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Curriculum Globalization: International Exchanges Between American and Chinese Universities

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Faculty and Program Developments, Exchanges, and Partnerships

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

22.413.1 - 22.413.8



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Paper Authors


Bob Lahidji Eastern Michigan University

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Bob Lahidji, Ph.D, is Professor and The Director of the School of Engineering Technology at Eastern Michigan University. His primary interest and expertise are in the areas of manufacturing process and CNC/CAM. Dr. Lahidji has been involved with the auto industry manufacturing firms as a consultant in the areas of improving manufacturing processes and productivity. He has written numerous articles and is the co-author of the textbook “Maximize SURFCAM."

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Walter Tucker Eastern Michigan University, School of Engineering Technology

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Walter Tucker, Ph.D., holds the rank of full professor in the School of Engineering Technology at Eastern Michigan University. He has earned degrees at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His primary area of expertise is quality systems with a specific research interest in work organization. Dr. Tucker is an active consultant to industrial firms and governmental agencies. His publications include some forty papers, book chapters, and conference presentations. Recent research includes extending the lean paradigm into the service sector, quality systems in a globalized supply chain, and improving productivity in commercial construction

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Curriculum Globalization: International Exchanges Between American and Chinese UniversitiesIn 2006, the School of Engineering Technology at Eastern Michigan University signed anacademic exchange agreement with the Tianjin Institute of Urban Construction. The mainprovisions of the agreement between the two universities include the exchange ofgraduate students and faculty, collaboration in research, and the establishment of aVisiting Scholar program. Eastern Michigan University (EMU) is located in Ypsilanti,some 40 miles west of Detroit, and has long been a favored destination for internationalengineering students attracted by the proximity to the auto engineering and productionfacilities in southeast Michigan. Tianjin, China has a population of some 12 million, islocated on the Yellow Sea and is the port city closest to Beijing.Recently, the Eastern Michigan University has intensified its efforts to furtherinternationalize the campus and academic programs. The Director of the School ofEngineering Technology, Bob Lahidji, has taken the initiative to establish thisrelationship through trips to Tianjin where negotiations for the agreement took pace.During two trips to Tianjin, Dr. Lahidji has been able to interview Chinese students vyingfor the one graduate assistantship set aside for Tianjin students at EMU.The original agreement was signed in 2006 and the assistantship allocation in the Schoolof Engineering Technology took place in Fall 2007. One student has completed thedegree, the MS in Construction Management. Chinese students at Tianjin are attracted bythe in-state tuition and the stipend which allows them to complete the degree over a twoyear period. Chinese students must compete for the position through their academicachievement as undergraduates and their level of accomplishment in the Englishlanguage. A second student was selected earlier in 2010 and is enrolled in her firstsemester at EMU. Also, the Chinese central government funds Visiting Scholars for sixmonth stays in the U.S. EMU provides access to faculty with similar interests, officespace, computer access, and library privileges.The Tianj in Institute of Urban Construction has supported these efforts by granting travelexpenses and housing to Dr. Lahidji; recruiting students and faculty applying for theexchange; and facilitating the documentation including exit visas for exchangeparticipant. Eastern Michigan University has allocated a graduate assistantship includingtuition waiver, provided a faculty sponsor who will advise and employ the Chinesestudent, assisted with immigration and visa issues, and mentorship plus office space toVisiting Scholars.There are some aspects of the agreement which have not come to fruition. TianjinInstitute of Urban Construction has offered similar assistantships for U.S. students.However, no U.S. students have reached the Chinese language competency require toapply for the position. While Chinese faculty have great interest in coming and doingresearch in the U.S., no EMU faculty has yet expressed interest in going to China to doresearch. 1Many benefits have already accrued from this exchange. We are now receivingapplications from Chinese students from Tianjin who wish to fund their own master’sdegrees in the U.S. One EMU faculty made a short visit to Tianjin and now has contactsto further internationalize his course and the curriculum. This exchange has generatedinterest from other Chinese institutions and EMU has hosted a Visiting Scholar andanother will arrive soon. The Chinese student from Tianjin has been employed in theSchool of Engineering Technology and formed friendships with American students. Also.the Chinese exchange student hasbeen employed in the School of Engineering Technology as a graduate assistant andformed friendships with other graduate assistants as well as making many forays into theU.S. professional world through field trips to local industry. 2

Lahidji, B., & Tucker, W. (2011, June), Curriculum Globalization: International Exchanges Between American and Chinese Universities Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17694

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