Board of Trustees
December 15, 2006
China offers NMU opportunities hard to ignore.
Relationships in China are influenced by who you know and how these connections
lead to decision makers. We have been able to utilize contacts established by
faculty and USOEC staff to explore educational partnerships that may lead to
exchanges of students, faculty, coursework and intellectual endeavors.
NMU has also favored international relationships
facilitated by corporate entities.
Well-regarded companies motivate educational partners on both sides since the
prospect of investment, the development of intellectual property via joint
research efforts and access to governmental agencies is certainly enhanced. A
major component of our China trip was to bring our laptop supplier, Lenovo, into
closer proximity to University interests above and beyond a supplier-buyer
bond. This model of corporate facilitation also allows a mid-size university
like NMU to approach scale with larger international universities. We don’t
have name brand cachet like Berkeley, MIT or UCLA to stand on our own. But we
must be doing something important if Lenovo is supporting our contact with
major Chinese universities. Corporate facilitation is proving an effective
model in our exploratory talks with Sweden, Mexico and other European arenas.
NMU’s China experience has set in motion what I believe
will be some excellent opportunities. As you will see from the bullets below,
the activity is already moving forward quickly and deliberately. The Board
should know we have asked Dykema’s international law group to review
partnership proposals with Chinese universities and schools. We hope to email
these proposals to our prospective partners early next year.
- A signed memorandum of understanding to promote further
discussion and visits with Beijing Sports University (BSU) exists. BSU is
a comprehensive, doctoral university with a mission to educate both mind and
body. They have a commitment to Olympic training with programming
appearing similar to our own USOEC. BSU is not an Olympic training site,
since the Chinese have a huge Olympic training mega-structure. However
BSU also benefits from being in Beijing’s inner ring close to government
offices and the closest campus to the Olympic 2008 site. The facilities
and services clearly reflect the government’s preference for athletics
with the hope and expectation of medal winnings in 2008.
- Jilin University-Zhuhai is an independent campus affiliated
with one of China’s top universities. The Zhuhai campus is three years
old with a current enrollment of 8000. The government is building a new
addition with expectations of reaching 20,000 in the next two years. We
have agreed to exchange proposals to formalize our relationship.
Jilin-Zhuhai seeks English speaking students and English Master’s level
students. Rapid growth means they are and will be in need of faculty.
Our students and faculty may play a big role in funneling students to NMU.
Jilin-Zhuhai’s initial offer includes paying for all accommodations
including room and board for any student/faculty who comes to visit. Our
people will provide English instruction and/or content instruction in
return. They are currently charging students about $2200 USD annually in
- Sun Yat-Sen University (Guangzhou) is, arguably, one of
the top five in China. Their English and American Studies College seeks a partnership with the same conditions as Jilin-Zhuhai. Additionally, they want
a proposal from us for a semester-length study at Northern Michigan University for their students.
- Global Language Village (GLV) is a thriving, small,
privately held language school in Zhuhai. Serving mainly adults, they
have hosted NMU students and faculty as recently as this past spring.
They represent the closest thing to a community college in China. Of great interest to us are their English immersion program and their Chinese
immersion program. They are very interested in pursuing a partnership.
The cachet of an American University would certainly increase their
clientele. Our interest lies in the large number of adult students who
literally quit work to study English. With English proficiency, they are
assured better paying jobs upon re-entry. It is an investment they are
willing to make. It is also a desirable locale for any of our students
seeking a Chinese language immersion experience in a less urbanized area
of China. It’s proximity to Hong Kong would offer us a venue to consider
the Hong Kong area.
We are examining our infrastructure to ascertain our
needs to service Chinese students in Marquette. Our activity in Zhuhai,
assisted by our presence on Zhuhai TV, has resulted in a large number of
queries to our website regarding admissions. We have no organized plan, yet,
to handle queries and applications from China. The opening up of the visa
process for Chinese students to study in America is vastly improved. Our
location is considered safe for the Chinese and our tuition structure, while
expensive to them, is not insurmountable. They represent an interesting
enrollment opportunity and challenge for NMU. The Chinese are clearly at
capacity in their higher education system and are building at a ferocious
pace. Building a world-class university system based on the American model is
an unmistakable motive. We are positioned to choose from a number of
This corporate visit will result in great returns and
alone was worth the trip. Lenovo’s worldwide presence and growing market share
in the PC business makes them a formidable competitor in that industry.
Partnering with NMU and other international campuses offers them a branding
vision going far beyond that of “Chinese computer maker.” As their largest
laptop client in North America, we are uniquely placed to examine a number of
ideas quite beneficial to NMU.
- Lenovo endorsed my proposal for NMU to become their
“model” campus. We hope to explore how we could answer questions they
have about ubiquitous and portable computing. As a model campus, we could
also help any Chinese university on Lenovo’s list move to the technology
level currently on our campus.
- Lenovo USA expressed a desire to use our current
partnership as their first case study out of their R&D unit in North Carolina (Lenovo-USA). No one knows the effects of laptops on student learning, the
development of curricula, and ultimately any institutional efficiencies
affected by laptops. NMU as a research site to examine student learning
and laptops appeals to them and to us.
- Our role as a product tester (beta site) for new consumer
products ranging from telephony to servers is a possibility.
- As the prime sponsor of the 2008 Olympics, co-branding was
raised and both sides are very interested in this. This will be a key
agenda item with Lenovo-USA. To feature Lenovo’s support of an American
university, Lenovo would use our campus for infomercials during the 2008
Olympics as was done during the last winter Olympics in Turino. Being able
to use their Olympic licensing arrangement with Lenovo and NMU on
advertising has immeasurable visibility for us in ways we could never
- We were hosted by the founder/Chairman’s former chief of
staff and current VP of external relations. This was an important symbol
of their seriousness.
Seeing first hand a red hot economy and the optimism so
pervasive throughout the culture was incredible. China’s investments in higher
education are enormous. For them, English = money was a refrain heard
everywhere we went. They have problems, no doubt. But they also are putting
their money where their mouth is: in education. Such a value is traditionally
Chinese and serves their world view well. Their K-12 system is already strong
especially in the sciences and mathematics. English is required from middle
school throughout college. There is not enough English instruction to satisfy
the demand arising from all corners of their country and their economy.