Dean invites University to join Chinese summer exchange program

Sherry Tucci

The University has been invited to take part in a new summer exchange program with Peking University in Beijing.

Ray Han, professor and assistant dean of engineering at PKU, visited UT for the first time in hopes of establishing an official association with the University for the program, which is called Globex. The program is a three-week study abroad program at PKU in July, and it includes primarily engineering classes along with some classes about Chinese economy and society.

In order to form the connection between UT and PKU, Han is meeting with Richard Flores, senior associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Liberal Arts, and Gerald Speitel, associate dean for academic affairs in the Cockrell School of Engineering. If they reach an agreement to make Globex officially affiliated with UT, it will be one of 40 universities worldwide set to participate in the program.

“In a very globalized world there’s a lot of, you know, movement of people all over the world to look for jobs,” Han said. “[People are not] confined to national boundaries. I think [Flores] will be supportive.”

China and the U.S. have the two largest economies in the world, and that is an important reason for establishing a partnership with UT, Han said.

“I think it’s good for [American and Chinese students] to be meeting and talking and exchanging,” Han said. “We are just doing little baby steps to get students to start talking to each other.”

Since Han arrived at UT on Monday, he has met with students, engineering faculty and China-focused faculty in disciplines such as history and government, along with Flores and Speitel, said Susan Mays, Asian American studies lecturer. Mays will also be teaching a course on China’s economy during the Globex program in July. 

“The academic quality is high [at PKU],” Mays said. “It’s a good opportunity for American students to study abroad but to actually get to study with Chinese students.”

Flores said gaining different perspectives of the world through direct experiences is a core value of UT study abroad programs. Studying in China and engaging with the country is critical because of the many business partnerships we share, Flores said.

“There’s a lot of trade; there’s a lot of business; there’s a lot of work that we do with China,” Flores said. “It’s important that we understand [each other].”