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Global partnership aims to train
Mitchell, Arts Editor
auditorium at Tsinghua
University in Beijing is modeled after
the Foellinger Auditorium at Illinois. The
Tsinghua campus was designed by T. Chuang,
a 1914 graduate of U. of I. School
note: Tsinghua is pronounced ching-wah.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A new, three-way partnership joins the University
of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Tsinghua University in Beijing and
several multinational corporations with the goal of educating a new
breed of professionals better prepared for success in the global marketplace.
The Tsinghua-Illinois-Corporate Fellowship Program Leading to a Professional
Master’s Degree is a comprehensive, five-year combined bachelor
and master of science program designed to integrate academic and work
experience in China and the United States.
“The program is intended to produce a generation of exceptional
young professionals whose education combines technical expertise with
a deep understanding of global issues, Chinese and U.S. societal and
corporate cultures, and the opportunities and challenges for corporations
and business in China,” said Jesse Delia, the executive director
of international research relations at the U. of I.
“Given the importance of China to U.S. multinational corporations
and to U.S. economic interests, the development of such talent is critical
to long-term corporate leadership and competitiveness.”
Delia said the program’s multiple missions include attracting
participation and cooperation from multinational corporations by offering
talented interns and prospective employees with a global approach; providing
U. of I. and Tsinghua faculty with the potential for developing cooperative
research opportunities; and enhancing the visibility of both institutions
as leaders in global education and research.
Students completing the educational and training-based program will
earn undergraduate degrees from Tsinghua and master’s degrees
from Illinois through a “3 + 2” framework that includes
three years of undergraduate education coupled with two years of combined
graduate study and internship experience with corporate partners.
To date, founding corporate partners participating in the program and
providing major financial support for it are Caterpillar Inc., Kraft
Foods Inc., Flex-N-Gate Corp. and Novellus Systems Inc.
The pilot program, scheduled to begin in August 2007, initially will
be open to Illinois and Tsinghua students pursuing studies in several
fields – including agricultural, chemical, civil-environmental
and mechanical engineering. A food sciences dimension also has been
added in China through the inclusion of China Agricultural University,
considered to be the premier agricultural sciences campus in China.
Architects of the program hope to expand its scope to include additional
fields of study, such as social sciences, humanities, education and
law, Delia said. The pilot program is expected to involve as many as
15 students. That is also the target enrollment goal for each academic
year thereafter, he said.
Tsinghua students will study in China during the first three years of
the program. They will travel to Illinois for the second phase of the
program, which may include two months of English language instruction
and cultural immersion (if needed), followed by three semesters of academic
study and 11 months of internship experiences.
Illinois students will complete three of their four years of undergraduate
study in the U.S., then spend seven months in China, immersing themselves
in language, cultural and social science studies before signing on for
an eight-month internship program with an international company based
in China. Following that, they will complete two years of academic study
Delia said the program was developed through discussions initiated by
U. of I. Chancellor Richard Herman and Tsinghua President Gu Binglin
with corporate representatives during Gu’s visit to the Illinois
campus in 2006.
Herman said the new program is a natural evolution, considering that
“Illinois has a long history of relations with Tsinghua.”
“The Tsinghua campus was designed by T. Chuang, a 1914 graduate
of Urbana’s renowned School
of Architecture, who modeled his design on our Quadrangle,”
“Illinois also has a rich history with China and with its universities,
with local and national government, and with the private sector,”
“What we are embarking on is a carefully drawn partnership among
these sectors. It is one that will bring excellent students to our doors
for graduate education and training linked to the private sector in
“We are pleased to join with Tsinghua University, truly one of
China’s greatest educational institutions, and our corporate partners,
who are successful on a global scale and with whom we are fortunate
to have had long-standing partnerships. We see this program as a ‘first,’
and exemplary of one of the ways in which Illinois will work with the
private sector and universities throughout the world.”
Gu said he also looks forward to the opportunity to work together to
form new alliances with Illinois and the program’s global business
“With the combination of academic study and corporation internships,
as well as international experience, the program aims to foster talents
who are capable to cope with the challenge of globalization which lies
in the 21st century,” he said.
The program’s founding corporate partners also have high expectations
regarding the benefits of their involvement.
“Caterpillar is honored to be a founding partner with two outstanding
universities as they offer an innovative program for students in the
United States and China,” said Mark Pflederer, vice president
of Caterpillar’s Technology and Solutions Division. “This
program will help prepare students to be future leaders in their fields.
Innovation is part of Caterpillar’s corporate DNA, and I’m
sure some of the students in this program will play a role in developing
future machines and engines that will give our global customers the
value and performance they have come to expect from Caterpillar.”
James Andrade, vice president of research and development for
Kraft Foods/Asia Pacific, said the partnership dovetails well with his
company’s market goals and strategies in China.
“Kraft is committed to providing high quality products that are
relevant to local markets and consumers’ taste preferences,”
Andrade said. “In support of this, we are partnering with the
top universities within China to identify and develop talent that will
become the future product/package developers for the China market.”
Andrade said he and other Kraft Foods executives view the company’s
participation in the program as an investment in human capital.
“Programs like the University of Illinois-Tsinghua/China Agricultural
University internship provide the opportunity to grow the food science
and engineering talent pool within China. By investing in the academic
future of these young scientists and engineers, companies like Kraft
Foods can ensure the products we provide for the Chinese consumer meet
with their taste and nutritional expectations.”