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UW-Eau Claire China trip provides partnership opportunities for business, nursing programs

November 21, 2012

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Interim Chancellor Gilles Bousquet with Kenneth Yu, president of 3M China, at the 3M China headquarters in Shanghai, China. The 3M visit included a comprehensive presentation on the company as well as a simulated tour of 3M products, and has the potential to yield internships for UW-Eau Claire students.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This news release was written by UW-Eau Claire senior journalism student Taylor Kuether, Grafton. Kuether spent two weeks as part of a UW-Eau Claire delegation charged with helping the university strengthen existing partnerships and establish new relationships with universities, businesses and alumni in China. To read more about the delegation's experiences on the trip, read blogs by Kuether and UW-Eau Claire Interim Chancellor Gilles Bousquet.

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire delegation to China returned last weekend from their two-week excursion, bringing with them possibilities for new partnerships.

The trip was the first on which deans from the College of Business and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences were included. Their presence was meant to foster new relationships with Chinese universities in the realms of business and health care.

Dr. Linda Young, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said that goal was reached.

"I saw potential at every site I visited," Young said. "There are possibilities for faculty exchanges, student exchanges, even doing a conference."

Young said there are also possibilities for e-learning and for courses that include travel to China.

Of the universities visited, Young said she was impressed by those that teach traditional Chinese medicine as part of the nursing curriculum.

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Dr. Linda Young, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, met with faculty from Jinan University's medical school in Guangzhou, China.

"There were three universities that had museums of traditional Chinese medicine that were very helpful," Young said. "The future of health care practice is combining both traditional Chinese practices and Western practices. Everyone's heading toward a more integrated or complementary approach."

Learning about traditional Chinese medicine is useful for American students, Young said.

"As our world continues to become more globalized, no matter where you're practicing there are culturally sensitive differences that come up," she said. "It's important for health care providers to be able to have cultural competency in their care and to be open to learning new ways of thinking and intervening based on global evidence."

Cultural competency also is important for UW-Eau Claire business students and would be an important aspect of student internship and exchange programs in China, said Dr. Tim Vaughan, interim associate dean of the College of Business and a professor of management.

"Our students would learn about business practices and operations in China," Vaughan said. "The whole point to an internship is to experience the workplace; that's the part you can't replicate in a classroom."

The trip was helpful to the College of Business in beginning to set up opportunities in China for UW-Eau Claire students, Vaughan said.

"From the perspective of the College of Business in particular, we went to explore student exchange interests, internships and faculty exchange opportunities," Vaughan said. "This trip was really involved with that first step, making the contacts to see which companies have a position that may work for a student."

Several companies may be able to offer internships to UW-Eau Claire students, Vaughan said. W.S.M. Fashion Co. Ltd., a clothing manufacturing company in Zhuhai; Plexus Co. Ltd., an electronics company in Hangzhou; and 3M China and Schneider National Inc. in Shanghai all were receptive to the possibility of internships.

"We're at the stage where we're all in agreement and yes, we could do it, but there's still a lot to be worked out," Vaughan said. "The goal was to make some initial contacts, get on some people's radar, get to know them to the point where they want to work with us."

Interim Chancellor Gilles Bousquet said he hopes partnerships can be forged in Hangzhou specifically, where two other UW System schools — UW-Madison and UW-River Falls — already have partnerships at Zhejiang International Studies University.

"It seems that we already have a strong connection with Hangzhou," Bousquet said. "Maybe there can be some synergies between our various universities that can help support the visibility of Wisconsin and bring in some new knowledge."

Chancellor Bousquet said he was particularly impressed with Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, where Dr. Young also felt partnerships will be possible.

"It felt that we were opening up a treasure chest; we were discovering something very special," Bousquet said. "There's a lot of potential here."

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