by Brittany Dekorte
Washtenaw Community College has entered the first steps to becoming sister colleges with two schools in China.
WCC’s President Rose Bellanca traveled to China in November after being invited by a group of educators who visited U of M. Two of the educators she met with were Liqiao Wang, the chairwoman of Liaoning Vocational College, and Bao Fengyu, the chairman of Guidaojiaotong Polytechnic Institute. These two visited WCC’s campus, and after their visit, extended an invitation for future collaboration and a visit to China. Bellanca accepted, and with financial sponsorship from Liaoning Vocational College, traveled to China in November.
“I spent a couple days at both colleges, I sat in on classes, gave lectures, toured their facilities, and looked at their curriculums,” Bellanca said.
President Bellanca, chairman Fengyu and chairwomen Wang signed a memorandum of understanding. This agreement is the first step in the process of becoming sister schools, which will continue in 2018.
This would be the first international sister school agreement of its kind for WCC, and would allow students to study abroad for the same tuition cost as at WCC, and allow for Chinese students to more easily and cheaply study in the U.S.
“The whole point of the trip was for me to see these colleges myself,” Bellanca said. “I think of my students as my children, and like a parent, I want to know they are safe and getting the best experience.”
There are still many details that need to be discussed between the colleges. Among the most important are potential lodging for traveling students, sending faculty and administrators to China to meet with their counterparts, and a joint curriculum discussion that will happen next November.
“We know things they don’t know, they know things we don’t know,” Bellanca said. “This is a great opportunity to share this knowledge and these experiences.”