Creating a diverse international experience for students is the goal of a partnership that connects Housatonic Community College (HCC) with Chinese educators.
The China initiative, now in its third year, is creating a relationship that benefits HCC students and attracts exchange students from China. William Griffin, Global Initiative and Partnerships Liaison, and Pam Pirog, Chair of the Business Department, noted that work since 2016 has resulted in a new online opportunity for students from China to earn an associate degree in accounting at HCC.
Pirog said that students from China have expressed the desire for accounting courses because they are seeking employment with good pay and the educational opportunities for them in China are more limited. A pathway program explored with the University of Bridgeport would allow students from China to continue on and get a Bachelor of Science degree. HCC also will be offering traditional Chinese language classes to meet the demand for Mandarin instruction.
Housatonic Community College Global Initiatives and Partnerships, a one-day conference planned on Tuesday, January 29 exposed visiting professors from China to the programs that HCC has to offer. Griffin noted that this year’s conference was the fifth one-day conference at HCC organized specifically for educators from China and past conferences have proven beneficial for collaborating on plans for the future.
The conference began in the Events Center and included an overview of the academic programs, with a focus on the College of Technology programs. A presentation on the power grid and clean energy was also provided by Dr. Ali Golbazi, chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Science at the University of New Haven. Dr. Haoyo Wang of Central Connecticut State University spoke about robotics and mechatronics technology.
Pirog noted that plans are in place to establish an independent study opportunity whereby HCC students can study in China and receive college credit. The Early Childhood Education department also is considering travel to China and a trip also is being organized for Spring Break 2021 for any student interested in seeing that area of the world.
Griffin credited Allen Chi, Deputy of China Programs at the University of New Haven, for helping to organize the first China conference and providing his services as a translator. Laying the foundation for the China initiative involved a 2017 trip to China to visit eight colleges attended by Griffin, Pirog, Charles Meyrick, Assistant Professor of Business and Economics, and Kyle Pepin, Instructor of Manufacturing Technology. Last spring, HCC hosted seven business and engineering professors from China from two and three-year schools. Curriculum, teaching strategies and team teaching were the focus of the visit.
Pirog said that there are numerous reasons to cultivate relationships with professors in China and develop a deeper understanding of education there. She noted that knowing Chinese is beneficial for students because there are a number of potential employers in the greater Bridgeport area that do business there. International experience and study abroad opportunities also give students marketable skills, an understanding of global business, and they offer resume-building experience.