Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

On Campus

January 14, 2013

GSW continues partnership with Hong Kong Baptist University

AMERICUS — AMERICUS — With agreements at more than 20 institutions in China, South Korea and India, Georgia Southwestern State University is making an effort to attract students from all over the world.

On Monday, Jan. 8, university officials met with representatives from Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formally agreeing to continue working together for the mutual benefit of both institutions.

“I am grateful to the Carters for their having helped us make the HKBU connection,” said GSW President Kendall Blanchard, Ph.D. “While the university is larger than Georgia Southwestern, it shares with us many of the same values. I am confident our partnership will reap benefits for both universities.”

Hong Kong Baptist has strong ties with the Carter Center in Atlanta. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter helped organize and attended the meeting Monday between the two schools. Members of the HKBU delegation included Albert Chan, Ph.D., president and vice chancellor; Rick Wai-Kwok Wong, vice president of Research and Development; P.K. Chiu, director of General Administration; and Peter Li, director of the International Office.

Georgia Southwestern officials participating in the planning sessions included President Blanchard; Connie Blanchard, Ph.D., special assistant to the president; Leisa Easom, Ph.D., executive director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI); Brian Adler, Ph.D., vice president for Academic Affairs; Cody King, vice president for Business and Finance; Sam Miller, Ph.D., vice president for Student Affairs; Gaye Hayes, Ph.D., vice president for Enrollment Management; Helen Tate, Ph.D., associate vice president for Academic Affairs; Stephen Snyder, director of University Relations; and John Fox, director of the English Language Institute. Yawei Liu, Ph.D., director of the Carter Center’s China Program, also helped plan the session and was in attendance.

Founded in 1956, HKBU was established as a private post-secondary college grounded in a Christian heritage. In 1983, the then Hong Kong Baptist College became a fully-funded public institution, while keeping Baptist as a part of its name. In 1994, the institution achieved University status and it was renamed Hong Kong Baptist University.

With more than 20,000 students in all, HKBU commits itself to providing “Whole Person Education.” The school is well known in Hong Kong for being the first to offer a journalism program, and HKBU is the only institution with a film school or an academy of visual arts.

Since its establishment in 1998, the international program at HKBU has thrived. More than 300 native HKBU students are currently studying across the globe, and they have more than 400 students from other countries on their campus. Georgia Southwestern looks to join with HKBU in their globalization efforts.

“Recruiting international students and sending our native students abroad to study are important elements in our efforts to prepare our students to succeed in a global economy,” Blanchard said. “Our many international partnerships are important to these efforts. Having a presence for the RCI in other countries is an effective way of increasing GSW’s name recognition and enhancing its reputation. This is why our RCI-Korea program is so important and why we have initiated the discussion with HKBU regarding the establishment of an RCI-China.”

During the planning session, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter shared with the visitors the history of the RCI and the motivations underlying its creation.

“No one was working on caregiving,” Carter said referring to the timing when the RCI was established in 1987. “It was not long before many realized that the lack of support for caregivers was a real problem. I am proud that Georgia Southwestern was the first place to have a program dedicated to caregiving.”

International students are important to continued growth at Georgia Southwestern. As of fall 2012, GSW had 150 international students from 41 different countries on campus. Partnerships with schools like HKBU will help increase those numbers.        

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