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Brewton-Parker College President travels to China for education conference
Forty-three Christian institutions represented at Qingdao University
BPC Director of Marketing
| A picture of downtown Qingdao, China looking towards the Yellow Sea. Just across the Yellow Sea lies Korea and Japan. (Photo by Dr. David Smith)
Dr. David Smith, president of Brewton-Parker College, was one of over one hundred representatives from forty-three American Christian liberal arts institutions invited to attend a conference in Qingdao, China June 21-23.
The conference – “Globalization: Education, Business, Culture, and Health—An Internationalization of Higher Education Conference” – was sponsored by the Consortium for Global Education (CGE), the Global Education Group, and Qingdao University.
By attending the CGE conference, Dr. Smith believes Brewton-Parker’s strategy of opening new doors within the international community and thereby providing international students the opportunity to earn a liberal arts education grounded in the Christian faith will continue to positively serve not only Brewton-Parker but the home countries of international students who attend BPC.
“Brewton-Parker College has a tradition of being responsive to international students,” said Dr. Smith. “At present, we have a number of students from other nations studying and living on campus. These young men and women bring great opportunity to our region. Many are Christian and can become major leaders in their countries when they return there. These American-educated students can make a profound difference in the way in which the United States is viewed in the world.”
As a conference attendee, Dr. Smith was invited to present a paper on “Reconsidering the Economy of Scale: How Small Universities Can Positively Affect Higher Education’s Internalization.” The paper was delivered before representatives of the forty-three attending CGE institutions, six university presidents, prominent physicians from the Pacific Rim, representatives of the Shandong provincial government as well as the Qingdao city government. Qingdao University students and representatives also attended Dr. Smith’s presentation.
Dr. Smith’s paper was presented during a session entitled “Structure and Success of International Programs,” which was moderated by Dr. Woodie Burt, president of Hannibal-LaGrange College. Dr. Tang Yanshuo, dean of the International College at Qingdao University, also presented a paper during the session.
At the conference’s conclusion, Dr. Smith represented BPC at a college fair which was sponsored by the city of Qingdao. Approximately 5,000 students from the region surrounding the city of Qingdao attended the fair, all of whom had an interest in attending an American institution.
The city of Qingdao (pronounced “shindow”) is located in the southeastern part of Shandong Province. A short distance to the east of Qingdao – just across the Yellow Sea – lies Korea and, further east, Japan. A clean and modern looking city, Qingdao has come to play an important role in international commerce as a result of its seaside location. This role was witnessed by Dr. Smith during his short time there.
“Huge amounts of construction were taking place everywhere in the city,” said Dr. Smith. “While attending the college fair at a downtown convention center, I stood on the parking lot and counted nineteen construction cranes on one side of the facility alone.”
According to Dr. Smith, the significance of Qingdao being a hub for international commerce was not only seen in the physical improvements to the city, but also in its people.
“In the lobby and restaurants of my hotel, I counted at least twenty different languages being spoken on a daily basis,” he said.
With a current population of eight million people, Qingdao will have the opportunity to host the sailing competition when the Summer Olympic Games come to Beijing in 2008.
Qingdao University, a comprehensive university that includes the former Qingdao University, Shandong Textile Engineering Institute, Qingdao Medical College and Qingdao Teachers’ College, is also located in Shandong Province. With a student body of approximately forty thousand, the university includes twenty-five separate colleges and offers seventy-three specialties covering such subject areas as literature, history, philosophy, law, economics, management, natural sciences, engineering, medical science, and education.
As part of its willingness to allow its students the opportunity to enhance their education abroad, Qingdao University has established international exchange programs with more than forty universities and regions including the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan, Russia, Canada, and Australia.
“I find it very interesting that Qingdao University’s highest administrators, all of whom are Communist, wish to build a partnership with forty-three Christian universities in the United States,” said Dr. Smith. “They unanimously expressed that they badly needed the ethics and integrity inherent within Christian higher learning, and the spirit of problem resolution evidenced in American higher education.”