LA JUNTA – Five college vice presidents from the Jiangsu Province of China visited Otero Junior College on March 5 as a part of a 17-week fellowship developed by the United Education Alliance in partnership with the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
The fellowship is intended to assist the vice presidents, who are each slated to become college presidents in China, in learning about American higher education and the programs and operations of host campuses, neighboring universities and community colleges. Upon their return to China, the Fellows will develop new initiatives, programs, or policies for implementation at their home universities based on their experiences.
Participating in the visit were Jin-hong Liu of Nantong Vocational College; Lixin Qu of Wuxi City College of Vocational Technology; Guozhen Zhuang of Changzhou Institute of Mechantronic Technology; Sulin Shen of Wuxi Institute of Commerce; Qintang Zhang of Jiangyin Polytechnic College; and Robert Wonnett and Kathy Griffith, program coordinators from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
Two-year colleges do not exist in China, which instead has three-year programs. The visits to community colleges during the fellowship were planned to showcase how these institutions fit into the American system of higher education.
While at OJC, the Fellows met with campus administrators and program leaders to exchange information on their respective university systems. A tour of campus highlighted the programs and facilities at OJC, including the Learning Commons and the nursing simulation lab. The Fellows explored the Koshare Indian Kiva and Museum before attending a luncheon with students from the President’s Leadership Program, which concluded the visit. The students provided their perspective and college experiences with the Fellows.
Jim Rizzuto, president of Otero Junior College, explained that OJC was privileged to be included in the Fellows’ site visitations. “This was a great opportunity for our visitors from China and UCCS and OJC administration to share ideas on best practices in higher education,” said Rizzuto. “It also provided an opportunity to discuss partnerships in the future for possible exchange programs for students from China and OJC.”
In addition to the visit to OJC, the Fellows have visited several other institutions, including the various University of Colorado campuses and Trinidad State Junior College.