Mount Explores Partnership with Jackson, China

January 22, 2012

The University of Mount Union is currently exploring a partnership with Jackson Local Schools in Jackson, Ohio and No. 1 High School of Liaocheng in Shandong Province, People’s Republic of China.
Jackson Local Schools, which offers Chinese courses to its students, has a long-standing relationship with No. 1 High School of Liaocheng, and wants to further strengthen the relationship with a small, private university in Ohio. Representatives from the three schools met on Friday, January 13 to discuss a possible educational partnership.
“The goal of the visit was to explore a potential partnership between Mount Union, Jackson High School and No. 1 High School of Liaocheng,” said Dr. Jennifer Hall, chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and cultures, faculty director of the Center for Global Education and associate professor of foreign languages and cultures at Mount Union. “This partnership would create additional international opportunities for our students and faculty.”
While on Mount Union’s campus, representatives from Jackson Local Schools (Susan Gardner, director of alternate programming and Linda Salom, secondary curriculum coordinator) and No. 1 High School of Liaocheng (Zhenlin Zhao, vice principal and  Yonghui Ren, teacher) met with the University’s Center for Global Education, enrollment services and academic affairs staffs. In addition, they had a guided campus tour and met with Mount Union President Dr. Richard F. Giese.
As a follow-up to the campus visit, Hall will be meeting with Gardner and Salom to discuss ways in which Mount Union and Jackson High School can work together on future international educational endeavors.
On the academic front, Jackson High School is currently creating an academy for global studies, which will focus on global studies, community service, international projects and language study. Dr. Frank Triplett, professor of French at Mount Union, sits on the World Languages Community Advisory Board for Jackson High School and delivered the keynote address for Jackson High School’s Global Professions for the 21st Century night in October. The event showcased the relevancy of foreign languages for various professions.
The University of Mount Union will launch The Discover China Program, a multi-faceted Chinese cultural program in the fall of 2012, which is being funded by Jim and Pam Griffith. Jim is a member of the Mount Union Board of Trustees and serves as president and chief executive officer of The Timken Company. Students enrolled in the program will study Mandarin Chinese culture and language as well as live with a native Chinese language speaker in a Chinese theme house on Mount Union’s campus. Having this daily interaction with a native language speaker will allow students to speak the language and learn about the Chinese culture first hand. At the end of the students’ first year (two semesters) in the program, they will travel to China in the summer to study and participate in a service-learning project at an orphanage near and dear to the Griffiths’ hearts.
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