International Educator - May/June 2012 - 122
terproof the foundation. Things like that happen all the time,” Blacker says. PKU “turned out to be a really fine partner for us. They did what they said they were going to do and were very easy to deal with. This was something they wanted to see happen, which was part of the reason it was as problem-free as it was. Stanford is the only outside entity to have a facility like this on their campus, and that in itself turned out to be very important,” Blacker declares.
To head the SPCKU as its executive director when it opened in March, Stanford hired Andrew Andreasen, who holds a master’s and doctorate from Stanford in Asia-related studies and has extensive experience in the region. Oi was named the Center’s faculty director. Looking back on the development of the Center, Blacker and Oi agree that there is little Stanford would have done differently. They cite several lessons that both universi-
ties learned from the experience that could be worthwhile for other institutions that might want to establish centers on foreign campuses. “You have to learn patience and also learn about bureaucracy. Both universities are bureaucracies, and there were lots of approvals and certain ways of doing things. Sometimes that could be challenging,” says Oi. It helped, she says, that Stanford had been represented on the PKU campus for several years before the project began, “so they knew us quite well. In beginning a relationship and establishing trust, it’s important to have a foothold there. You can’t just walk in.” Also critical, adds Blacker, is to “have a strong champion inside the partnering institution,” as Min Weifang was at PKU. “Having him as an internal champion made the difference. This would not have happened without his involvement,” Blacker says. It also might not have happened, they agree, without the champions on their home campus, including the seven deans who enthusiastically supported the initial idea for the Center. “That was very important. This could not have been done without support all the way up. I don’t think Stanford would have built it just for the few of us who specialize in China. It’s built to cater more to people who don’t know that much about China but would like to; to encourage them,” Oi says.
Value to campuses
Looking ahead, Stanford administrators and faculty, as well as students, see much value in what the SCPKU will allow them to do in China and beyond. “We have a lot of seminars, conferences, and workshops about Asia here at Stanford, which we will continue. But it’s been my thinking for several years that it’s time for us to go to Asia and talk to Asians and learn from Asia. It’s more convenient for Asians to come to a place in China than to California. The Center can be very useful to us as a place to hold events, not just about China but about other Asian issues, and invite Asians to them,” says Gi-Wook Shin, director of the Shorenstein APARC.
InternatIonal educator M AY + J U N E . 12