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June 23, 2005


University of Michigan creates Joint Institute with Shanghai Jiao Tong University


China Visit 2005 website

U-M and China launch new joint programs, population survey

U-M delegation of distinguished academic and administrative leaders

Agreements for educational relationships



SHANGHAI, China—The University of Michigan (U-M) and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) signed a sweeping agreement today (June 23, 2005) to expand and institutionalize the exchange of engineering education between the two universities.

The Joint Institute creates a unique organizational linkage between a U.S. and Chinese university by providing a joint governance structure to manage and direct degree-granting programs offered by both universities to students from both nations.

The agreement to create the Joint Institute also spells out several new initiatives in engineering education, extends current programs to include all the engineering disciplines, and lays the groundwork for collaborations in many additional disciplines in the future. Included are:

Professional Practice in China, a new program for U-M students, taught on the SJTU campus, will offer the combination of technical, Chinese cultural and business components that will give U.S. students the technical as well as the non-technical background they need to work as professionals in China.

Both universities will expand the existing joint programs that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees from both institutions to students who complete a required course of study with specified residence on both campuses.

U-M will offer additional distance learning graduate degree programs.

Research collaboration involving students, research fellows and faculty will be expanded by both universities.

In 2001, the Chinese Ministry of Education approved an agreement by the U-M College of Engineering and SJTU that made U-M the first non-Chinese academic institution approved to offer graduate engineering degrees to students in China. U-M has conferred more than 50 degrees to SJTU students since that time. Since 2004, more than 30 U-M students have been hosted by SJTU while taking U-M courses taught by U-M professors at SJTU and while participating in industrial internships in Shanghai. The new agreement will formalize the degree-granting process and expand the programs to include undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as various engineering disciplines.

U-M President Mary Sue Coleman finalized the agreement during a seven-day trip to China during which she also received an honorary doctoral degree from SJTU, only the second honorary doctoral degree the 110-year-old institution has conferred in its history.

Coleman's activities included meetings with leaders of four top-ranking Chinese universities: SJTU, Peking University, Tsinghua University and Fudan University; and with Chen Zhili, State Councilor, and Zhou Ji, Minister of Education. Coleman also hosted receptions for U-M alumni and friends in Shanghai and Beijing.

"Cultural and economic globalization is our shared future," Coleman said. "Collaborations between the University of Michigan and Chinese universities open opportunities for educating U.S. college graduates who are fluent and possess the skills for performing in a global economy. And these collaborations help us create global leaders who can translate our political and economic systems to their home countries.

"International science is changing rapidly. A highly competitive global economy has emerged where innovation is critical to success. Students and faculty alike need and demand a deep understanding of international cultures," Coleman said. "As a large public research institution, the University of Michigan is a major stakeholder in all these areas. We welcome this opportunity for meaningful exchanges that deepen our engagement.

"The Joint Institute with Shanghai Jiao Tong University provides a unique opportunity for U.S. students who want to learn and work in a global economy," Coleman said. "The Joint Institute represents a major breakthrough in the China-U.S. educational exchange by creating a joint organizational structure to manage and direct an array of degree granting programs in both universities for students from both nations."

SJTU President Sheng-wu Xie said, "Universities in China are undergoing rapid development that will enable them to become leading international institutions. Through cooperation with U-M, SJTU will keep pace with should run abreast of world famous universities in the aspects of education, scientific research, faculty development and academic school administration, and improve its faculty and students' quality and ability in internationalization. This kind of cooperation will speed up SJTU's ability to progress in building ourselves into a globally famous university and advance our reputation."

The relationship between U-M engineering and SJTU began in 1997 when the two institutions formed the Far-East S.M. Wu Manufacturing Research Center, modeled after a center of the same name at U-M founded by Wu, an alumnus of SJTU and a pioneer in manufacturing science, said Jun Ni, director of S.M. Wu Manufacturing Research Center at U-M and also an alumnus of SJTU who played a major role in building this relationship between U-M and SJTU. In 1999, the two institutions ramped up their partnership with the Grand Experimentation in Global Engineering Education, a five-year pilot project which has enrolled more than 500 undergraduate students and 200 graduate students from SJTU.

During the past five years, more than 50 U-M faculty have visited SJTU and more than 20 U-M professors taught summer courses in SJTU for the SJTU-U-M joint program students. Seven U-M professors were named guest professors of SJTU. Both SJTU and U-M anticipate increased research cooperation between their faculties.

"Through intensive cooperation in the three aspects of education, faculty development and scientific research, SJTU and U-M have made an important and positive impact upon the fields of higher education in China and the U.S. Our partnership has become a model of international cooperation in education, and has laid a solid foundation for the U-M and SJTU to establish a comprehensive, all-aspect strategic partnership," said Zhongqin Lin, vice president of SJTU, who has played play a major role in establishing the SJTU-U-M joint programs.

SJTU is expected to construct a new building in Shanghai in the future to house institute programs, said Stella Pang, associate dean for graduate education in the U-M College of Engineering.

The College of Engineering has formal and informal faculty and student exchanges, and research collaborations with Tsinghua University, Peking University, Tianjin University and Fudan University, as well as with SJTU.

When the model is fully developed, U-M hopes to expand it beyond the College of Engineering to other U-M schools, such as medicine, pharmacy and business, and eventually to open it to students from other American universities, Pang said. The domestic degree would come from their home institutions, but U-M would administer the program. In addition, the institute plans to offer training to employees of American companies in Shanghai and students from other Chinese universities. Final details and approvals for the programs are still being completed, Pang said.


Contact: Nancy Connell
Phone: (734) 764-7260