By Matt Rabey
Laurentian University has entered into a partnership with the Zhejiang University in China, to bring a joint accounting degree to students.
The university currently has close ties with six Chinese universities, according to LU President Dominic Giroux, who has been working to strengthen them.
“In October 2011, Dean Peter Luk and I visited a number of our partner universities in China, including the Zhejiang University of Finance in Economics (ZUFE) in Hangzhou,” stated Giroux. “ZUFE serves 20,000 students with a number of national specialty programs in economics, finance and accounting. Their School of Accounting, which is the #1 school of its kind in Zhejiang for a population of 54 million, serves 3,000 students.”
The 2011 visit to China sparked interest into how Laurentian University can benefit from the Chinese University.
Since last year, Laurentian administration has been going over ways in which it can develop more programs with ZUFE, according to Giroux.
“During last year’s visit, Laurentian explored the possibility of development new collaborations with ZUFE, recognizing space restraints in existing commerce courses,” stated Giroux.
The development that came out of this visit has been the new joint accounting program.
Prior to the development of the accounting program, Laurentian University had commerce programs that had students begin their degree in China and then come to Laurentian to complete it.
Giroux explained how successful these programs have been thus far with maximum numbers achieved, “To some extent, we have become victims of our success and do not have the room necessarily to admit more Chinese students in these courses without compromising the student experience.”
The president hopes that the new accounting will meet with the same degree of success as the other joint programs.
The new program will have students take their first two school years at ZUFE, followed up by three semesters at Laurentian. The students will then return to China for the final year of their program.
The joint program has already begun, as Giroux explained: “The first cohort began in September and was greeted by Peter Luk in September in Hangzhou.”
However, it will be 2015 before any students from the program attend Laurentian University. “They will study at ZUFE until December 2014, enrol in some courses from Laurentian in English during the summer 2013 in Hangzhou, come to Laurentian from January to December 2015 in a new stand-alone cohort for ZUFE students taking a total of 42 credits at Laurentian, to then return to ZUFE to complete the program,” stated Giroux. Currently, the program is only for Chinese students, but Laurentian University is working on establishing a program for Canadian students to attend ZUFE.
“Our recent meetings inHangzhou,” stated Giroux, “have allowed us to explore how we could potentially design a program for Laurentian students to study at ZUFE. The possibility of an inter-disciplinary minor of 24 credits about China, including one term at Hangzhou and courses of mandarin before the opportunity to learn abroad, will be pursued with departments in Sudbury in the coming months.”