An external review of the UM-SJTU Joint Institute was held on October 23-24 with resounding success!! The
review panel members include:
Steven McLaughlin, Vice Provost for International Initiatives from Georgia Institute of Technolology,
DebasishDutta, Dean of the Graduate College, Vice President of University of Illinois at Urbana－Champaign,
Stephen Director, Provost from Northeastern University,
Peigen Li, President of Huazhong University of Science and Technology.
Prof. James Holloway, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education of the College of Engineering from the University of Michigan and JI leaders also attended the review.
And Directors of various departments in Ministry of Education of China and Shanghai Municipal Education Commission served as observers.
It has been more than five years since the Joint Institute was established in April 2006. In order to meet the goals and mission of the Institute, to examine the results of the past development, and to fine tune the direction for future endeavor, JI Board of Directors has decided to hold an external review. During the two days, the panel had heard reports on JI’s accomplishments in the past five years, current undergraduate and graduate education programs, research directions, faculty recruitment and governance, administration affairs, and undergraduate research programs. In addition, the panel had toured several research laboratories, met with JI staff and students, and had a round table discussion with faculty members.
The review panel came to the following conclusions:
*JI has grown tremendously in the past five years and has developed a very strong program.
* The quality of students and faculty is excellent.
* Faculty and students show high enthusiasm for the program. Students are eager for Michigan experience. International education is a big draw of JI.
* JI is impacting SJTU in a positive way, such as the adoption of Vg100 and Honor Code System in SJTU. This met one of JI’s goals as the model of SJTU.
* JI has evolved from what was envisioned five years ago with new initiative, such as presence of tenure-track faculty. JI’s adaptability is a strength.
The review panel made the following recommendations:
(1) It is time to step back and reexamine the visions and goals of both partners. A strategic planning is necessary before moving forward.
(2) JI should focus on specific research areas that it can excel and hire faculty accordingly. JI should establish State Key Labs in one or two strategic areas in a top- to-down fashion.
(3) Quality distance learning should be considered as a way to grow course offerings.
(4) JI should review dual-degree program in about three years to see what improvement may be made. Perhaps not all dual-degree pairings should be offered in view of the amount of time and energy involved in dual-degree advising.
(5) JI may try to request a special quota for graduate students from Ministry of Education so JI would not use the quota of SJTU.
(6) There are no departments in JI, which is a strength. Faculty members should be encouraged to work together in research areas.
Dexiu Ma, Chairperson of University Council, expressed her gratitude to the External Review Panel. She fully agreed with the panel’s recommendations and felt it is time for next five-year strategic planning. She acknowledged JI’s accomplishments in the past five years as the pilot in higher education and model of international education, which has great impact not only on SJTU but also on other Chinese universities. She relayed Ministry of Education’s praise of JI as unique among the nation’s 1300 international programs. She is confident that JI will continue to grow and improve. With the global strategies of SJTU, she promised that the University will continue to support JI as much as possible.
Madame Ma and President Zhang Jie attending the JI External Review Report Session