May 21, 2012 — University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan is taking her first international trip on behalf of U.Va, traveling to East and Southeast Asia to strengthen the University's partnerships in education and research and to further raise the profile of the University as a top-tier global research university.
President Sullivan will be supported by deans, faculty, staff and students, who will be in the region this summer teaching and working. Her four-city tour will begin in Hong Kong May 25 and wrap up May 30 in Singapore, with stops in Beijing and Shanghai in between. Twenty-five of U.Va.'s Chinese students will act as translators.
The University's Board of Visitors has made enhancing international outreach and the reputation of U.Va. a key priority. "This is a wonderful opportunity for us to raise awareness of U.Va. in Asia while connecting with alumni, parents and friends in that part of the world," Sullivan said.
During her travels, Sullivan will meet with high-level education officials from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education and the State Administration of Foreign Affairs Experts. These gatherings will allow her and members of the U.Va. delegation to learn what Chinese leaders value in their international partnerships and to learn about China's vision for global higher education.
The president will also highlight the distinctive student experience offered at U.Va., one that features the close student-teacher interaction of a liberal arts college, combining rigorous academics with training in honor, ethics, self-governance and leadership.
The president's trip will bolster existing ties between U.Va. and East and Southeast Asia that already are considerable.
Nearly 800 of U.Va.'s current students are from China, Hong Kong or Singapore. Additionally, more than 150 of the University's faculty and staff members are citizens of China, Hong Kong or Singapore, adding to the rich diversity at U.Va. Many of U.Va's graduates have gone on to high level positions in multinational law firms, banks and manufacturing companies.
U.Va. also currently has formal collaboration agreements with 19 institutions in the region. These include Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the National University of Singapore, Peking University, and six of the elite Project 985 universities in China. Project 985 is an effort to promote the development and global reputation of China's higher education system.
Earlier this month, the University's Darden School of Business held its inaugural Global Leadership Forum in Shanghai. It convened Dean Robert F. Bruner, school leadership and faculty, and students of Darden's Global MBA for Executives program. Members of Darden's Global Advisory Council and alumni also gathered for three days of classes and discussions about the current business climate in China and Asia as a whole and the leadership challenges facing executives who manage across continents and cultures.
Darden enjoys high rankings, and this month was ranked by the Financial Times as a Top Five Global Provider of executive education for the ninth year in a row.
"Both East and Southeast Asia are becoming increasingly important in the global higher education landscape and in the global economy generally, so we believe it's important for U.Va. to be visible and vigorously active there," Sullivan said of her trip.
During her four-city visit, the president will attend events and offer warm welcomes to recently admitted students and their families. Attendees, including alumni, will be able to mingle with members of the University community including McIntire School of Commerce Dean Carl P. Zeithaml. Since 2006, Bloomberg BusinessWeek has ranked the School's B.S. in Commerce Program either first or second, making it the only program in the United States to have this distinction.
Fifty McIntire students in the master's in commerce program will be visiting and studying businesses in 11 Asian cities this summer as part of their global immersion experience.
School of Continuing and Professional Studies Dean Billy K. Cannaday Jr. will also be attending several of these UVaClub events. In the last two years, the school has welcomed more than 500 professional students from China to continue their educations, attracted in part by University's proximity to Washington, D.C.
The popular a cappella group The Virginia Gentlemen will be performing in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai as part of its 60th anniversary celebration. Registration and schedule information can be found here.
Five of the University's 11 schools will be represented during the trip:
On May 27, Sullivan will attend a luncheon in Beijing to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the School of Architecture's summer program, "Architecture, Urbanism and Culture of China in Beijing and Shanghai, China." The program is offered in affiliation with Peking University (PKU). This year's student participants will be attending the luncheon along with university partners from PKU and U.Va. alumni. Attendees will also celebrate a $100,000 gift that will be used to enrich the program, which was founded in 1993 by Yunsheng Huang, an associate professor of architectural history.
Sullivan will be interviewed May 28 by sina.com, China's largest news and entertainment Web portal.
The president and deans have put forth great effort and time in planning for the trip to Asia. Days before her departure, Sullivan convened a high-level briefing, bringing together administrators and esteemed faculty who have great expertise in East and Southeast Asia. They included scholars in language, architecture, business and foreign affairs.
– by Jane Kelly