District in the state Senate.

MTSU and Hangzhou partnered in 2009 to open MTSU’s Confucius Institute, which works to enhance understanding of Chinese language and culture in Tennessee and create opportunities for collaboration between the two universities.

Ye asked McPhee to allow MTSU faculty to participate in a special HNU project that brings scholars each year to Hangzhou to teach classes from May to August. HNU would also like to send selected faculty members to teach at MTSU, Ye said.

Ye also invited MTSU students to participate in the China-U.S. People to People Exchange Program. Students in the government-funded program would get a full scholarship to HNU and earn credits accepted at both universities. HNU now offers more than 50 courses in English on Chinese philosophy, history and culture.

The Hangzhou Normal president asked McPhee if the two universities could collaborate on operating honors colleges, research in new energy, music education and teacher training.

The presidents agreed to have academic leaders at both institutions work through the Confucius Institute at MTSU to put Ye’s ideas into motion.

— Andrew Oppmann (