Innovations in Higher Education Forum
On Tuesday May 5, 2015, to commence the World Forum on China Studies, hosted by the Carter Center and the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, the Confucius Institute at Georgia State University presented “Innovations in Higher Education: Challenges and Opportunities, a conversation between the United States and China”. This pre-symposium featured Georgia State University President, Dr. Mark Becker, former Vice President of Remin Universtiy, Dr. Huilin Yang, and moderated by Associate Provost of International Initiatives and Director of the Confucius Institute at Georgia State University, Dr. Jun Liu.
Numerous distinguished guests of Georgia State University, including Deans, Professors, and other faculty, along with the notable presenters and guests of the World Forum attended the function, participating in a question and answer dialogue, as well as sharing their thoughts and ideas with colleagues during reception and dinner.
After an informative introduction by Dr. Jun Liu, Dr. Mark Becker presented multiple themes that are present in higher education and how we can use data to navigate through theses more effectively. He stated that “use of predictive analytics” could help a university do a better job of tracking their student’s progress, and indicating possible issues. He mentioned how after an implementation at Georgia State University, “graduation rates, and progress rates have improved dramatically.” Data and these tools can be used to also to guide students towards specific study abroad opportunities which they might have missed before. “Study abroad is one of the most transformative experiences a college or university student can have if they’ve never left their own country. The experience is empowering.”
Dr. Huilin Yang followed Dr. Mark Becker’s speech with his own thoughts on classic Chinese traditionalism and Confucian philosophy and how it plays a role in higher education today. He mentioned that, “it’s not surprising that internationalism and innovation have been taken as key terms for popular missions and values in higher education.” For a university to be successful, wherever they are located, they must embrace internationalism and innovation for the benefit of their students. He goes on to state that, “all of us have benefited a lot from international education… and [international education] seems to be more prevalent in recent years.” He goes on to mention how in the United States around thirty percent of the international populations in higher education are Chinese, and we should expect that to increase in the future as it has done so recently.
During the question and answer session of the forum, Dr. Jun Liu moderated eloquently, adding humor and experience to the discussion. There were dialogues on how best to help students integrate into their schools community, to become more engaged and successful. There were also discussions of how professors in the future may benefit from co-writing bilingual textbooks, and the sharing of information and knowledge across borders. During the reception and dinner, the dialogues and conversations continued, sparking ideas and follow-up questions, generating a participatory audience for the next day’s World Forum on China Studies.