China 2010

May 13, 2010

Kettering University has formed a strategic alliance with China's CATARC, thanks to the efforts of Provost Michael Harris and his two-member delegation that also cemented a relationship with SGMW and more.

It may have been a whirlwind trip to foreign soil, but a visit to China in mid-April by a talented Kettering University delegation will keep business opportunities swirling onto Kettering’s campus for a long time.

“This was an exceptionally productive trip that will generate many benefits for Kettering University in the years to come,” said Dr. Michael Harris, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

Added Dr. Tony Hain, interim associate provost for Graduate Studies, “We hit every mark and goal we set for our trip, and we exceeded them!”

Harris, Hain and Kim Raup, the Continuing Education Program Coordinator, spent 12 days visiting multiple sites in China and brought back a check list of successes.  During the China trip, Kettering:

Cemented a relationship with SGMW headquarters.  SGMW is a joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp., Liuzhou Wuling Motors and GM China.  “The commitments we got out of SGMW were deep and serious,” Harris explained.  “This is huge.” Hain added: “Kettering has the potential of becoming the Chinese GMI.  American universities are watching us and asking us how are we getting this done?” 

Signed a 2 + 2 agreement with Wuhan University of Technology (WUT).  A new 2 + 2 agreement will allow WUT students to transfer to Kettering to complete their studies and receive a dual-degree certificate.  During meetings at WUT, conversations included options for professional development for a delegation of nine faculty members (and perhaps some staff) to travel from China to Flint.

The place to be in Chongqing.  The hottest ticket in town one night was an invitation to the Kettering-Chongqing reception that attracted more than 100 participants, Harris said.  The event honored 32 members of the Chinese delegations that have already graduated from Kettering’s professional development program.  “We were able to express gratitude and appreciation for those who contributed to our success in Chongqing,” Harris said.  “We recognized and celebrated the progress and achievements we have completed together.  And, we presented a joint vision for the future.”  Attending the event were the participants’ families, University officials, the leadership of the bureau, a significant number of employers in the region and potential students from various universities in the region, he added.

Agreement for a strategic alliance with CATARC.  After a marathon four-hour negotiating session led and facilitated by Harris, Kettering now has an agreement for a strategic alliance with the Chinese Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC).  “Kettering is among the first and only universities in the world to claim an agreement with CATARC, which is subject to final approval by the presidents of the two institutions.  Starting as early as July 2010, up to five engineers could be coming to campus for 12-week professional development programs,” Harris said.  “The negotiations were complex, challenging, convoluted and intense at times, with cultural and institutional differences.  I believe we reached a wonderful outcome.”

Added Hain: “And we got a good look at the differences in Western and Chinese negotiating styles,” he explained. 

Interviewed three students at Chongqing Jiaotong University and discussed ways to enhance the relationship for student recruitment, joint research, faculty exchange and professional development for faculty from Chongqing Jiaotong University.  (Read more.)

Visited the Chongqing Bureau of Foreign Experts and met with its leadership in a friendly and productive session, Harris noted.  An agreement was reached for China to send a new delegation of Chinese professionals to campus in 2011.  An option to send Kettering faculty to Chongqing for a week, several times a year, was considered.

The delegation was hosted for tea at the personal home of the Deputy General Director of the Chongqing Bureau of Foreign Experts.  “This is a very personal and high honor for Kettering’s delegation,” Harris explained.  “It was very elaborate.  Absolutely an excellent and memorable experience,” he said.

Meeting with Chongqing University of Arts and Sciences.  Kettering’s efforts continue to expand its presence and opportunities in Chongqing as a major base for recruiting students, joint research, professional development, faculty exchange and student exchange.  Harris said the meeting established a foundation for future cooperation.

Met with officials from Southwest University and Chongqing University of Science & Technology to explore cooperation and student recruitment.  Harris noted that it is very hard to get into a Chinese University these days.  “Chinese students want to come to Kettering to study, and they are also very interested in returning to China with their education.”  Hain said Kettering has already received multiple applications for Kettering's graduate programs in Engineering from them and have accepted two students.

Met with delegates from Chendu Automotive Association, who traveled to Chongqing for the session.  “They are working toward developing Chendu into a significant center of automotive manufacturing,” Harris explained.  “We were able to outline possible ways for future collaboration, which was an exciting conversation.”

“It was a wonderful and amazing trip,” Harris concluded. 

“And a real plum for us,” Hain noted as he sent along sincere thanks to Todd Steele from Kettering's Graduate Program and Dr. Luchen Li, director of Kettering's International Office, for their involvement in making the trip a success.

For more on the trip, see “Notes on the China trip,” by Dr. Michael Harris.

Written by Patricia Mroczek