The University of Minnesota’s China Center hosted more than 40 principals from Chinese schools and educational institutions for the first annual U.S. - China Principal’s Summit from Monday, April 28 - May 1.
The mission of the first Sino – U.S. Educator Forum: U.S. - China Principals Summit, was to gather educators from China and the United States to comprehensively discuss the theme of education collaboration between their countries. Government officials, scholars and business people from the state of Minnesota joined the educators to contribute their knowledge and expertise to the forum. Hot topics included how to integrate the arts into school and college preparation for high school seniors.
The four day summit required the attendees to follow a rigorous schedule of activities that included a tour of Minneapolis, an opening ceremony along with many daily sessions that were broken up with appropriate tea breaks, lunches and dinners along with some evening socializing events.
Following is a partial list of the topics that were presented just during the first work day of this forum. Past & Future: the University of Minnesota’s Collaboration & Exchange with China, Yongwei Zhang, Ph.D., director of the University of Minnesota China Center. Chinese Approaches to High School Education, Lin Weiping, director of the Wenzho Education Bureau. From the Eyes of a U.S. Superintendent: Comparing the Chinese and U.S. School Culture, John Currie, superintendent of the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District. Definition and Evaluation of Excellent Students in China, Fu Jinghai, principal, Daqing Experimental Middle School. Admission Standards and Policies for Chinese Students at Top U.S. Universities, Jim Rowan, assistant director of the University of Minnesota Office of Admissions and Jennifer Wu, Ph.D., assistant director of the University of Minnesota China Center.
The Summit also scheduled a number of break-out sessions that discussed the following topics: Educator’s role in facilitating Sino-U.S. education cooperation,
Future trends of Sino-U.S. Education Cooperation, and The Demand, Obstacles and Solutions for U.S.-China Education Cooperation.
The last day of the event also included tours of local schools including the Buffalo Community Middle School, Eden Prairie Public Schools, Minneapolis South High School, Rosemount Area High Schools and other metro schools.
During a telephone interview with Superintendent John Currie after he made his presentation From the Eyes of a U.S. Superintendent… Mr. Currie stated that he cautioned the audience that there were definite differences between Chinese and U.S. School Culture and comparing them should be done carefully. He commented that the Chinese placed a greater emphasis on education and that parents were more committed than most U.S. parents in seeing that their children concentrate on their education. This may be attributed China’s one child policy and the competitive situation to acceptance at Chinese universities. He was disappointed that there was not an opportunity for a Q & A session after his presentation since he commented that there was much more interaction with some of the Chinese educators that visited several of his schools on the last day of the summit.
"Governmental and nongovernmental support of education is more important today than it has ever been in both countries and this summit has helped educators support each other," said Meredith McQuaid, associate vice president and dean of International Programs, "We are confident that participating principals of U.S. and Chinese high schools have come away from this summit with big ideas and a renewed appreciation for how much more we can accomplish together."
The closing ceremony was held as a dinner event, starting with a casual social. The program began with University of Minnesota associate vice president and dean of International Programs, Meredith McQuaid, congratulating the delegates. China Center Director, Dr. Yongwei Zhang, and ACEF Vice President, Mr. Jia Li, also spoke briefly. Appreciation plaques were presented to one Chinese delegate and the three organizations that have partnered with the China Center on this forum.
The China Center and the American-China Education Foundation partnered with the College of Education and Human Development, the College Readiness Consortium and the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals to make the event possible.