University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan has wrapped up her first international trip on behalf of the University, declaring the University's "firm institutional commitment" to expanding and strengthening its partnerships in education and research in East and Southeast Asia.
Sullivan traveled to Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore between May 25 and May 30, meeting with University partners from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and high-level education officials from the Ministry of Education and the State Administration of Foreign Affairs Experts.
"These meetings and events in Asia were initial steps in what will be a sustained University effort to create and strengthen connections in this region of the world," Sullivan said on her return to Charlottesville. "I was encouraged by the energy and enthusiasm among alumni, students, parents, and current and potential academic partners during our visits. Over the next few months we will build on the momentum that resulted from this trip."
Sullivan also attended UVaClub receptions in all four cities that proved to be very popular; each was filled to capacity with students, parents, alumni and friends of the University. McIntire School of Commerce Dean Carl P. Zeithaml attended the events in Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore and School of Continuing and Professional Studies Dean Billy Cannaday attended the receptions in Beijing and Shanghai. Numerous faculty members already in the region teaching and working also attended some of the events, including Phoebe Crisman, associate professor of architecture and associate dean for research; Larry Mueller, executive director of the Darden School of Business' Center for Global Initiatives; and Yunsheng Huang, an associate professor in the School of Architecture.
At these events, Sullivan affirmed what she called the University's commitment to building on U.Va's presence in a region that is becoming increasingly important and influential in the global economy.
U.Va. has formal collaboration agreements with 19 institutions in the region, as well as robust programs that include the McIntire School's M.S. in Global Immersion Experience, which operates in 12 cities in Asia.
While in Beijing, Sullivan also attended a luncheon to celebrate the 20th anniversary of another popular program, the Architecture School's summer course, "Architecture, Urbanism and Culture of China in Beijing and Shanghai, China," offered in affiliation with Peking University. Attendees also celebrated a $100,000 gift that will be used to enrich the program, which Huang founded in 1993.
Next steps include a high-level debriefing with deans, administrators and scholars. The broad academic goals for Sullivan's trip were to enhance the teaching, learning, research and engagement capacities of the University and to position U.Va. as a leader in the landscape of global higher education.
The University's Board of Visitors has made enhancing international outreach and the reputation of U.Va. a key priority.
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.