Chinese exchange scholars enrich, enjoy NSU experience

(Tahlequah, Okla.)--Endeavoring to promote diversity and cultural understanding, Northeastern State University has sought to enroll or host international students and create opportunities for resident students to study abroad.

Such efforts have brought four exchange scholars from China to the NSU campus for the fall 2012 semester.

"This is the first time we have hosted four visiting scholars at each undergraduate college," said Dr. Richard Carhart, executive director of international programs. "Each is sponsored by the deans of the respective colleges and mentored by a faculty member."

Three visitors are faculty of Weifang University in Shandong Province. They are Dr. Qing Chen, Dr. Zhia Zhou and Dr. Yong Wang, who serves as dean of Weifang's School of Foreign Languages.

Chen is hosted by Dr. Deborah Landry, dean of the College of Education; Zhou is hosted by Dr. Roger Collier, dean of the College of Business and Technology and Wang is hosted by Dr. Phillip Bridgmon, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Respective faculty mentors are Dr. Ron Cambiano, assistant professor of educational foundation leadership; Dr. Bryan Buckley, assistant professor of economics and Dr. Andrew Vassar, associate professor of humanities.

The fourth visitor, Dr. Weihong Zhu, is from Shandong University and hosted by Dr. Martin Venneman, dean of the College of Science and Health Professions. Her faculty mentor is Dr. April Adams, professor of physical science. Her brother, Dr. Weijia Zhu, is an assistant professor of physics at NSU.

"Each will be conducting research – and in the case of Wang and Chen, also teaching Chinese language – in their discipline in collaboration with their faculty mentor," Carhart said.

Chen wishes to study American culture, particularly that of the American Indian.

"NSU is very famous for its study of American Indians," she said. "I want to do academic research and I believe I can learn a lot from the scholars here."

Zhou is interested in the cultural differences in business management between the U.S. and China.

"I also want to study environmental management as well," she said. "I notice that more attention is paid to the environment (in Tahlequah) than in many places in China. In business, I believe some methods in China could be more proficient. Maybe there is something to learn from American experiences."

Wang is versed in language studies and linguistics and has translated 10 popular English-language books for Chinese readers.

"I want to study American culture and work on translation," he said. "I think it is important to come here, and while I am doing this I want to look at the possibility of translating some Chinese works into English."

Zhu's visit is the result of a direct arrangement between NSU's College of Science and Health Professions and Shandong University.

"My work is mainly focused on learning English and how to teach information technology courses in English," she said. "My university provided this opportunity to go abroad and my brother introduced me to Dr. Adams. I wanted to come to NSU."

NSU President Steve Turner welcomed the scholars to campus the end of July. He presented university lapel pins and coins to each.

"You have come to NSU at an exciting time," Turner told the scholars. "We are happy to have an exchange like this, where your institution and your government recognizes the value of you being here. We will be hospitable, respectful and we look forward to an engaging friendship."

Wang said when Shandong Province awarded the Weifang faculty scholarships to study abroad, they had to choose a university to visit.

"At the time, we knew about the friendly relationship between Weifang and NSU," he said. "We decided to try this university. Dr. Carhart is an excellent facilitator. The preparation is very careful and thoughtful."

The three Weifang faculty are staying in NSU's Courtside Apartments. The scholars have brought their children, who will attend Tahlequah Public Schools during the fall semester. Wang and Cheng are a married couple.

The visit of the exchange scholars is a direct result of the efforts of NSU and Weifang University to establish an academic and cultural association.

Four NSU students visited Weifang University in October 2011. Elaina Ross, a graduate student, spent the fall 2011 term at Weifang and is now teaching English to 12 middle-school-age Chinese students at NSU's John Vaughan Library through August 10.

Cambiano was invited to speak during Weifang University's 60th anniversary celebration last October.

"The visit of these exchange scholars is the product of work and agreement with Weifang University," Cambiano said. "We hope this is just the beginning of the mutual exchange."

Carhart said the current faculty exchange with Weifang University was reciprocal.

"Each of the NSU faculty sponsors is invited to visit China sometime next year," he said. "Funding has already been allocated in the Office of Academic Affairs. Hopefully they will be able to conduct research with the faculty there."

For more information about the exchange scholars' visit to NSU, contact the Office of International Programs at 918-444-2050. 

Published: 8/21/2012 11:41:41 AM

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