International Educator - May/June 2012 - 45
ways to support the State Department’s “100,000 Strong Initiative” to boost the number of U.S. students studying in China. Northwestern created a hybrid program along with Wanxiang America Corporation, a highly successful Chinese auto parts company that also builds solar and wind storage equipment. During spring quarter 2012, the first group of approximately 15 Wanxiang Fellows will visit Wanxiang in Elgin, Illinois, and attend classes in Evanston led by field director and adjunct professor Mark Petri. Petri will discuss global energy production options, getting students “to think critically about information they receive so they can go to China in a better situation to assess what they observe and ask tough questions.” For six weeks in the summer, these Wanxiang Fellows will then complete two full-credit courses at Northwestern’s campus in Beijing and work on research or projects at Wanxiang’s solar manufacturing plant, electric vehicle battery factory or energy storage stations in Hangzhou, China. The fellows will return to Evanston and present their projects to faculty and students. With the exception of housing and tuition in Beijing, Wanxiang is funding the fellows for five years beginning in 2012. Dévora Grynspan, director of international program development at Northwestern, sees the Wanxiang Fellows program as a new education abroad opportunity for students who are interested in environmental issues but are often underrepresented in international programs because of the lack of professionally relevant opportunities. Petri believes it is “invaluable for students who want to have a global perspective on social, political, and technical issues to have the experience of going to these places…so they can incorporate it in their careers as journalists, teachers, social scientists, political scientists.” Northwestern President Morton Schapiro calls the program an “economist’s dream, a mutually advantageous trade that involves the not-for-profit and private sectors and is good for Northwestern, the U.S., and China.” Petri is already one step ahead, working to bring U.S. and Chinese students together in a technical collaboration between Wanxiang and Argonne National Laboratory, where he is technology development director. Iowa State University is also taking advantage of a federal initiative with an Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) Title VI/Global Pathways grant to combine sustainability issues and world cultures. In a new collaboration between the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, students
will be able to complete a Global Resource Systems major with a minor in a foreign language. The Global Resource Systems major allows students to specialize in a technical competency (e.g., livestock, aquaculture, energy, human resources) and a world region. The grant specifically will be used to develop courses, internships, experiential learning opportunities overseas, and information exchanges among faculty. One such information exchange workshop already has faculty from the College of Engineering talking about ways to have students help gather data on overseas development projects. “Many NGOs complete a project, say water development, and find it’s not working two to three years later. There is a high failure rate. We want to try to design projects that are more sustainable,” says
Students building with earth plaster as part of a sustainability project in Israel.
M AY + J U N E . 12 InternatIonal educator