Featured Partner: Hangzhou Normal University

In one of China’s most beautiful cities, a strategic partnership between Georgia State University and Hangzhou Normal University (HNU) has taken root. The partnership is fitting, given the strong similarities between the two universities: robust faculty research, particularly in the sciences; active study abroad participation; and strong administrative support to foster international partnerships.

Since 2010, the Georgia State/HNU partnership has blossomed from a Letter of Intent (a non-binding agreement to work together in the future) to a campus-wide partnership. “Hangzhou Normal University is a great strategic partner for Georgia State, and we welcome opportunities to find partnerships for our faculty, students, and staff,” says Dr. Jun Liu, associate provost for international initiatives at Georgia State.

Hangzhou Normal University: Be Loyal, Diligent, Realistic and Creative

The state-of-the-art gym at Hangzhou Normal University

The state-of-the-art gym at Hangzhou Normal University

HNU was founded in 1908 as the Zhejiang Level-2 Normal School and was formerly called Hangzhou Normal College. Today, HNU focuses its coursework on teacher education and arts, liberal arts, social sciences, and sciences. With nearly 20,000 students and nearly 1,400 full-time faculty, HNU offers a wealth of opportunities to engage in research, scholarship, and extracurricular pursuits. At the core of each of these endeavors is the University motto, “Be loyal, diligent, realistic and creative.”

Hangzhou, with a population of nearly 9 million, is the capital city of Zhejiang Province. The city and region are known for their stunning scenery and historic charm; a popular Chinese saying is “Heaven above, Suzhou and Hangzhou below,” attesting to the city’s beauty.

Georgia State/HNU Points of Pride

In July 2013, Georgia State will welcome 34 HNU students, under the guidance of Professor Guoqing Liang, for the inaugural year of the Summer Institute, a four-week credit-bearing program designed specifically for international students. HNU students will enroll in two, 3-credit classes, including a mandatory “Academic Writing” course. Students can choose from biology, English, art history, or public speaking as their elective course, with the latter courses providing cross-cultural opportunities with Georgia State classmates. Students will live in the Commons and explore Atlanta-area attractions, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Centennial Olympic Park, and Amnicalola Falls in north Georgia. The Summer Institute not only provides HNU students with an immersive experience in Atlanta, but also provides Georgia State students with an opportunity to develop cross-cultural competence.

In September 2012, President Mark Becker signed an agreement to establish a faculty mentoring program. Under this agreement, three to five HNU faculty members will come to Georgia State to shadow a faculty member. The ultimate goal is to prepare HNU faculty to teach similar courses on their home campus. The first group of faculty members from HNU will arrive in 2014.

A Hangzhou Normal University biology student works alongside her Georgia State mentor as they conduct research in the lab.

A Hangzhou Normal University biology student works alongside her Georgia State mentor as they conduct research in the lab.

In Summer 2012, Georgia State welcomed 12 biology students and one faculty member for a six-week program centered on the students’ lab experiences. Each student was partnered with a Georgia State mentor and worked in tandem on projects in the lab, such as measuring the toxic effects of three new drugs on cancer cells. The students lived in on-campus housing and experienced Atlanta’s cultural attractions, including 4th of July fireworks at Centennial Olympic Park. Jiajin Wei, an HNU student, shared, “I would like to convey my heartfelt thanks to Georgia State University and Hangzhou Normal University to give me the chance to study abroad. It is the unforgettable experience in my life.”

For inquiries on establishing a new partnership, or for questions on an existing partnership agreement, please contact Ms. Kike Ehigiator, director of international initiatives and partnerships, at kehigiator@gsu.edu.