Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
July 18, 1997

Exchange programs with Chinese schools moving forward

by Steve Jones

The distance between Iowa State and China is shrinking. President Martin Jischke led a five-person ISU delegation to China, June 21 to July 5, opening doors for several ventures between ISU and Chinese universities.

"The trip was very successful," said Jischke, the first ISU president to travel to China while in office. "We accomplished all of the goals we had set for the visit."

The ISU group met with the president and officials from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) in Beijing and visited five universities. Meetings also took place with officials from the Chinese State Education Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Jischke said the visit strengthened several educational and economic links between ISU and China.

"China has many outstanding scientists with whom we would like to collaborate, and there are many educational opportunities in China for ISU students," Jischke said.

With China's huge population and growing economy, Jischke noted that food issues will link the nation with Iowa, a major exporter of grains and meat.

Traveling with Jischke were Stan Johnson, vice provost for extension; John Kluge, professor of veterinary pathology; Daniel Fang, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; and David Acker, director of international agriculture programs for the College of Agriculture.

Details were finalized for a student study abroad program under the direction of CAAS. The program will be open to students from all ISU colleges.

"Initially we want 10 to 15 ISU students in the program, with hopes that it grow to 20 to 25," Acker said. Students will spend six weeks in China, beginning in May 1998.

Several ISU colleges and departments are finishing agreements for research collaborations with Chinese universities. For example, scientists at CAAS' Veterinary Research Institute in Harbin are interested in gaining new information on livestock production from ISU's College of Veterinary Medicine. Likewise, ISU researchers are interested in new Chinese technologies for making veterinary vaccines.

Other research projects will involve horticulture, forestry, livestock embryo transplantation, corn breeding, and seed testing and certification. Several engineering projects are in the works with Qinghua University in Beijing, considered China's leading science and technology institution.

Officials continued work on an agricultural economics outlook and policy analysis project already under way between ISU's Center for Agricultural and Rural Development and CAAS' Institute of Agricultural Economics.

"This project will help the Chinese economy to further integrate into international markets," Johnson said.

Several other ISU--China ventures were discussed. These include an exchange program between Chinese and U.S. university leaders beginning in 1998; an agricultural reform conference in Beijing, tentatively scheduled for next spring; an agribusiness center in China that would promote commercial activities with the United States; and a possible ISU agribusiness M.B.A. program in China.

China sends more students to ISU than any other nation. In fall 1996, 426 Chinese students attended ISU, accounting for about 17 percent of ISU's 2,566 students from other nations. International students make up just over 10 percent of ISU's enrollment.

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