Faculty Spends Summer in Hong Kong to Share Expertise

Two Ursinus faculty members shared their expertise in innovative teaching and course design with faculty at Hong Kong Baptist University this past summer. The visit was part of a broad strategy to globalize the Ursinus campus, and fits with China’s move toward the liberal arts in higher education.

Talia Argondezzi, Director of the Center for Writing and Speaking at Ursinus, and Jennifer Round,  Assistant Professor of Biology & Neuroscience, presented “Tools for Active Student Learning” a series of faculty development workshops for the General Education Program at Hong Kong Baptist University. The workshops helped HKBU faculty rethink the way they teach, from course content, to delivery methods, to writing assignments.

The Ursinus faculty members say the collaboration has great potential. “Many general education instructors at HKBU still teach in the traditional lecture /exam format, so it was useful for them to discuss new ideas,” said Dr. Round. “We also saw some HKBU syllabi that may inspire us here at Ursinus with exciting new ideas for interdisciplinary courses.”

The summer visit was one of several collaborations involving Ursinus and Chinese faculty and students. Last spring, Associate Professor of English Meredith Goldsmith and two Ursinus students, Christine Saraco and Codey Young, consulted at Lingnan University through the Teaching and Learning Initiative funded by the Mellon Foundation.  Elizabeth Ho, an Ursinus English professor who was teaching at Lingnan, invited them to train Lingnan students to provide constructive feedback to faculty. Also, Dr. Kenneth Li,  a faculty member at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, participated in CIE training this summer and shared the structure and readings of his own CIE-like course in the sciences with Ursinus faculty.

As part of our developing partnership with these institutions, the Ursinus-Hong Kong Gen Ed Project is currently recruiting Ursinus faculty to teach in the Summer Session at Lingnan University. Faculty will design summer courses that will complement the current Lingnan curriculum.  Ursinus will be named a “benchmark” school for Lingnan University.

Last year Dr. Bobby Fong was invited by Lingnan and Hong Kong Baptist universities to speak about general education. He also spoke to 300 high school students in Guangzhou about opportunities to study at U.S. colleges.  Fourteen students from China are part of the Class of 2018.