University looks for ‘uncovered ground’ abroad

Photo courtesy of Bob Lochte

Meghann Anderson
Staff writer

Jay Morgan, associate provost, led a group of five faculty members on Sept. 2 to Qingdao, China to visit Qingdao Agriculture University.
The delegation consisted of Morgan, Jim Carter, vice president of institutional advancement; Tim Todd, dean of business; Bob Lochte, chair of journalism and mass communications; and Alyx Shultz, assistant professor of equine science.
Morgan said Qingdao officials approached Murray State about modeling its equine program after the one at Murray State.
QAU enrolls approximately 26,000 students and is located on the eastern coast of China by the Yellow Sea. It is the largest agricultural university in the Shandong province.
QAU also has an interest in purchasing horses from Kentucky to help better its equine program.
“We have a small program going,” Xidan Lian, graduate student from Qingdao, China, said. “We want teachers and graduate students to teach how to compete horses and how to train them.”
Morgan said QAU is looking to send a group of faculty to Murray State for training within the next six to eight months.
“As of now, we get about 50 students from Qingdao University,” Morgan said.  “If we can offer a MBA at Qingdao, it could help with recruitment and revenue.”
The group of faculty members spoke to QAU about using the university as a site for some of Murray State’s discovery programs for study abroad purposes, he said.
“We haven’t locked down the details yet,” Morgan said. “This is a good opportunity for our study abroad program. It will be the first program we have in mainland China.”
The program would utilize faculty working during the summer and winter terms, Morgan said.
Morgan said the group toured QAU’s campus, laboratories and facilities, met with the president of the university and looked at student housing to see where Murray State students and faculty would be housed if they go to the university for study abroad.
Another advancement the group made on its visit to QAU is the opportunity of having a MBA program.
“There are only six MBA programs in China, and four of them are in Hong Kong,” Lochte said. “If we can offer a MBA program over there, it would be such a great opportunity.”
He said he hopes for the program to be started soon, but knows language barriers are a problem. Students from Murray State do not know the Chinese language like students from China know the English language.
“This is another area where we’ve had great success: in taking an MBA program to other universities; we’ve had some history with that,” President Randy Dunn said. “The idea of these delegations, when they go, is to look at new ground that we might be able to uncover with institutions to figure out possibilities that exist and then where those emerge, then we’ll have staff in the various academic units continue discussions, put agreements together and get things started.”
Morgan said building a strong network with foreign universities is important to Murray State.
“You have to maintain the relationship and keep the lines of communication open,” Morgan said. “It’s been an ongoing relationship for several years and they are very pro MSU.”
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