Post China trip things to do and questions to address

To do and follow up for each site visited this trip:

1. Shanghai: Zizhu Park will have an AASCU office there that we can use for anything we wish to schedule. Cost per year will be $3K-$5K. We will need to sign on with AASCU when the office is open later in April if we wish to do so. I think its a good idea.

2. Hunan Polytechnical College: They plan to send visiting professors to BSU who will have time at NTC each day while here. Mark and Bob will follow up with a plan for this. We will need to bring them to BSU on our J1 visa. The program plan and costs need to be set as soon as possible. Mark will go back to deliver a short course on site, but not sure of the date/plan for that. We need to follow up with the Polytech to set that date and what the course will be.

3. Jinhua U: Carolyn Townsend will go to Jinhua in mid-May for 4-5 days. She will spend time on campus and in the city to see what we can do with them in the future for nursing programming. She will go through our office for travel arrangements to and from China and CIBT for inside China arrangements. Jinhua is interested in joint nursing program and non-credit certificate programs for their students.

4. Wuhan U: They plan to send two more visiting professors to BSU next year and 5-6 students.

5. Guanggang U: We need to sign the exchange agreement with them. They may plan to send 1-2 visiting professors to BSU next year.

6. NIT High School: Amna may attend their college fair next September to recruit.

7. Jilin Teachers College: They are interested in joint programs. We need to start with an exchange agreement and go from there.

8. Jiatong U and Haibin College: They want to set up course equivalencies for BUAD…I have their course listings to pass along to Sanjeev to see if we can establish equivalencies for them. They need to sign an exchange agreement with us. They will send 1-2 visiting professors to BSU next year. They want us to visit Haibin College next trip.

9. EXPO: We need to ship over more giveaways for the booth next time. We need to send the artist copy of our viewbook to them so that CIBT can translate it into Chinese and print it locally for the booth. We should plan a pre-Expo hosting at a local hotel next fall and provide provisional admission to students recruited to the pre-Expo event.

10. We need a one week program for Chinese university leaders to come to BSU to learn about US public and higher education.

Questions we need to answer and to do list in general:

1. Summer camp for high school students. Angie is getting the information for that.

2. Contract for Shuai.

3. Revise agent agreement for CIBT.

4. We need to look at how we can provide conditional admission on site in Beijing pre-Expo.

5. Get original viewbook file to Lisa (I think it is Lisa?) so that she can get it translated and printed in China.

6. Follow up with Bemidji Superintendent about bringing Chinese students to Bemidji High School as tuition paying students. Lisa said there it makes sense to create a pipeline, bringing Chinese high school students here for their last two years where they take AP courses and earn college credit then come into BSU after they graduate from the high school. 10-15 students a year coming here could easily be worked out.

7. Need to set up the BSU/NTC visiting professor program and get off campus housing arranged for visiting professors for both the North Star program and BSU/NTC program.

8. Need to set up a one week program for Chinese university leaders to come to BSU and learn about US public and higher education. Several universities are interested in sending professors and administrators here for that.

Last day in Beijing

Chris Brown at the BSU booth in the Expo…Beijing.

bsu booth

A bit dark, but this is the crowded isle near the booth. There were 32 aisles of universities, colleges, and high school booths…each about 100 meters long.

expo isle

Scooters on the way to the scrap heap in Beijing…I just couldn’t resist a picture of the stack doing down a major freeway.

scooter truck

Today was the last day in Beijing. The entire day was spent at the expo. Thousands of students and parents visiting University and high school booths from all over the planet. It is hard to describe the size and crowd.

The Bemidji State both looked great. We had a large banner in the background showing the campus on the lake. We had the tablecloth with the Bemidji State name and logo. The handout was one we typically give at recruiting fares but translated into Chinese. Chris Brown used a prezi from Amna to present BSU. He also had a Bluetooth speaker hooked up to some upbeat music. There were always people stopping and talking and asking for more information.

Some individuals from our partner universities also stopped by to chat. I visited several other university booths to talk with their international folks about how they are recruiting here and to basically steal some ideas. Virginia Tech works with an agency in Beijing that recruits for them. Their international team arrives here two days before the expo. They host students and parents at receptions in the local hotel. They process their initial application materials and enter them into their system at those receptions giving the student conditional admittance. Every booth I visited does something similar and uses agents or an agency in Beijing.

Toby Chu was here and spoke with me about the need for US teachers in international schools worldwide. Within their network he said they need about 200 a year. And that is just within CIBT’s network. We talked about him putting together something to distribute to the other system universities.

The Northeastern State booth was next to ours. It was fun to visit with old friends while working our booth. They are doing some interesting things now that has led to a large increase in the number of international students coming to their campus. We are going to borrow a few of those ideas.

Sunday morning I get on the plane and fly back to Washington DC for the Minnesota delegation to the middle eastern embassy events. 14 hours to Detroit and then another couple of hours to Washington.

I feel like I could sleep for a week.

Day 5: Beijing

Today began with breakfast at the hotel with Mark and Bob. We caught up on our thinking from the week and went through the plans for the day. Mark and Bob were picked up by Gary from CIBT and taken to the Forbidden City and Tianamen and the silk market.

Shuai and David picked me up and we were off to visit that NIT Education Group’s International School. http://niteducationcorp.com/ The school is a K-12 school that runs an Australian, British, and U.S. curriculum after elementary levels are completed. Parents choose which curriculum their child will move into in high school. The place is incredible. There are 3,200 students, going to 5,000. They have been in operation for 10 years. The focus is on college preparation and high achievement. The Chinese students there score in the 6.5 range on the IELTS and are admitted to top universities all over the world.

The kindergarten ratio is 5 students in a class…and each class has a Chinese teacher, a Western teacher, and an assistant teacher. The ratios after kindergarten are still in the range of 10/1 all the way through. The school has an 18 hole golf course and all students take golf. All students take art and music. All students get physical education daily. The school offers fencing if you can believe it…along with a pool, recreation center, fantastic library, and residential halls for over 90% of the students who are in residence. We talked about BSU and some of our programs…and I stressed high academic expectations we hold across all programs. I also talked with them about some distinctive features of BSU, including the setting and recreational opportunities, small town environment, attention to student success, international efforts, etc. They are interested, want promotional material, and someone to visit in September when they have their annual university fair for their students.

We then had lunch…

Then we were off to visit with Beijing Jiaotong University and the vice president from Haibin College, which is part of Jiaotong U, but 90 minutes south by bullet train, on the coast. They want to sign an exchange agreement and talk about a 2+2 in business. They plan to send 4 visiting professors to BSU next year as well. I have the initial information about course work in business and general education.

Next we went to CIBT’s office to visit with Jilin Teachers’ Institute of Engineering and Technology who was visiting from Changchun City. They wanted to talk about exchanges and joint programs. There seemed to be a match in TAD areas in particular, so that may come up at a later date. For now, we simply do the standard exchange agreement with them and then enter into further conversations. It was a good meeting; Bob and Mark were there and Chris Brown was as well. Chris is up to work the Expo this weekend along with others from Weifang, staffing the BSU booth starting tomorrow morning.

We all went to dinner afterwards and had Peking Duck.

I am back in the room, it is 1030, and I am going to bed. Tomorrow starts at 8 at the Expo.

Day 4…Wuhan to Beijing

Today is a short entry because it was more travel than anything else. We left Huanggang at 8 a.m. and drove the 90 minutes to the Wuhan airport. It was raining again, as it has every day during this trip. The road near the airport was under construction and there was a detour with a lot of traffic which slowed us down a lot. The thin margin of time to get to the airport got suddenly thinner. We arriived 30 minutes before the flight…rushed to check in…and to security. Fortunately security was not a long line so we got to the gate in time to board.

In Beijing, we checked into the Holiday Inn at 3:30 and met up with Bob and Mark. We debriefed the Hunan Polytechnic visit they made and the Wuhan and Huanggang visits we made. They had a great visit, and Hunan wishes to send several faculty members to BSU/NTC this summer or fall. We will know more as the detail are worked out via Mark and Bob with them.

We then walked to an old weapons factory that has been converted into art studios and cafes for dinner. It was interesting to go into some of the art galleries and look around. Quiet…uncrowded…not like what you would expect in Beijing because its in the middle of a highly populated section of the city. Was a nice time to continuing talking about the visits, unwind, and get something to eat.

We returned to the hotel at 8, where I caught up email, called home, and went to bed.

Tomorrow…today…is Friday. We meet for breakfast soon, then Mark and Bob will be taken to visit Tianeman area, Olympic area, and the forbidden city for a bit of sightseeing. I will be taken to visit a private high school that is very selective and interested in BSU as a place for their graduates to attend, and a college interested in sending transfer students to a good university like BSU.

We will all then meet for a large dinner gathering at 5 with representatives from Haibin University to talk about what they are interested in doing with us, CIBT leadership, and some of our folks from Weifang. Haibin U asked to meet with us after seeing information on BSU at the last Expo.

That will be our day. Tomorrow Mark and Bob fly home while I spend the day at the Beijing Expo before leaving Sunday to go to D.C. for the Minnesota delegation visiting with the Saudi Mission and middle eastern delegation to talk about higher education collaboration and opportunities.

Day 3 of trip…Wuhan to Huanggang

Good evening. It’s 10:30 PM and day three is now over.

David An and I had breakfast this morning at eight then were picked up by folks from Huanggang Normal University. They drove us the one and a half hours to their city and university.

The city is small. It is just barely over 1 million people. The roads are wide and the traffic is very reasonable. It is much more relaxed and laid-back than Wuhan or Beijing or Shanghai. The university is the only one in the city. It has a little over 20,000 students. It is a regular four-year public university. Teacher education is still their number one program.

The campus was laid out well and easy to get around. They have about 30 foreign professors working here. They also have agreements with 30 international universities.

We had a tour of campus and then a very long meeting going over the standard exchange agreement. We talked about what could happen later after exchanges began. They are interested in 2+2 and 3+ 1 programs later down the road. They are interested in coming to visit our campus this summer. They are also interested in having a delegation of faculty come spend a week learning about higher education and K-12 education in the US.

They will have some students ready to come on exchange next fall. It sounds like two or three. They may have one or two faculty members interested in coming as visiting professors as well.

They wanted the agreement signed today since they must turn it in by the end of March in order to meet the government deadline for funding for next year. The funding will provide them what they need for visiting professors and to come visit our campus.

Their vice Pres. spent three months as a visiting professor at North Carolina State so we talked quite a bit about that since I was born and raised in North Carolina. We got along very well. I am sure this place will follow up and use funding to make things happen with us as a partner.

It took all day to meet, tour, go through the agreement, revise it, have the signing ceremony and then the typical three hour dinner. We got back to our hotel around nine.

And some it was extremely productive today. This will be a very good place to work with. I think it will be a productive partnership just like we have with two or three other places here. This could be one of those few core places that produces opportunities on both ends.

I heard that Mark and Bob had a good visit at the Polytechnic today as well but I don’t know any details yet. We all fly to Beijing and get together tomorrow to go over the days and plan next steps. We will also meet our students from Weifang who will come up for the booth at the expo. I think we will also have dinner with them tomorrow evening.

Time for sleep so that is all you get tonight.

Enjoy your day.

Day 2 visit to Wuhan

Email summary of day two sent earlier:

It’s 4 AM and I can’t sleep so I will write you a quick update about day two. I sent you the information on the Zzhu Iinnovation Park in Shanghai that we visited on day one. The video was too big to get email to accept it. I have it on a jump drive however and will share it with you when back. If Bemidji could create a similar concept on a smaller scale here it would be a game changer for our local area. I will be talking with Dave Hengel about that when back.

Day two was spent traveling for the most part. Bob and Mark and I went to the airport at seven in the morning. It took over an hour by taxi to get there from the hotel. We met George from Weifang at the airport. He was taking Bob and Mark with him on the plane to Changsha.

He told us about how our students are doing, and how Chris Brown is doing. CIBT hosted a dinner for all of the American students who are living and working in Weifang or studying there. There were 15 students around the table; 12 were from Bemidji. George said that everyone loves the Bemidji State students. They work hard and are bright. He is extremely pleased with our students and would like more.
He said that Chris Brown is teaching a seminar every Thursday afternoon about Bemidji State University and what it is like to live and go to school there, and the room is full every Thursday. Everyone loves Chris.

Janine Wahl, who is over for a couple of weeks to provide supervision for our student teachers, has been taken to several different places while here. They took her to the location of a second international school they are planning to develop. George said she loves the international school and how things are working there. She also said all of our students are doing extremely well. Basically George had nothing but positive things to say about everything we are doing with them and how it is going here. He thinks we will receive increasingly more interest among students in Weifang to come to Bemidji State in the future. We are building for that future. There are plenty of opportunities for our students to come over here, and we just need to keep putting that information in front of them.

Then Mark, Bob, and George boarded the plane for Changsha and Hunan Polytechnic. I went to my gate to leave for Wuhan and meet David An. The plan was to meet in Wuhan and visit the University where we have a partnership, Jianghan U, which sent us an exchange student last fall and a visiting professor. My plane was delayed for over two hours so they switched me to a different airline and I was able to arrive on time. However, bad weather set in and David could not get out of Beijing for a long time. When he finally did they could not land in Wuhan so they were diverted to a different airport. He did not get to Wuhan until midnight.

I was picked up at the airport by Mr. Lei from Jianghan Wuhan University. I met with their international campus leadership. Han Wu was there. She was the exchange student who was at Bemidji State last fall. She graduates this spring. She loved the time at Bemidji State and is preparing and presenting information to students at Jianghan U about her experience. Amna, she said to make sure I say hi to you. She appreciates you so much. Send her a message please to let her know I did.

We visited the JU senior design student project presentations. I spent two hours viewing the senior design student major projects and talking with the students. They were very impressive and their projects seem very comparable to what our design students do. There is opportunity for those two programs to work together in some way. Their projects, of course, come out of Chinese culture and our students projects come out of U.S. culture and the influences. There are significant and subtle differences related to culture that is fascinating.

We then had dinner together and I was taken back to the hotel at nine. Meanwhile David finally got on a plane and arrived at midnight. In four hours we will meet for breakfast and then leave for a second Wuhan area university where we sign an exchange agreement, in Guanggang. It is two hours outside of the city.

I have not heard from Bob or Mark. They were being taken to Hunan Polytechnic for a tour and dinner after they arrived. Today they will be meeting on campus with a variety of people looking at Hunan’s automotive programs and curriculum and methodologies. Then they will be given a tour of the area.

The scale of everything here continues to be astounding. We left a city of 24 million to come here, which is a city of over 10 million. It is impossible to describe such. The one thing that is constant is the opportunity that is available for our students and faculty to engage in a variety of ways here. They can come work here. They can come study here. They can prepare themselves for a very different world than what those of us in my generation were prepared for.

Wuhan Jianghan University is going to work on a one-month experience for our students to come over at no cost except for airfare. We will add that to the list of opportunities for our students. Somehow we need to continue getting more of our students aware of and planning for an international experience of some kind. Any kind.

It is to their advantage. Pure and simple.

Zizhu Innovation Park in Shanghai Visit

Huanggang at night near the lake in Huanggang…new partnership near Wuhan.

huanggang

The rest of these are pictures from Shanghai.

shanghai bund 2

shanghai bund 3

shanghai bund 4

shanghai bund and river

shanghai tower

shanghai under river 1

shanghai under river 2

shanghai under river movie 1

shanghai under river movie 2

shanghai under river movie

shanhai bund 1

With Han Wu, exchange student who was at BSU in the fall and is now back in China as our advocate.

with Han Wu

We spent the day at this incredible innovation Park they are building on the southern edge of Shanghai. The park will employ 20,000 engineers, designers, researchers, and support people. No manufacturing. The entire park is about innovation, research, and development. Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Chrysler, and about 10 other huge companies have research and development facilities here or planned.

University of North Carolina, University of Wisconsin, and University of Southern California will have full academic degree undergraduate and graduate programs delivered at the park. They are building facilities just for those universities to be here and use. They will be partnered with two Chinese universities adjacent to the park to deliver the programs.

They park includes a residential area for employees that contains a 18 hole golf course, a lake and Marina, and condominium complexes built around courtyards. Lots of green space. Public transportation provided. This is an area where apartments run between $500,000 and $3 million.

Adjacent to the complex are two 30,000+ student research universities. Both are top five Chinese research universities in ranking.

AASCU has space in the innovation Park provided to them to coordinate relationships in China between American universities and their partners. The existing research universities at the park do not want anything to do with additional universities. So we had no reason to be there except to see this and talk with them about Bemidji State and our relationship with AASCU affiliated universities in China such as the partnership we have in Shaoguan. They were polite and fed us lunch.

I have seen things similar to this in China that widened my eyes, such as building a completely new university campus from the ground up before moving everyone from the old campus into the new one. That is what Bob and Mark will see tomorrow in Hunan province when they visit the automotive engineering Polytechnic University.

But this one even made my eyes pop out.

It is hard for people in the United States to understand such a thing. The future of the planet seems to be in China’s lap as they continue to invest heavily in education, research, and development.

The prime minister spoke two days ago in sort of a state of the nation speech, and one of his highest stated priorities is to move education from its current condition into a place where the focus is on innovation, creativity, inquiry and curiosity. He explicitly stated that manufacturing was no longer the future of China.

While they are investing heavily in ventures like this one we are debating gasoline taxes to fix the roads, workforce development to create skilled labor, and ways to further disinvest in higher education.

If you could put every legislator on a plane and get them over here to view this place and a few others similar to it, it may change their perspective about where to invest for the future.

Also, this is another reason that it is critical that our students spend time here.

That is my report for day one of this trip. I have a digital tour of the Park on a jump drive and will try to share it when back.

Course feedback/evaluations

Plan for implementing course evals on campus_1_20 – Attachment 5 – 1-21-15

We have asked that 4 departments pilot a course evaluation process this spring in order to then modify the attached proposal…which is in DRAFT form. It was taken to the BSUFA executive committee yesterday, where we asked them for their consideration and thinking/input into such a process.

I know this breaks tradition/historical practice at BSU. It will also be argued that this violates the IFO contract and constitutes ‘closure.’ That is not the intent of the proposal.

The intent is to insure a reasonably valid, reliable approach to gathering student input and using that input to improve courses. It does NOT mandate a specific course evaluation instrument be used by all departments. It does NOT mandate the everyone use the CPD instrument or process. It does NOT require that faculty include the results in their PDP process. It does NOT require that this be the only way to demonstrate instructional effectiveness. It is NOT intended to be punitive.

It IS based on the following, all from my perspective:

1. The president requires that I be evaluated annually by all of my direct reports. I have expanded that to include all faculty/staff and I publish the results of that evaluation for everyone to see. I believe that I am here to SERVE faculty, staff, and students and that I am accountable to everyone at BSU for my actions. I also believe that I answer to the president who must make an annual determination about me performance in this role. We review that evaluation and talk about areas of potential improvement.

2. All deans are evaluated annually by their faculty/staff. Those evaluations come to myself and the president. I meet with each dean to review those and talk about potential areas of improvement and future goals/directions. I ask that they also share the results with their faculty and talk about their future goals/directions/plans to improve. Deans serve all of the faculty and staff and students in their college.

3. Faculty serve their colleagues and students. Students have the right to provide feedback to faculty on their perception about the course they are enrolled in and faculty have an obligation to consider that feedback. Sharing the results and talking through those can provide a basis for suggestions for improvement, ideas regarding course redesign, and recognition for excellence. As with the deans, myself, and the president, we all report to someone else who has some responsibility insuring that we are progressing and contributing positively to student success.

4. The collection of student feedback/input should be done using an instrument and process that is valid and reliable…as much as possible. And it should be collected in a way that students are assured anonymity.

5. The process should be as simple and efficient as possible.

6. Feedback from students should provide the faculty member, their colleagues, and their dean additional information relevant to area one and can never be used to invoke a disciplinary procedure or punitive action in and of itself. Data from course evaluations/student ratings are one PIECE of the evidence needed to demonstrate teaching proficiency. There is an entire paragraph in appendix G of the IFO contract of additional ways to demonstrate proficiency.

7. Past experience reviewing faculty PDP/PDR reports where course evaluation processes were made irrelevant to the review process due to such things as some faculty members: submitting ‘Rate My Professor’ results as evidence of effective teaching; submitting 5-6 course evaluations from students as evidence of effective teaching out of over 120 total students taught each semester; taking student course evaluations home after giving them out in class and going through them to select what to put forward as evidence; administering course evaluations to students while staying in the classroom and collecting them as students turn them in one at the time; and providing feedback to tenured faculty based upon evidence submitted, stating it is insufficient and offering feedback/suggestions, then being told by those faculty members that ‘there is nothing you can do about that.’ Don’t take this the wrong way; but do take it as a personal perspective based upon what I believe are a few ‘brutal facts.’ The vast majority of BSU faculty do a great job assessing students and themselves. Many departments do this very well and everyone in the department is part of the process.

8. Faculty and deans openly express regularly that teaching and learning comes first at BSU…that you can’t be tenured here if you aren’t proficient in area one. I believe this further begs the question of why we don’t have a process for student evaluations/feedback that is campus wide.

9. The BSU Student Association unanimously express concern that there is no required course evaluation/student feedback process in place at BSU. They passed a resolution last spring supporting development of a process.

10. It is important for the University to have a process to evaluate the effectiveness of its courses.

Personally, I am amazed that we don’t have a campus process in place or requirement that courses be evaluated by students and that those evaluations go to the dean, who is the immediate supervisor. I have never been anywhere that doesn’t provide such a process and require it to be used. This is 2015 and we don’t require that faculty include student ratings/input into their annual or 4 year evaluation process?

As a teacher first and foremost from middle school to graduate school, I believe we have an obligation to those we serve and mentor and guide to do this.

Of course, some will disagree. Many will say they already do this and don’t need a more uniform process. Some will resist simply because they view it as administrative ‘heavy handedness.’ Some will resist because they believe it violates the IFO contract. Some will resist because its simply a change and break from traditions of the past.

Those are all expected. I have used those arguments in the past myself to resist some things…but never student feedback/course evaluations.

Regardless of the outcome, at least this will spur some much needed dialogue…I trust…and that is at least part of what higher education and academic freedom is all about…dialogue, the pursuit of new knowledge, and the generation of new ways of thinking and doing.