Agreement Signed with Qufu Normal University

By: Kevin Spensley

Qufu Normal University's Vice President Hu Qingxue shaking hands with Saint Michael's College's Dr. Karen Talentino. Also representing QNU are Prof. Cao Li and Prof. Li Shanyang. From Saint Michael's College are Dr. Benamin White, Dr. Elizabeth O'Dowd, and Dr. Mahmoud Arani, with Dr. Wang.

Saint Michael’s College recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Qufu Normal University (QNU) in Shandong Province, China.

According to the terms of the memorandum, Qufu graduate students will complete one year of study in China before transferring to the MATESOL Program at Saint Michael’s College, where they will complete their degree. They will earn two Master’s degrees: one from Saint Michael’s College and one from Qufu Normal University.

“The agreement is intended to initiate a program of collaboration in the planning, development, and implementation of a joint Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages between Saint Michael’s College and the Chinese university,” said Mahmoud Arani, Chair of the Applied Linguistics Department at Saint Michael’s College.

According to Juefei Wang, a Professor Emeritus in Education of the University of Vermont, the demand for specialists in TESOL is growing in China, as more Chinese students are enrolling in English programs, and institutions are trying to meet that increasing demand. “St. Michael’s College enjoys a high international reputation in training of TESOL specialists, and it is an ideal institution for Chinese students to pursue professional knowledge and skills in that field,” Prof. Wang indicated.  

The partnership was agreed upon following a visit to Shandong Province in August 2017 by Dr. Arani and a visit by QNU's Vice President Hu Qingxue, Professor Cao Li, and Professor Li Shanyang to Saint Michael’s College in fall 2017.

“This partnership with Qufu Normal University represents an important part of Saint Michael’s College’s strategy of engaging with institutions outside the United States and providing a truly world-class education. I’m very excited about this initiative and look forward to the growth and evolution of the partnership,” said Karen Talentino, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Saint Michael’s College.

Qufu Normal University was founded in 1955. It offers programs at undergraduate, Master’s, and doctoral levels to 36,000 students across 25 colleges and two campuses. The older campus is in Qufu, the hometown of Confucius, the renowned Chinese philosopher and educator. The new campus is in Rizhao, a beautiful coastal city on the Pacific Ocean. Qufu Normal University is well known for its research on Confucian teachings that are still influential for Chinese culture today. The English programs from which graduate students will join St. Michael’s College for its MATESOL degree are housed in the School of Translation Studies.

Saint Michael’s College and the Applied Linguistics Department have been welcoming international students to our campus since 1954, when Hungarian freedom fighters immigrated to the United States, stopping first at Saint Michaels’s College to learn English. Since then our Applied Linguistics Department has trained more than 20,000 students from over 120 countries in English, and is internationally renowned in English-language training and TESOL.

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