Tuesday, June 20, 2006
OU-Guizhou exchange program celebrates 20 years By Michelle Strunge Moser, OU Writer
This year marks an important anniversary for Oakland University’s School of Education and Human Services. For 20 years, the OU-Guizhou exchange program, established in 1986 by the first OU delegation to China and the Guizhou Education Commission, has been building bridges and furthering teacher education on both sides of the world.
The OU-Guizhou exchange program’s primary component, the Summer English Language Institute, evolved from humble beginnings. In its first year, a handful of volunteer educators from Oakland County paid their own way to Guizhou Province to live and teach English language education for a month during the summer. Now, up to a dozen OU-trained volunteers annually travel to China to immerse themselves in the culture and share their skills with their Chinese counterparts.
At this 20-year milestone, more than 100 teachers from Michigan have participated in the program and more than 2,000 Guizhou teachers have benefited from the institute’s classes.
Today, the OU-Guizhou exchange program comprises these three additional components:
¨ MAT Joint-Masters Program, which to date has brought 24 students from Guizhou to Oakland’s campus to complete their master’s degrees;
¨ Oakland-China Educational Consortium for School Districts, which offers exchange programs for Chinese educators and Oakland County K-12 teachers and students;
¨ Leadership Training and Visiting Projects, an innovative program that brings government leaders from Guizhou Province to OU’s campus for classes in government management, jurisdiction, policy making, social and cultural understanding, and economic and financial development.
“This partnership is unique in its longevity and is with a landlocked province in one of the poorer areas of China,” said Ledong Li, assistant professor of education.
A two-day celebration including performances, exhibits, photo displays and banquets will be held July 7-8 in China. Program officials in Guizhou also are creating a book to commemorate the anniversary. The book will include a history of the OU-Guizhou partnership as well as reflections from both American and Chinese program participants.
Amid the festivities, School of Education and Human Services Dean Mary Otto, one of only a handful of honorary citizens of Guiyang, Guizhou Province’s capital, and the program’s OU co-directors will meet with officials from Guizhou to plan future activities and exchanges, strengthening the bridges built over the past two decades.