|by Howard Hewitt • February 17, 2012|
One of the first orders of business after President Patrick White and other college leaders visited China in mid-October was to arrange for an exchange visit.
Professor Lizhu Fan, Dean of the School of Social Development and Public Policy, and Professor Na Chen of the School of Communications at Fudan University, will be on campus for three days beginning Monday to meet members of the Wabash community. Each professor will also deliver a public lecture.
President White, Dean of the College Gary Phillips, the College’s first tenure-track professor in Chinese Qian Pullen, and Economics Professor Kay Widdows visited Fudan and East China Normal University in mid-October.
Fudan leaders enthusiastically welcomed the Wabash leadership and delved into possible agreements for exchange. The Chinese educators expressed a strong desire to learn more about the liberal arts and how to measure its success.
"After enjoying the hospitality of Fudan University in Shanghai last October, we are very glad to be able to welcome Dean Fan and Dr. Chen to Wabash College,” President Patrick White said. “Fudan is one of China's greatest universities, and we are glad to have the opportunity to share the Wabash experience of distinguished liberal arts education for men with our colleagues from Fudan.
“Wabash has found in Fudan University a partner with a great interest in the Wabash mission to educate men to think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively, and live humanely.”
Fudan, one of China’s oldest and most prestigious university, entered a memorandum of understanding with Wabash to lay the ground work for cooperation between the two colleges in developing Wabash’s new Asian Studies program.
“We know this connection between us will help the students, faculty, and staff of both Fudan and Wabash enrich our learning and expand our shared experiences as border crossers and citizens of the world,” White said. “All of Wabash joins me in welcoming our distinguished visitors.”
An interesting twist to the visit is that Professor Chen will join the Wabash faculty as a visiting professor in the fall and offer classes in the Religion and Rhetoric departments. Chen is an expert in intercultural communication. He is the Director of the Fudan-London School of Economics joint Master’s program in Global Media and Communication.
Chen’s public presentation will be at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in Center 216. His talk is titled “Created Equal or Born Equal?” A pizza lunch will be offered.
Dean Fan will make a public presentation at 5:30 p.m. Monday in Center 216. Her talk will be title “Religious Revival and Development in Contemporary China.”
Dean Fan (at left) is known for her work in the historical and ethnographic studies of Chinese folk religious beliefs, the exploration of theories on the sociology of religion, and the study of the trends of folk religious beliefs in modern Chinese society. She has been widely published in academic journals. She is also the director of a research project funded by the Ford Foundation studying the participation of folk religious organizations in modern social life in rural Hebei and Zhejiang.
You can learn more about the Wabash visit to Fudan in 2011 by reading Dean Phillips blog reports from the trip here.
Wabash College received a $750,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish — in collaboration with DePauw University — faculty and curricular development in Asian Studies. The program will be entitled Asian Studies and the Liberal Arts.