Over the last several years, NC State has built Asian partnerships that open a world of opportunities for students, faculty and alumni.
NC State has 44 agreements with 32 partner institutions in China and South Korea. Chancellor Randy Woodson will renew and build on some of those partnerships this month during a 10-day trip to China and South Korea. Woodson and a delegation from NC State left for Hong Kong on Saturday.
“As we build stronger connections to Asia and elsewhere, NC State students, faculty and alumni will have untold opportunities for professional, academic and personal growth,” Woodson said.
A world of ideas — and opportunity
A network of student and faculty exchange programs is bringing NC State to east Asia, and vice versa.
At Zhejiang University, the third-ranked university in China, students can participate in the 3+X program, which allows students at Zhejiang to complete accelerated graduate programs at NC State. Program graduates have gone on to graduate school and industry jobs in a range of fields in the United States and China.
Lu Liu, a Ph.D. student in fiber and polymer science, is studying at NC State as part of the 3+X program.
“I came to NC State because it’s a strong engineering school and has the tight relationship with Zhejiang University,” said Liu, who is president of the China Students and Scholars Friendship Association, which helps ease the adjustment to the United States for Chinese students.
There’s also a strong faculty connection between NC State and Zhejiang University. Researchers at the two schools jointly study tobacco biotechnology, global business and agrogenomics. Zhejiang and NC State have also exchanged faculty members, and professors at the two universities are collaborating to teach classes together online.
In Hong Kong, 33 NC State College of Textiles students have studied at Hong Kong Polytechnic University over the last four years; 36 students from Hong Kong Polytechnic have studied at NC State. Those students have studied design, development, brand and marketing. The two universities have also partnered on a global supply chain management program.
Exchange programs also bind NC State to Seoul National University (SNU) in South Korea. At SNU, NC State has established its first international joint-doctorate program in genomics and biotechnology.
Faculty in the colleges of veterinary medicine, textiles and engineering are engaged in research with SNU counterparts in a range of fields, including genomics, physics, textile engineering and fashion design.
Exchange programs give students a deeper understanding of their own fields of study. Beyond that, they expose students to new ways of seeing the world and other cultures.
A global campus
A rising profile in east Asia has given NC State access to a deep well of international student talent. Enrollment among Chinese students has nearly doubled at NC State in recent years. More than 700 current students are from China, up from 360 in 2007.
During his trip, Woodson will sign an agreement with the Beijing Royal School (BRS) that should support continued Chinese enrollment growth. BRS is creating a $50,000 scholarship program that will fund undergraduate studies at NC State for one Beijing Royal graduate each year.
Sixian Song, a freshman studying biochemistry, is a BRS graduate. Song learned about NC State from his father, who has professional contacts in Raleigh. As a high school student, he attended a lecture by Vice Provost for International Affairs Bailian Li and later toured campus. He’s found a welcoming environment and a “serious academic atmosphere.”
“During these four months here, I’ve felt busy and very fulfilled in my daily life,” he said.
NC State has invested in expanding knowledge of China on campus and across North Carolina. Students can minor in Chinese studies, and a Chinese major could eventually be available. NC State students have shown an increased interest in China; in 2011, 68 students participated in study abroad programs there, up from seven in 2007.
Alumni succeed overseas
A strong NC State alumni network exists in east Asia. During his visit to Hong Kong, Woodson will meet with Vincent Fang, a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in textile engineering at NC State in the late 1960s.
Fang has funded academic and athletic endowments at NC State. The CEO of the Toppy company, a Hong Kong-based fashion retailer, Fang was named a distinguished alumnus in 2005.
In Shanghai, two NC State graduates manage Chinese operations for North Carolina-based fabric manufacturer Glen Raven. Hua Li, general manager of Glen Raven Asia, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in textiles management at NC State, graduating in 1992. Changsheng Lu, hired by Li to be environment, health and safety manager at Glen Raven Asia, is a 1986 textiles graduate.
Lu was a freshman in 1983, when Jim Valvano led the NC State men’s basketball team to an improbable national title. The team was an inspiration to Lu.
“The courage and adamant efforts showed by the team left such an indelible impression on me that I always think of them when having difficulty,” he said.
Henry Sun, general manager of Nissei Well Print, graduated from the College of Textiles in 2005. He has worked to connect fellow Wolfpack alumni, holding events in Shanghai.
“I would never have achieved what I have without the education I received at NC State,” he said. “It opened up my eyes.”
Jim Arnold, a 1974 statistics graduate, spent more than 20 years working in business in Asia. He established the China Fellows Fund at NC State, a summer study initiative modeled on the Caldwell Fellows Program. He sees the university’s increased involvement in Asia as a key to maintaining its competitiveness.
“It is becoming very common now in China for parents to send their kids to a U.S. university,” Arnold said. “NC State should make sure it gets its fair share of these bright Chinese students as a means of deepening the talents and diversity of its student body.”