Chapman University has been in serious talks with China’s Beijing Institute of Technology at Zhuhai (BITZH) to create a China-based campus partnering both schools. “Nothing is finalized yet, but both sides are very enthusiastic, and we are optimistic going forward that this joint venture may come to fruition,” said Daniele Struppa, Ph.D., Chapman’s chancellor, who traveled to China this past spring with James Coyle,Ph.D., director of Chapman’s Center for Global Education and Harold Hewitt, Chapman executive vice president and COO, to meet with officials from the Chinese university.
The proposal, “still in the talking stage,” according to Struppa, has yet to be presented for approval by Chapman’s Board of Trustees and would also need to be approved by both BITZH and the Chinese government.
China is experiencing a rapidly increasing demand for higher education – there are more than 11 million applicants to Chinese universities each year, but there is only a 24 percent enrollment rate (vs. 80 percent of college applicants in the United States), in large part because the universities don’t have enough openings to match the ever-growing need. Since the 1990s, the Chinese government has focused on recruiting internationally trained faculty and partnering with foreign institutions to develop Western-oriented education models. There are currently four Chinese/foreign joint-venture universities operating in China: Beijing Normal University with Hong Kong Baptist University, Zhejiang Wanli University with the University of Nottingham (U.K.), Xi’an Jiaotong with Liverpool University (U.K.), and East China Normal University with New York University. Chapman’s partnership with BITZH would become only the second such joint venture by a U.S. university.
It is hoped that the joint-venture campus would be located on or near the current BITZH campus in the city of Zhuhai, Guangdong Province. Guangdong is the most populous province in China; it is in the economically booming South China region, near Macau and Hong Kong via bridges, and offers easy access via highway, train and air.
BITZH, a financially independent college, was founded in 2004 and was provided with 800 acres of land, a third of which is currently utilized by existing facilities. It boasts a four-year undergraduate program and a total of 20,000 students. The college currently encompasses schools of information science and technology, chemical engineering, economics and management, science, computers, machinery and vehicles, aviation, foreign languages, design and art, physical education, and an international school (continuing education).
It is proposed that the joint BITZH/Chapman University would initially offer B.A. and B.S. degrees, with M.A., M.S., MBA and EMBA programs added later. The Argyros School of Business and Economics will probably be the first Chapman unit to establish a foothold on the Zhuhai site, with other academic units proposed to follow. We will bring you more details if and as this exciting proposal moves forward.