Senior administrators from joint-venture universities in China have agreed to foster greater cooperation among their institutions in areas including student recruitment, faculty and staff development, and research exchange programs.

The agreement came at the first annual workshop of the Joint Venture University Administrators Group, which Duke Kunshan hosted in late November.

In addition to Duke Kunshan, the group includes the University of Nottingham Ningbo, New York University Shanghai, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) and Wenzhou-Kean University.

Discussions at the inaugural workshop focused on quality assurance, staff recruitment and retention, and the main challenges facing joint-venture universities. Representatives also discussed how to build a collaborative framework.

“Creating platforms for university administrators to share ideas and best practice is very important, especially for schools like ours which are breaking fresh ground,” said Katherine Robertson, Duke Kunshan’s director of faculty affairs, who co-organized the workshop with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

“The delegates all contributed to an insightful discussion on how we can communicate in the future and adapt to new challenges to ensure our students continue to receive a high-quality education.”

The group promised to share ideas and best practice on professional development, facilitate faculty networking, develop collaborative strategies for student recruitment, and offer opportunities for students to present research to external audiences.

Representatives also backed plans to organize a conference in the 2020-21 academic year.

“The growth of TNE (Transnational Education), and especially the success of Sino-foreign collaborations within China is an indication of the innovative and creativity that we all share in our thinking. Too often however the JVU’s within China have ploughed a lone furrow, but if there is one takeaway from the first JVU conference it is that this need not be the case. Many of the issues are the same, as can be many of the solutions and successes. Individually we have a vast pool of talent and resources, as we see in our everyday endeavors, but together we have the potential to make real change to higher education in China and beyond. Let us move forward now together to meet the coming challenges that education brings, especially those that are currently faced as a result of industry 4.0 in the medium term, but also the immediate threat of COVID-19,” said Stuart Perrin, dean for international affairs at XJTLU.

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