Dr. Susan A. Cole returned from her recent 14-day trip to China more convinced than ever that the world's most populous country "is a very significant part of the future."
Dr. Cole -- who was accompanied on her trip by MSU faculty, administrators and several students, including Justin Vellucci, editor-in-chief of The Montclarion, the student newspaper -- firmly believes that Montclair State's already strong international presence needs to be accelerated in the Far East.
"In addition to China's being a large part of the world -- representing one-fifth of the world's population -- it is also a very significant part of the future," she said. "China is a nation that is opening up to the West. This is an important moment for us to continue our existing relationships with China and forge new ones."
Accompanying the delegation on the trip were a reporter and cameraman from New Jersey Network who filmed the group's activities. Segments were broadcast on three news programs on PBS, and NJN will produce a half-hour documentary to be aired in January.
During the delegation's visit, linkage agreements were signed with Nanjing University, one of China's premier research universities, and Shanghai Teachers University, which focuses primarily on teacher preparation.
Additionally, plans were confirmed for two major China conferences MSU will be co- sponsoring.
MSU entered into a third linkage agreement last week when representatives from East China Normal University were on campus for the formal signing. During the visit, the ECNU group also toured MSU's Center of Pedagogy and Science Hall, and visited with faculty from the departments of Linguistics, English, and Earth and Environmental Science.
Cole noted that strong MSU-China connections already exist.
"MSU currently has 44 students from China studying on our campus, a number that continues to grow because of our deepening relationships with Chinese universities," she said. "In addition, over the last five years we have developed several active research collaborations and implemented exchanges of Chinese and MSU faculty in many academic areas. We also have a number of excellent faculty at the University who were born and educated in China and who are highly knowledgeable and skilled in Chinese language and culture."
Cole said that it is the University's mission to strive for a global focus for all members of the MSU community.