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Queen’s signs new partnership with Chinese university

Beijing Normal University and Queen’s University geography departments develop faculty and student exchange.

  • Representatives from both universities present at the November 2018 Beijing Normal University signing ceremony in China.
    Representatives, including signatories Song Changqing, Executive Dean of Geographical Science at BNU, and Barbara Crow, Dean of Faculty of Arts and Science at Queens, at the Nov. 2018 Beijing Normal University ceremony in China.
  • Queen's representatives add the final signatures to the agreement on Jan. 10, 2019 during a ceremony at Richardson Hall.
    Queen's representatives add the final signatures to the agreement on Jan. 10, 2019 during a ceremony at Richardson Hall. (From left: Warren Mabee, Head of Geography and Planning; Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) and Interim Associate Vice-Principal (International); and Dean of Arts and Science, Barbara Crow
  • Signatories Dr. Mabee, Dr. Scott, and Dr. Crow joined by Professor of Geography and Planning Mark Rosenberg, and Director of the Queen's China Liaison Office, Zhiyao Zhang at the Jan. 10, 2019 ceremony at Richardson Hall.
    Signatories Dr. Mabee, Dr. Scott, and Dr. Crow joined by Professor of Geography and Planning Mark Rosenberg, and Director of the Queen's China Liaison Office, Zhiyao Zhang at the Jan. 10, 2019 ceremony at Richardson Hall.

Queen’s and Beijing Normal University (BNU) signed an agreement for a new joint field course, formalizing ongoing ties between the BNU Faculty of Geographical Sciences and Queen’s Department of Geography and Planning. Made official at a signing ceremony at Richardson Hall, the agreement strengthens opportunities for research collaboration, faculty collaboration, and undergraduate and graduate mobility.

“It’s been very exciting to watch the relationship between our two universities grow,” says Mark Rosenberg, the Queen’s professor of geography and planning who spearheaded this initiative. “This formal agreement will result in a growing number of benefits for Queen’s and BNU faculty and students, including chances to work and study in very dynamic research environments, and to work alongside many of the brightest young scholars from both Canada and China.”

In August 2018, Dr. Rosenberg led the two-week field course pilot, during which 15 undergraduate students and two faculty from BNU visited Queen’s to study and learn from planners and industry experts. The course’s itinerary had them visit Ottawa, Toronto, Prince Edward Country, and Niagara to develop an understanding for the varied historical and geographic development of Southeastern Ontario.

Looking ahead, Dr. Rosenberg will host more BNU students for the next iteration of the field course in summer 2019, with Queen’s undergraduate students making their first Beijing visit sometime in 2020. He expects graduate student exchange between the two schools’ geography departments will begin within that period as well.

“I have had an academic relationship with China, and particularly BNU, for many years,” says Dr. Rosenberg, who also holds the Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Development Studies. “I think it is fantastic that students and colleagues will have similar opportunities to collaborate there under this agreement, and believe it presents unique, cross-cultural opportunities to push knowledge in new and exciting directions.”

Present at the Richardson Hall signing were representatives from Queen’s University, including Barbara Crow, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science; Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) and Interim Associate Vice-Principal (International); Warren Mabee, Head, Department of Geography and Planning; Zhiyao Zhang, Director, Queen’s China Liaison Office; and Dr. Rosenberg. Representatives from Beijing Normal University signed the agreement at an earlier ceremony held at BNU in November 2018, during a visit by Dr. Crow.

“Deepening engagement with universities in China is a priority for the Faculty of Arts and Science and this agreement is an excellent example of the type of partnerships we hope to pursue in the future,” says Dr. Crow. “This signing marks a very exciting development in our relationship with Beijing Normal University, and it demonstrates the international capacity and networks of our colleagues in the Faculty of Arts and Science. This will provide wonderful opportunities for our faculty and students.”