Westminster College partners with Chinese high school 

Chinese delegates with Westminster College delegates (May 23, 2011)

L to R:  Dr. Allan Zhang (Director, Westminster China), Vice Dean Rex Chen (Hunan Normal U. HS), Principal Li Yuan Chang (Hunan Normal U. HS), Dr. Carolyn Perry (VP/Dean of Faculty, Westminster College), and Dr. Kurt Jefferson (Director, Center for Engaging the World, Westminster College)

Fulton, Mo.- Westminster College officials recently (in May 2011) signed a Memorandum of Educational Cooperation with the High School Attached to Hunan Normal University.  The high school is located in southern China in the city of Changsha (6 million in population).

            Westminster College’s Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, Dr. Carolyn Perry, signed the agreement along with her Chinese counterpart, Principal Li Yuan Chang.  Principal Chang is also an inspector of the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the Hunan Province.  He is also the vice president of the Hunan Education Association.

            The agreement pledges mutual educational cooperation in the area of sending Chinese students from the Hunan Normal University High School to Westminster College for their undergraduate studies.  The memorandum also spells out eventual cooperation in the areas of summer programs, teacher training, and curricular matters as well.

            Both institutions hope that exchanges of faculty will have a productive impact on helping the Chinese improve their curriculum, westernize their approaches to education, and globalize their campus.  Westminster hopes to send students, faculty and English teachers to Changsha in the future and to allow its relationship with the Hunan Normal University High School to globalize its campus in Fulton.

            The Hunan Normal University high school was founded in 1905.  It was one of the first legislatively approved high schools by the PRC in Hunan Province.  The high school itself is comprised of seven separate high schools, such as Hunan Guangyi Experimental High School, Bocai Experimental School attached to Hunan Normal University high school International Course Center, and the Yuelu Foreign Languages School.  The high school has over 3,600 high school students enrolled in its seven campuses and it serves about 6,000 students in all its high schools.

            In the year 2009, 71 graduates of the Hunan Normal University High School were accepted by US universities.  Its graduates’ college enrollment rate is the highest in Hunan Province.

            Dr. Patrick Kirby, global enrollment coordinator at Westminster, helped orchestrate the relationship in having traveled to Changsha in winter 2011.  Dr. Kurt Jefferson, director of the Center for Engaging the World at Westminster, also worked with Kirby in increasing Westminster’s presence in China.  Both traveled in China in November 2010 meeting with education officials at high schools and universities.

            Jefferson said of the mutual cooperation, “This is an important event for Westminster College.  We are working with the Chinese to further our joint educational goals in a spirit of cooperation and cultural exchange.”

            Westminster College will host the first-ever “Asian Summer Experience” for American high school students this summer (July 17-22, 2011) where students will study and earn credit while learning about Asian culture, history, and politics and the Chinese language.  For more information or an application on the “Asian Summer Experience” see the Westminster College website www.westminster-mo.edu (under Admissions) or contact Dr. Jefferson at 573-592-5266 or kurt.jefferson@westminster-mo.edu.