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Queen's-China links continue to grow

[Zhiyao Zhang]
Zhiyao Zhang, China Liaison Officer for Queen's, discusses his role as a bridge between Chinese students looking to study abroad and the university. University Communications

 

As Queen’s continues to advance its activities in China, Senior Communications Officer Craig Leroux  sat down with China Liaison Officer Zhiyao Zhang, who was recently on campus. Dr. Zhang recently received a Governor General’s Medallion for his work promoting Canadian education ties in China.

Craig Leroux: You have been Queen’s China Liaison Officer since 2007. What does that role entail?

Zhiyao Zhang: My job is to act as a bridge between Queen’s and China, helping our faculties build academic partnerships and research collaborations, as well as supporting recruitment initiatives and alumni relations. China is one of Queen’s priority areas internationally and so I’m also working closely with Kathy O’Brien, Associate Vice-Principal, International, to develop a China strategy that will support the comprehensive international plan that is currently in development.

CL: Queen’s has been very active in China recently, in terms of recruitment, academic programs and research. Are there any projects you would like to highlight?

ZZ: There is a lot of activity on many fronts. The Queen’s School of Business has a new Master of Finance program with Renmin University, and Queen’s recently signed a training agreement with the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources. We are also working to finalize a joint two-plus-two degree program, in environmental science and biology, with Tongji University in Shanghai. Students would do two years of their degree at Tongji and two years at Queen’s. It will be our first international two-plus-two program and we are working to finalize the details. The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science is also exploring new joint programs and other initiatives with Chinese institutions.

CL: You mentioned one of your jobs is to promote research collaborations in China. Is there growing interest at Queen’s in research on China?

I’ve been seeing more and more Queen’s faculty members interested in working in China. It provides a wonderful laboratory for any field of research, simply because of its population size and its stage of development and growth. There are many issues and questions for researchers to study and there is much interest in China in collaborations with Canadian researchers.

We have been working to help build platforms for research collaboration, such as the Sino-Canada Network for Environment and Sustainable Development, a research partnership with Tongji and involving other Chinese institutions, including Fudan University, also in Shanghai.

CL: Queen’s also offers many exchange opportunities in China. Do you see those experiences as valuable for students?

ZZ: Yes, absolutely. Even a short time abroad has an eye-opening and inspirational value for students. A good example is Queen’s Semester in Shanghai program, coordinated by the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, in partnership with Fudan. Queen’s students study at Fudan and, new this year, the program becomes a true exchange with 12 Chinese students coming to study at Queen’s.

CL: China is currently the largest source of international undergraduate students for Queen’s. Do you see Queen’s continuing to be an attractive destination for students?

Canada remains a favoured destination for parents and students and the trend of sending students overseas is not slowing, it’s growing as the number of families that can afford it also grows. I think Queen’s offers something special to Chinese students – an exceptional undergraduate education where our faculty members are very accessible to students. I think the relationships Queen’s has built with top institutions in China will continue to grow and have a positive effect on our reputation and our ability to attract top students.

This article is published in the Sept. 9 edition of the Gazette. Pick up your copy of the newspaper at one of the many locations around campus. Follow us on Twitter at @queensuGazette.