West Virginia University has entered into a partnership with Tianjin University of Finance & Economics, paving the way for the “sister” schools in their application to establish a Confucius Institute at WVU. If that application is successful, WVU will join an elite group of colleges and universities around the globe that operate a Confucius Institute, providing high-quality instruction in Chinese language and culture, economic and business development, and international trade.

The Confucius Institute will also contribute to WVU’s goal of increased global engagement as part of its 2020 Strategic Plan. The formal partnership was signed Dec. 12 with Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, which will provide support for management, operations and teaching.

WVU Provost Michele Wheatly said the Confucius Institute enables successful communication and international relationship building.

“This will be a great asset for WVU as we continue to redefine what it means to be a land-grant institution in the 21st century,” Wheatly said. “Thoughtful, intentional global engagement – which is just what a Confucius Institute facilitates – is key to our mission and our future.”

Jose Sartarelli, WVU’s Chief Global Officer and Milan Puskar Dean of the College of Business and Economics, said the institute will operate with the support of Hanban, also known as the Office of Chinese Language Council International.

“The Confucius Institute at West Virginia University (CIWVU) will not only promote understanding modern day China through the study of Chinese language and culture, but will also enhance programs that already exist within WVU and our University community,” said Sartarelli. “Additionally, it will provide avenues for educational opportunities, such as student exchange programs and a more comprehensive understanding of business and business relationships in China.”

Sartarelli said that a driving force behind establishing the Confucius Institute was that of WVU’s 2020 Strategic Plan, which outlines the advancement of international activity and global engagement through the promotion of international partnerships in education, research, outreach and economic development that benefit university constituents and the state.

Housed within the College of Business and Economics, the Confucius Institute will work in conjunction with the Center for Chinese Business and the Stuart M. and Joyce N. Robbins Center for Global Business and Strategy 20/21. The Center for Chinese Business was established in 1994 to provide international management education, business facilitation and research services. During its first 20 years, the Center has formed many mutually advantageous partnerships with government, educational organizations and businesses in which all parties have achieved value for their participation. The Robbins Center was designed to provide B&E students with unique opportunities such as student assistantships and exchanges as WVU establishes partnerships with universities in G20 countries.

“The Confucius Institute is a great fit with WVU’s roadmap for the future,” Sartarelli said, “as well as activities within the Center for Chinese Business, the Robbins Center and others within the University and our region. Programs at the centers currently include government visits, the export management program, academic exchange and executive training programs for Chinese officials. There are other programs outside of the University setting as well, such as those we have with the West Virginia Department of Commerce, the Morgantown High School Chinese Language Optional Course and the Morgantown Chinese Language School.”

The institute will also work in concert with WVU Academic Innovation, formerly WVU Extended Learning, in the development of online courses and programs.

CIWVU will be modeled after the London Confucius Institute at SOAS, University of London. There are currently 71 such institutes in the U.S., with two of the closest being at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Maryland. Other Big 12 schools with institutes include the University of Kansas and the University of Oklahoma.

For further information on the WVU College of Business and Economics, please visit be.wvu.edu.



Contact: Patrick Gregg, WVU College of Business and Economics
304.293.5131, Patrick.Gregg@mail.wvu.edu

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