China task force report released
U-M should enhance the international curriculum, create an Institute for Advanced International Studies or the functional equivalent and open a Universitywide facility for furthering collaborations in China, the President's Task Force on China recommends in a new report.
As the University engages in a major self-study for reaccreditation in 2010 focused on internationalization, President Mary Sue Coleman last year commissioned the task force of faculty and staff leaders to make recommendations on enhancing U-M's capabilities for dealing with the rapidly growing nation. The report, which is under consideration by the president and provost, also was offered as a contribution to the reaccreditation discussion, and it is being reviewed by accreditation working groups.
"While our recommendations focus on China, we believe many are also valuable in highlighting the approaches and requirements for understanding and educating our students to participate in an increasingly globally interdependent world more generally," the report states.
Identifying as a central theme the "understanding of China-in-the-world," the report maintains that U-M is well positioned for increased engagement with China as a result of its scale, strength in interdisciplinary research, cultural of reciprocal engagement and long-standing excellence in the study of China.
The task force, chaired by Special Counsel to the President Gary Krenz, also recommends that the University:
• Enhance international visitor or scholar-in-residence programs;
• Enhance scholarship and teaching by building and maintaining strength in the study of China and developing interdisciplinary faculty clusters to bring faculty together to study contemporary issues in the Chinese context;
• Build and sustain strength in graduate study of China;
• Increase and enhance opportunities for students to study in China and internationally;
• Sustain a high level of institutional engagement with the Chinese system of higher education, China's Ministry of Education and other organizations;
• Advance efforts to engage alumni in China;
• Leverage existing strengths to improve understanding and interaction between universities, the State of Michigan, the larger society and China;
• Enhance orientation programs for U-M faculty and students traveling abroad for academic purposes;
• Expand and improve support services for international visitors and students at the University; and
• Clarify and codify policies and processes for development and approval of joint degree, certificate and credentialing programs, clarity in admissions as well as processes for establishing international agreements.
"Our students are entering a world in which international connections will be the norm," the report states. "Already they collect information, news, data, music and video from the Internet without concern for national boundaries. The goal of these initiatives is to 'take us to the next level' of engagement."