Chinese Visiting Scholars Talk About Their SIUE Experience

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Visiting scholars from Northwest Normal University in China are on the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campus throughout the fall semester.

SIUE Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe, first in the front row to the far right, recently greeted visiting scholars from China. Pictured are the scholars and faculty members from the School of Education.

'Students here are motivated to work and think about questions deeply.' -- Huanjun Xiong

A good teacher is wise, knowledgeable, charming and of good character. That was the consensus among the group of eight visiting Chinese scholars on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville this semester.

They agreed they have been exposed to outstanding faculty members on the SIUE campus who possess all these qualities.

Gathered around a table in the Vadalabene Center, each of the scholars had the chance to recount their international journey.

At times Dr. Huaibo Xin, an SIUE assistant professor of kinesiology and health education in the School of Education, translated from Chinese to English and English to Chinese during the informal chit-chat. The scholars, all from Northwest Normal University in China, represent a mix of disciplines. The scholars and their disciplines include:

  •     Weijun Wang, associate dean of the School of Educational Technology
  •     Huajun Xiong, higher education
  •     Zuhua Dai and Honghong Chen, both in computer science and engineering
  •     Kun Li, music
  •     Zhihua Wang, analytical chemistry
  •     Aiping Guan, business
  •     Lan Wang, social work

Moving around the table, most of the scholars had something to say about their SIUE or American experience.

Regarding his experience with the School, Wang said, “I think it is important to work on assessment, but that alone is not enough. Online course assessment tools need to be integrated in China. The focus needs to be on quantitative and qualitative analysis, and we’re examining ways to begin with qualitative analysis and turn that into quantitative.”

Xiong noted being impressed by the students “good study habits,” saying, “Students here are motivated to work and think about questions deeply.”

Dai had what she called a “life” observation. “The cross walks here are something we don’t have. It is critical for people to be reminded to take care of the people who are walking. I was astonished when I saw people stopping at a cross walk for me.”

Chen noted being “fascinated by the students sitting together outside areas to study together after classes. There are so many places to converse and put their thoughts together. It is very impressive to see this before and after class.”

Li noted, “The teachers’ knowledge is very rich.” She spent a recent Friday listening to students and faculty members playing the piano in Dunham Hall.

A different concept from education in China: “The students here have a lot of homework before class,” said Wang. “The class time is used to discuss different problems and they have lots of practice at the end.”

Lan Wang added, “I think what first impressed me is this beautiful campus, and the students have such good manners.” She added, “The baseball game was very impressive. There were thousands of people there watching, making their dreams come true.”

The scholars are participating in the School of Education's International Training Program in Pedagogy. Mary Weishaar, associate dean of the School of Education, has been working closely with the leadership team for the program, including Dr. Yuliang Liu, professor from Educational Leadership, Dr. Huaibo Xin, assistant professor from Kinesiology and Health Education, and Gretchen Fricke, director, School of Education Student Services, to ensure the campus guests have a visit filled with a mix of education, culture, historical perspective and good old-fashioned fun.

The scholars have gone to a Cardinals baseball game, visited the campus Pagoda for a reception in The Gardens, given lectures to faculty, staff and students on campus, and more.

The next scholar lecture will take place from 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 6 in a location to be determined. The scholars will discuss lessons they have learned in the U.S. and how American style pedagogy and English will be used to enhance teaching in China.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottom land and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of nearly 14,000.

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