MTSU has strengthened its international initiatives both on campus and around the world. Those efforts boost student success through creating opportunities for travel, exposure to culture, and research opportunities.
Our most recent international outreach has included:
• For the second consecutive year MTSU professors taught at our partner university in China, Guangxi University (Nanning, China), in our support of the MTSU-GXU established 2+2 program. The faculty included Dr. Raholanda White (Marketing), who spent 2015 in Nanning and was invited back; Dr. Thomas Tang (Management); and Professor Lara Daniel (Accounting).
• MTSU faculty led a record number 24 MTSU signature programs during the 2015–16 academic year including many new, first-year programs—one in Africa, Dr. Aliou Ly’s History in Senegal, and one in the Middle East, Professor Ayaz Amed’s Concrete Industry Management in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Additional first-year programs include Dr. Priya Ananth’s MTSU in Japan, Dr. Lauren Rudd’s Fashion in Italy, Dr. Sarah Bergemann and Dr. Vincent Cobb’s Tropical Biology in Costa Rica, Dr. Richard Pace’s Archaeological Field School in the Brazilian Amazon, Dr. Mark Doyle’s MTSU in Scotland, Dr. Guangping Zheng and Dr. Kim Sokoya’s International Management in China, Dr. John Bodle’s Advertising, Public Relations and Tourism in Mexico, and Dr. James Chaney and Dr. Steve Morrison’s Cuba in the 21st Century. These were offered in addition to longstanding MTSU signature programs in Argentina, Belize, Canada, Finland. France, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Mexico Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
My personal 2016 travels to China resulted in several important new agreements and exchanges.
As a result of my May 2016 trip:
• Hangzhou Normal University, already partners in the operation of MTSU’s Confucius Institute, agreed to send graduate students to work at MTSU’s new Center for Chinese Music and Culture. HNU faculty members will also regularly visit Murfreesboro to perform in Chinese music ensembles organized by the center. HNU’s Alibaba Business College and MTSU’s Jones College of Business forged an exchange agreement.
• Plans were made for future student exchanges and joint faculty research efforts with Zhejiang University of Science and Technology that would boost international enrollment on the Murfreesboro campus.
• MTSU’s research of traditional Chinese herbal remedies in modern medicine took center stage May 16 at an international conference in China where I was among the keynote speakers at the International Congress on Ethnopharmacology in Yulin.
• Guangxi University agreed to send 260 students to study at MTSU, almost doubling the goal set two years ago.
Next, my summer 2016 China trip was the continuation of a unique educational exchange organized by MTSU wherein several Rutherford County schoolchildren, parents, and teachers (28 in all) were welcomed to China for two weeks to visit classrooms, participate in enrichment activities, and go with Chinese families for home visits as part of the reciprocal exchange with Dongcheng Education Group of Hangzhou Normal University. Dongcheng oversees a network of magnet-style schools in Hangzhou. It is the third such trip led by my wife, retired Murfreesboro City Schools teacher Elizabeth McPhee, and me. Rutherford students visited China in 2012 and 2014, and Dongcheng students came to Murfreesboro in 2013 and 2015. During this trip, Elizabeth, aided by teachers in the delegation, conducted a joint class for Chinese and American students, then hosted a workshop for Chinese teachers. While there are many other cultural-exchange programs between nations, I think this program is one of the most unique and one of the most successful in the world.