FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Nearly a year ago, four faculty members from Hangzhou Normal University (HNU) in Hangzhou, China, arrived in Fort Wayne for a one-year mentoring program with their counterparts at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). Now they are getting ready to go back to China, with new perspectives and teaching methods to share with their colleagues and students.
At the same time, four faculty members from the Hebei Academy of Social Sciences (HBASS) have arrived at IPFW for a six-month Research Exchange Program. Brian Mylrea, IPFW’s director of international education, said the scholars will conduct research while also “… working to establish clear expectations as to how both institutions may further develop collaborative activities, which will include sending IPFW faculty to HBASS in the future.”
The following are the participants and hosts with the HBASS Research Exchange Program:
Commenting on the HNU program, Mylrea said the purpose of the first-ever initiative of its kind at IPFW “… was to prepare HNU faculty to deliver course content in English upon their return to China.”
During their first semester they observed their mentors’ classrooms, discussed methods of teaching in English, and team-taught some classes. Over the summer they continued to collaborate with their mentors and work on individual research, and this fall, some served as the primary instructor in one or two class sections under the supervision of their mentor.
Wa Zhou said her year with the Department of Educational Studies was fruitful and rewarding. “My 2012 year experience at IPFW has its far-reaching influence. The improvement of my language ability, teaching and pedagogical skills, research ability as well as my experiencing American culture will benefit my future career as a bilingual teacher and researcher in my university,” said Zhou. She also thinks Fort Wayne is an amazing and natural place and was very impressed with its scenery and friendly people.
Zhengwei Yao spent the year in the Department of Computer Science. “What impressed me most are the faculty and staff of my department (computer science). They are very nice. They give me great help.
For instance the chairman of my department, Peter Ng, attended all of my lectures in this whole semester,” Yao said. “My mentor, Professor Sedlmeyer, who has a rich experience in education, made a good plan for me last semester. That let me have the courage to complete the teaching task in this semester.”
At HNU, Nongnong Shi teaches biology courses and specializes in genetics. She found the reality of IPFW a bit different than what she expected, with more modern techniques applied in the classes as well as abundant teaching resources, including teaching assistants to help professors mentor students. She said the things that impressed her most about IPFW are the academic independence; how pretty the campus itself is, and how friendly the people are.
Part of Yi Li’s assignment while at IPFW was to develop a course about Chinese culture for international students. He said his experiences here will help him in his career because; he “wants to help my students understand and tolerate different cultures, even if these differences may not be something they like.”
“I believe that the collaborative endeavor between IPFW and HNU far exceeded the expectations of both the visiting scholars and their IPFW hosts. It is hoped that both institutions can continue the program with new IPFW department hosts and mentors in the future,” said Mylrea as he summed up the year.
For more information on international faculty exchange programs, contact Mylrea at 260-481-6034 or firstname.lastname@example.org.