Marlboro College

NewsPress Release -Chinese Delegation Visits WCSU and Marlboro College

BRATTLEBORO, VT - On May 16, Marlboro College and delegates from Jiangmen City in the People's Republic of China signed an agreement to explore opportunities for faculty and student exchanges, technology training for K-12 teachers in China, e-commerce training, and joint technology projects.

The opportunity for this agreement arose from the ongoing efforts of Marlboro College to expand its Asian Studies Program and from the college's close relationship with Windham Central Supervisory Union (WCSU) and Superintendent Holden Waterman. Both the college and WCSU are developing opportunities for exchange and collaboration with China.

Two Marlboro College representatives -- Vice President for Finance and Administration Art Scott and Associate Dean of Students Carolyn Conrad -- accompanied Waterman's Vermont delegation to Jiangmen City in Guangdong Province this spring.

"The people of Jiangmen City demonstrated a single-minded commitment to improving the quality of education and economic development in their region," said Scott. "During our brief visit, we were impressed to find advanced computer labs and connected workstations throughout the primary and secondary schools."

"In its short 15-year history, Wu Yi University, which serves 600 students from the five counties surrounding Jiangmen, has established a campus and series of undergraduate and graduate degree programs that would be the envy of many long-standing U.S. colleges and universities," Scott continued. "And, because the Jiangmen region has a long history of international commerce, the community leadership is sharply attuned to the economic advantages of establishing deep technology knowledge and e-commerce potential."

To follow up on ties established during the Vermont delegation's visit to China, Jiangmen deputy mayor Dr. Li Wei and Jiangmen Science and Technology Commission deputy director Dr. Zeng Xiangang traveled to Windham County May 14-16. Their visit included tours at the Marlboro College Technology Center, Leland and Gray Union High School, and Newfane Elementary School. Marlboro College, WCSU, and the Jiangmen delegates expect to begin new collaborative programs in the 2001-2002 academic year. Meanwhile, over this past year, Marlboro's Persons School and WCSU have worked with other area educators to implement a wholly online graduate certificate program for teachers interested in using technology more effectively in the classroom. Now, Marlboro, WCSU, and Jiangmen hope to build on that partnership to establish international ties between students and teachers in both regions, using the Internet, and to offer the same certificate program to K-12 teachers in Jiangmen.

Other potential exchanges could include dance and music exchange tours for students at both the secondary and college levels, expanded Chinese language programs in Vermont taught by faculty visiting from Jiangmen, and opportunities for faculty members and graduates to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) in Jiangmen.

According to Marlboro College President Paul LeBlanc, "These are fairly standard educational exchange programs that our schools have participated in before, and we are excited by the various ways in which they can enrich the learning and cultural exchange both in Windham County and in Jiangmen. We hope that, with these exchanges as a foundation, we will be able to reach beyond the traditional to explore new opportunities for economic development and the exchange of technology expertise."

At a dinner on May 14 to honor the deputy mayor, members of the Marlboro College Women's Chorus performed and were invited by Wei to travel to China next year to perform. LeBlanc commented, "We are planning to bring the college's dance troupe to China in March of next year and would very much like to bring the chorus, as well, especially with the deputy mayor's kind invitation."

For more information, the college can be reached at (802) 257-4333 or online at http://www.marlboro.edu.

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