United in education: An innovative groundbreaking between two nations

Professor Qin Zhilin, Vice President of Huaiyin Normal University, enjoys a session with Carl Schramm, CEO of the Kauffman Foundation during classes held at the Foundation.
Professor Qin Zhilin, Vice President of Huaiyin Normal University, enjoys a session with Carl Schramm, CEO of the Kauffman Foundation during classes held at the Foundation.

Part of the vision of UMKC is to have a highly diverse faculty, staff and study body – which is an ongoing commitment – and an active engagement with its city and region. Based on a recent partnership with the Jiangsu Province Department of Education (JPDE), the University’s definition of “region” has definitely expanded.

In October, UMKC and the Henry W. Bloch School of Management signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Jiangsu Education Services for International Exchanges (JESIE), a nonprofit organization under the leadership of the JPDE, which facilitates international educational exchanges for China’s education circle.

The MOU confirmed JESIE’s selection of Kansas City – UMKC specifically – as the site for its first U.S. satellite office. Signing the agreement were Leo E. Morton, Chancellor of UMKC, and Dr. Shen Jian, director general of the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education.

“UMKC is extremely pleased that the JPDE and JESIE have chosen Kansas City and our University as the site for their U.S. office,” said Morton.

JESIE also has satellite offices in the UK, Canada and Australia.

The partnership between UMKC and the JPDE is an important and timely one.

In China, education reform is underway. Hu Jintao, the Chinese president, has urged the Chinese people and members of the Communist Party to build a more prosperous society through education. One way to improve their educational system is to develop new teaching methods.

As an example of how UMKC – particularly the Bloch School’s Executive Education Center – is already executing programs reflective of its partnership with JPDE, the Bloch School is hosting 22 Chinese delegates for an intensive two-week executive educational program. In the interest of eventually taking Chinese colleges and universities from rote learning to a more liberal arts focus in education, the delegates will learn how American universities execute a liberal arts model.

The program is called the PDP program, because the delegates are presidents and deputy presidents of Jiangsu Province colleges and universities.

“The delegates from China in this program are taking coursework at the Bloch School and UMKC and then traveling to universities on the east coast including Pennsylvania University, Rutgers University, NYU and Columbia University, to learn more about the American liberal arts model, particularly how to migrate to a more innovative, entrepreneurial and transformational learning model,” said Teng-Kee Tan, Dean of the Bloch School.

Some of the courses the group took at UMKC included Anatomy of a Liberal Arts College; Promoting Entrepreneurial Spirit in the Classroom; Effectively Facilitating Case Study Discussion; The Role of Accreditation in Improving Teaching; Role of Teaching in Liberal Arts Education (with UMKC Deans Drees, Truman and Witte of the Schools of Medicine, Computing and Engineering and the Conservatory of Music and Dance, respectively); and Using Project Competition to Enhance Real World Learning Skills.

The group studied with both Bloch and UMKC faculty, as well as guest faculty including Lee Baker, Ph.D., associate vice provost and dean of academic affairs at Trinity College of Arts and Sciences at Duke University; Stanley Ikenberry, Ph.D., president emeritus of the University of Illinois; Michael Crow, Ph.D., president, Arizona State University; and James Duderstadt, president emeritus and professor of science and engineering at the University of Michigan.

In addition to being on campus, sessions were conducted at the Kauffman Foundation as well as with Bloch School Executive Education partner JE Dunn Construction at the new JE Dunn headquarters downtown.

The Henry W. Bloch School of Management develops purposeful, entrepreneurial, and innovative leaders to meet changing global demands, and advances knowledge and practice through excellent teaching, scholarship, outreach, and service. The Bloch School aspires to be Kansas City’s nationally and globally preeminent school of management focusing on entrepreneurial and innovative thinking as the foundation for transforming talent and achieving sustainable growth in for-profit, public, and nonprofit enterprises.

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