Students from UIC, a new liberal arts college in Zhuhai, China, pose for a photo while visiting campus July 4-8.

Gustavus' Patrick Quade gives instruction to UIC students from China who visited campus in July.

Friday, July 6, 2007 (5 days ago)

Chinese students are traveling to Gustavus Adolphus College and five other Minnesota private colleges this summer to learn about college liberal arts education in the United States. Twenty five students from the United International College (UIC), a new liberal arts college located in Zhuhai, China, are in Minnesota for a month-long study of American culture and its private, higher education, liberal arts system, specifically in Minnesota.

Gustavus took a leadership role in this Minnesota Private College Council's (MPCC) China Project initiative with UIC. This unique opportunity serves to advance the capacity and readiness of both countries to embrace the global society for students and faculty.

UIC opened in fall 2005 and currently has 1,200 students and 11 majors. The eventual target enrollment is 4,000-4,500 students with half of the enrollment spots filled by students from abroad. The expectation is that UIC graduates will be bi-lingual and combine professional competency with broad cultural literacy. China has had great success in graduating specialists in science and math, but it hasn't cultivated the skills that produce leaders.

"UIC intends to graduate men and women who are capable of leadership by means of mission and strategy. Its education features critical thinking and deliberative conversation, and supposes that an open mind, helps liberate imagination and ingenuity. This mission is a significant departure from traditional Main Land China higher education institutions but is remarkably similar to the mission of Gustavus Adolphus," said Patrick Quade, interim director of international education.

A partnership agreement between MPCC and UIC was signed earlier this year. The partnership will foster staff, faculty, and student exchanges between UIC and interested members of the Minnesota Private College Council. The agreement is the first UIC has reached with an American college or group of colleges. UIC itself is the product of a partnership between Beijing Normal and Hong Kong Baptist Universities. It is the first fully sanctioned liberal arts college to be created in China since the early 20th century.

The 25 UIC students will earn academic credit by writing about the role of Minnesota's private liberal arts colleges in preparing immigrant and native populations for life in a free society. The UIC students will take a 6-hour mini-course with Professor Phil Voigt of the department of communication studies during their time on the Gustavus campus.

The hosting institutions include Augsburg College, Bethany Lutheran College, Concordia College, Gustavus Adolphus College, Hamline University and the College of St. Scholastica. To help prepare for student visits, Dr. Edmund Kwok, executive vice president of UIC, visited each campus during a 10-day trip May 17-27.

Gustavus Adolphus College is a private liberal arts college in St. Peter, Minn., that prepares 2,500 undergraduates for lives of leadership, service, and lifelong learning. The oldest Lutheran college in Minnesota, Gustavus was founded in 1862 by Swedish immigrants and named for Swedish King Gustav II Adolf. At Gustavus, students receive personal attention in small-sized classes and engage in collaborative research with their professors. Fully accredited and known for its strong science, writing, music, athletics, study-abroad, and service-learning programs, Gustavus hosts a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and is internationally recognized for its annual Nobel Conference®.