Thirteen students from Shanghai Normal University (SNU) joined the incoming Chapman University 2018 Ph.D. in Education cohort this week, beginning courses on Chapman’s Orange campus.

Attallah Dr. Dawn Hunter, Dr. Kelly Kennedy, and Dean Margaret Grogan met with SNU students in Shanghai in July 2018

Attallah College’s Dr. Dawn Hunter, Dr. Kelly Kennedy, and Dean Margaret Grogan (seated front row) met with SNU students in Shanghai in July 2018

The students, enrolled in the Attallah College of Educational Studies Ph.D. in Education program, are part of a Chapman-SNU three-year pilot program, the first of its kind at Chapman.

The SNU students will spend their first year living and studying in Orange County, taking courses side-by-side their fellow US-based students on the Chapman campus. In year two, the students will return to China and complete their remaining PhD courses under a hybrid model. While their courses will be primarily online, Attallah College faculty will also visit the SNU campus for in-person instruction. During their final year, the SNU students will remain in China while completing their research and doctoral dissertations.

“This joint venture with SNU gives us the opportunity to reach a new cohort of Ph.D. students in an international market and collaborate with a top-ranked university in China. In addition, our US Ph.D. students will have the opportunity to study along-side a group of highly qualified and highly motivated international students,” said Chapman’s Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Glenn Pfeiffer.

Advancing Educational Best Practices

Dr. Kelly Kennedy, Attallah College’s Associate Dean of Graduate Education, believes the Chapman-SNU international exchange will have long-term benefits: “This is an exciting opportunity for both our US-based and Chinese students, allowing each to explore global education issues. Our students and faculty will learn more about effective, real-world educational practices in other countries.”

The SNU students, who are all enrolled in Chapman’s Ph.D. leadership emphasis program, are faculty or administrative professionals from private universities in the Shanghai area.

As working professionals, the SNU students can share insights about private higher education institutions in China, explained Dr. Kennedy. All the Chapman Ph.D. students will benefit from exposure to global education models and practical approaches.

Li Li, who is the Director of the International Exchange Office at Shanghai’s Sanda University, the first private university established in the People’s Republic of China, is looking forward to learning research design, process, and methodology as part of her Ph.D. studies.

“I teach intercultural business communication to international students, so my international experiences this year will enrich my teaching content and bring fresh air to my class,” said Li Li.

Jing (Nancy) Zhang, who teaches English at Shanghai Sipo Polytechnic, believes this experience will help to advance educational reform and make positive changes in education in China.

Yuanyuan (Luna) Zhang, a teacher in the International School of Medical Technology at Sanda University, agreed: “We want to develop deeper methodologies to improve the effectiveness of education, for instance, to improve teacher’s leadership and know how to allocate teaching resources effectively.”

Full Attallah Ph.D. in Education 2018 cohort on the first day of class in August 2018

Full Attallah Ph.D. in Education 2018 cohort on the first day of class in August 2018

Opportunities for Research and Collaboration

Attallah’s Director of the Ph.D. in Education Program, Dr. Dawn Hunter also sees the partnership as fertile ground for new research, “We hope to see collaborative, international research projects blossom from this pilot program.”

Ultimately, the leadership of both institutions feel all the students and faculty involved will benefit from broader exposure to educational practices in other parts of the world.

“This can only strengthen our commitment to teaching students to have a global perspective, resulting in better educational leaders in the US as well as China,” said Dr. Pfeiffer.

Display Image at Top: Shanghai Normal University delegation visited Chapman University in June 2018 to formalize new partnership