Webster, Harbin Universities Start Joint Language Program

Chinese students will study English at Webster's home campus

Webster officials meet representatives from Harbin UniversitySt. Louis - Webster University has entered into a student exchange agreement with Harbin University, a highly-respected Chinese university, located just north of the Korean Peninsula and adjacent tosoutheastern Russia.

Under the agreement, Harbin students studying to become K-12 English language teachers will spend their junior and senior years at Webster University's School of Education, located on its home campus in St. Louis. The new arrangement is designed to help the students become fluent in the English language and gain additional skill in the art of teaching.   

Webster University Provost Julian Schuster signed documents with Vice President Fan Qian of Harbin University at Webster's main campus in Webster Groves on Aug. 8.

“Webster is a truly international university, one that recognizes the value of creating global citizens prepared for the increasingly-connected world that awaits them,” said Julian Schuster, Provost, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “This agreement will further increase our student's exposure to different cultures and values and enhance their understanding of how the citizens of the world interact.”

Under the terms of the agreement, a new program will be created where the English language teaching students will study in Harbin during their first two years in Harbin's undergraduate program. Credits earned during that time will then be transferred to Webster in the students' third year, where the students will complete their bachelor's degrees in education. Upon completion, the students will each earn a double bachelor's degree, with one BA from Harbin and the other from Webster's School of Education.

“My understanding is that both the local government at Harbin and the provincial government in China are committed to increasing English use throughout the province in their K through 12 school system, so there is a high demand for English language instructors there,” said Brenda Fyfe, dean of the School of Education. “There already is a team of instructors from both Harbin and Webster working together on the curriculum and standards for this program.” 

In early August, Harbin University Vice President Fan Qian, Ge Baoxiang, the dean of Harbin's Foreign Language School, and Harbin Professor Wang Lei met with several Webster University deans and Provost Schuster to discuss the program and sign the agreement. 

It's anticipated that the first Harbin students will arrive on the Webster Groves campus in 2014.

Harbin University is located in the extreme northeast of China. The City of Harbin is located near Vladivostok, Russia and North Korea. The province, Heilongjiang, is one of the most productive agriculture areas in all of China, and the soil and climate is often compared to the agricultural areas of Central Illinois and Ohio.

Webster University operates programs in three other cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu. The Shanghai Joint MBA Program with Shanghai University of Finance and Economics has graduated more than 1,500 students from the program since its start in 1996. The Chengdu Joint MBA with University of Electronic Science and Technology China is 10 years old and is the only international non-Chinese language MBA program in all of west and southwest China.  

With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University (www.webster.edu) is the only Tier 1, private, non-profit U.S.-based university providing a network of international residential campuses and a robust online learning program. Founded in 1915, Webster University's campus network today includes metropolitan, military and corporate locations around the world, as well as traditional residential campuses in Asia, Europe and North America. A campus in Africa is expected to open in the near future. The university is committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.