Last fall, Lyu and a contingent from Far East University visited URI’s Kingston Campus. Donald DeHayes, URI provost and vice president of academic affairs, hosted a lunch in their honor to explore the possibilities of common interests between the two universities.
“As outlined in our academic plan, Charting Our Path to the Future, one of our goals is to create global citizens. We want to strengthen the emphasis on global education across the curriculum and develop a model that expands our international/global programs, partnerships, and opportunities, “ explains DeHayes.
At the initial meeting, DeHayes and President Lyu agreed that neither was interested in simply developing showcase agreements, but rather in identifying partners with shared interests and enthusiasm to advance opportunities for students and faculty.
“We discovered common ground,” says DeHayes. “For example, both institutions are exploring opportunities related to renewable energy—solar energy at Far East University and wind energy at URI. Far East students have an interest in journalism, film, communications, nursing, theater, and business– all programs of study URI offers.
“Far East is offering an expanding number of courses taught in English that should be of interest to our students, such as entrepreneurship, tourism, education, and health science in addition to courses in the Korean language, culture, and social policy,” adds the provost.
Far East University has an initiative to have its students learn English and has expressed an interest not only in having its students study at URI, but also in hosting URI students so that its students could enhance their conversational English skills.
During yesterday’s visit to the Kingston campus to sign the agreement, the South Koreans spent an afternoon meeting with a number of URI faculty and toured URI’s Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences building.
The next step will likely be for a team from URI is to visit Far East University.
In 2009, 16 students at URI listed South Korea as their home country. Seven URI faculty members are from South Korea as are three staff members. In addition, URI has students, faculty, and staff of Korean ancestry.
David M. Dooley, president of the University of Rhode Island and Kee ll Lyu, president of Far East University, Eumsung, Chungbook, Republic of Korea hold signed agreements. The two presidents agreed to encourage and support visits from one university to another and explore learning, research, and teaching opportunities for their students and faculty members.
URI photo by Joe Giblin