(Marcia Morphy)
Monday, August 24, 2015 - 6:08am

Rochester Institute of Technology continues its successful academic exchange in China through an international partnership with Beijing Jiaotong University (BJTU). This fall, two new degree programs will begin in a joint collaboration between RIT's Saunders College of Business and BJTU's School of Economics and Management.

An MS degree in entrepreneurship and innovative ventures will be offered at BJTU in the capital city of Beijing, and a BS degree in management information systems at BJTU's new Weihai Southsea campus located in Shandong Province. Anticipated enrollment in the first cohort of the master's degree program is 10 to 15 students, with approximately 116 students in the management information systems undergraduate program. Courses in both programs will be taught by RIT and BJTU faculty.

"China is the world's second largest economy," said Jeremy Haefner, RIT provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. "Since the central mission of RIT is to prepare its graduates for successful careers, it makes strategic sense to be engaged with really good partners in China, especially a national university such as BJTU which has an academic reputation that matches well with RIT."

BJTU President Bin Ning said the fact that both universities have long and rich histories spanning over 100 years makes for a good strategic partnership.

"This relationship is very meaningful for Beijing Jiaotong University to further establish itself as a world-class university with unique characteristics, and continue the school's internationalization strategy implementation," said Ning. "We believe that ongoing collaborations between the two universities with regard to various distinctive and high-level programs will make valuable contributions towards China's modernization, regional economic and social development, and Sino-U.S. cultural exchange and collaborations."

The universities entered into a memorandum of understanding in April 2012, with collaborative agreements for an undergraduate and graduate program, faculty exchange and delivery of curriculum opportunities between RIT's Saunders College and the College of Liberal Arts with BJTU's School of Economics and Management.

As a result of these agreements, RIT celebrated the first graduating cohort class of the 2+2 undergraduate program last May, with 13 BJTU scholars graduating with degrees from both universities.

The quality of the Saunders College business programs, along with RIT's career focus and global orientation, is especially attractive to Chinese partners who are challenged to develop more applied and career relevant business and economics curricula, said James Myers, associate provost of international education and global programs at RIT.

"So imagine the possibilities," said Myers. "RIT international business and economics students working in tandem with Chinese students to start businesses-to jointly develop deep understanding of the global economy and to foster a shared understanding of global trade between the two largest economies in the world."

Saunders College Dean Jacqueline Mozrall credits John Tu, Saunders associate dean, as the driving force in cultivating the ongoing partnership where BJTU students in Beijing and Weihai partake in Saunders curricula for a majority of their undergraduate management information systems and MS in entrepreneurship and innovative venture programs.

"I am excited to see our enrollments and partnership continue to grow, and as a new member of the International Advisory Board for BJTU's School of Economics and Management, I look forward to working closely with the school's dean, Dr. Quisheng (Ben) Zhang," said Mozrall.

Zhang said the collaboration between the two business schools are multifaceted and include undergraduate, graduate, faculty exchange and scientific research.

"We look to each other to be crucial and valuable partners in internationalization strategy implementation," said Zhang. "The School of Economics and Management is one of the 17 Pilot Schools in China conducting comprehensive reforms in higher education. We expect the partnership between our School of Economics and Management and Saunders College will become an excellent model in internationalization progress of higher education in China."

According to Tu, the alliance developed within a short time after BJTU sent an introductory letter to RIT's business school three years ago.

"They were looking for an exchange agreement that would be a good match for a strong academic partnership," said Tu. "Since our universities have similar roots in business, engineering, computing and technology, we are highly compatible in our programs and educational mission.

"One of the distinct advantages for RIT business students interested in an exchange program in China is the ability to take classes taught in English and using the same curriculum. And they will feel very comfortable on the campus of Weihai. Surrounded by red brick, it looks just like RIT."

Note: Beijing Jiaotong University is a national key university under the direct administration of China's Ministry of Education and also supported by the China Railway Corporation and Beijing Municipal Government. BJTU has established cooperative relations with more than 150 renowned universities, institutions and high-tech companies from 32 countries.

BJTU, with roots dating back to 1896, is located in Beijing, the capital city of China. A new campus has also opened in Weihai, Shandong Province, where construction will continue through 2017. BJTU enrollment includes: 13,690 undergraduate students, 7,727 graduate students, 2,593 doctoral students, 64,070 Web-based students and 1,387 international students. BJTU was one of the earliest universities authorized by the Chinese government to enroll overseas students. For more on BJTU, visit:

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