RIT Abroad: Partnering with Jiatong University
by Taylor Derrisaw | published Sep. 27th, 2015
One of the most rewarding benefits of having a globalized world is our ability to travel and connect with other cultures.
In recent decades, the number of opportunities to explore and grow outside of our cultural norms has increased exponentially as we form connections with worlds outside of our own. Have you ever wanted to see the Coliseum in Rome while earning class credits? You can do that. Have you ever wanted to see the Great Wall of China while also earning class credits? You can most certainly do that, too.
RIT has made strides in forming meaningful relationships abroad. By opening campuses in Dubai and Croatia, students have the opportunity to explore completely different cultures while also receiving crass credit. Recently, RIT has forged a bond with Jiatong University, a prominent university in Beijing, China, opening up a vast array of opportunities for students.
RIT has set very broad goals for global outreach, particularly in Southeast Asia.
“We want to partner with national universities that are consistent with who we are as a university,” said James Myers, Associate Provost of International Education and Global Programs at RIT. “Really, once that was outlined, we got a partner.”
John Tu, Associate Dean and Professor at Saunders College of Business, was largely responsible for the partnership. Tu’s timing was convenient, as Jiatong University had been searching for a university to partner with as well.
“In terms of profile and offerings, it’s very compatible with RIT,” Tu said.
Shortly after Jiatong and RIT started communicating, both universities offered a 2+2 program where students take two years at each university, as well as a 4+1 program. This allows students to obtain degrees from both universities. Tu says they’ve seen 30 students so far. Currently, the program is limited largely to business disciplines, but they are expecting to expand into other areas of study..
“We’re certainly looking to expand based on our successful collaboration so far," Tu said. “To me, this is the perfect example of a comprehensive international partnership.”
Not only does the program involve transfer of students, but also a transfer of faculty. This will help both institutions’ faculty develop new skills and gain an additional cultural perspective.
“It just has everything,” Myers said. “We have made a commitment to Asia in general, and each country will require its own approach. These are very exciting places for us."
In the Master’s program, both universities will offer a percentage of instruction. Myers notes that Chinese institutions are switching to different methods of pedagogy as they are trying to tune projects to be more case based, which falls in line with RIT’s instruction style. Although the partnership is still in its infancy, Myers and Tu express their enthusiasm and optimism for the project, hoping it will bloom into a stronger relationship abroad.
In the future, Myers and Tu both want to have students working abroad as well. The combination of both learning and working abroad will give students what Myers and Tu call “meaningful cultural experiences.” Both Myers and Tu support student involvement in the process, and encourage all students to get involved while exposing themselves to amazing cultural experiences.