University seeks Asian partnership

In the next several months, Murray State will announce its partnership with a new sister campus in Asia in order to cultivate a relationship similar to that existing between Murray State and the University of Regensburg in Germany.

Jay Morgan, vice president of Academic Affairs, said the University has several good relationships in Asia, but it is time for Murray State to turn one of those existing relationships into a partnership.

“Murray State has, for years, been active in Asia in its international recruitment and also in establishing partnerships with universities there,” Morgan said. “Going forward, it is our hope that we can establish a central location in Asia, possibly China, that will serve as both a top recruiting area, as well as a partnering university with which to deliver degrees at.”

While Morgan said the ultimate goal of this venture would be to provide opportunities for Murray State students to have a residential-style experience at a top-quality university in Asia, the secondary goal, he said, is to increase the University’s international student recruitment from the region.

“Many of the Asian universities have 20,000 – 30,000 students at each and we feel like we can recruit more,” he said. “We feel like it is time to focus in that region of the world and also to further enhance our recruitment there.”

An exploratory task force made up of representatives from Murray State’s constituents, including faculty, deans and chairs of Murray State have been deliberating for almost a month about which Asian university to partner with more exclusively.

Luis Canales, director of the Institute for International Studies and chair of the taskforce, said the group talked to several demographics on campus, in order to gauge the level of interest in this venture. He said in the next couple weeks he hopes to narrow the number of candidates and start in-depth conversations with potential partners.

Although the task force has not contacted any university yet, Canales said it has created a list of criteria for any potential partner. This includes looking at the overall quality of the school, the fit in terms of academic offerings, the safety and security in the country, how active the university has been with Murray State and its ability to offer courses in English.

He said Murray State already has a strong presence in Asian universities, including 12 partnerships with China, 11 in South Korea, four in Japan and two in Taiwan. The strong presence, he said, is reflected by the number of Asian students Murray State has on campus.

Canales said some of these relationships, however, are one-way, and he hopes through a stronger partnership to not only increase the Asian population on campus, but to also be able to send more Murray State faculty and students abroad.

“In Asia, we would most likely start with a faculty and student mobility program,” Canales said. “However, the potential is great in that region so we hope to expand beyond a purely faculty and student mobility program in future years. We would, for instance, be interested in offering a degree program overseas.”

Canales said the task force expects to make a recommendation to Morgan in October on which university to further partner with Murray State. The final announcement to the University would take place in November during International Week.


Story by Ben Manhanke, Assistant News Editor