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Lehigh renews partnership with key Chinese university

Lehigh President Alice P. Gast and ECUST President Xuhong Qian sign the Institutional Memo of Understanding renewing the partnership between the two schools.

Building on an established relationship marked by cooperation and collaboration, Lehigh and East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST) this week renewed for another five years their agreement to work together on projects ranging from faculty and student exchanges to joint teaching and research.

During a two-day visit, a delegation led by ECUST President Xuhong Qian met with key Lehigh administration and faculty members, toured the new STEPS building, and led seminars on topics of common interest, such as coal gasification and bioorganic chemistry. An Institutional Memo of Understanding between the two universities was signed on behalf of Lehigh by President Alice P. Gast and Mohamed S. El-Aasser, vice president for international affairs, and on behalf of ECUST by Qian and Hua Bao, deputy director of the international affairs office, who was representing Shandong Tu, ECUST’s vice president for research and international affairs.

"I am very excited to be embarking on the next era of our collaboration with ECUST, and I look forward to the expanding opportunities this relationship will provide to Lehigh," Gast said.

Over the next five years, the two universities will seek to increase opportunities for faculty exchanges between Lehigh and ECUST, research collaborations, student exchanges, and perhaps even co-teaching of select courses through video conferencing.

“There are areas where there are common interests,” El-Aasser said. “In the 21st century, how do we educate our students? How do we get our faculties to develop collaborations across boundaries? And how do we enhance creation of new knowledge that serves society?”

Complementing each other

Qian said he was impressed by Lehigh’s new STEPS (Science, Technology, Environment, Policy, Society) building and program. “We are thinking about how to improve our integration of multidisciplinary research and teaching. You have the solution, I think,” Qian said.
 
El-Aasser cited research being conducted at ECUST on ways to purify coal as an example of shared interests and areas where Lehigh can learn from their partners in China.

“We’re looking at ways to complement each other,” El-Aasser said.

The renewed partnership hit the ground running, as one of the members of ECUST’s delegation—Changsheng Liu, dean of the School of Materials Science and Engineering—will remain at Lehigh for a month as a visiting scholar.

In addition to Qian, Bao and Liu, the other ECUST faculty members who made the trip and taught seminars were Jie Bao, vice director of State Key Laboratory of Bioreactor  Engineering;  Fuzhen Xuan, dean of the School of Mechanical and Power Engineering; and Zhijie Zhou, associate professor of the School of Resources and Environmental Engineering.

Lehigh’s relationship with ECUST dates to 2006, and has been highlighted by faculty visits, collaborations and joint publications, as well as student exchanges. Liu becomes the fifth faculty member from ECUST who have received support from the Chinese government to come to Lehigh as visiting scholars and to work with Lehigh faculty members.

In January of this year, Himanshu Jain, the Diamond Chair Professor of materials science and engineering at Lehigh and principal investigator for the National Science Foundation’s International Materials Institute for New Functionalities in Glass, visited ECUST and led a seminar. He also received a letter of appointment as international editor for the ECUST Journal.

And over the summer, Daniel Ou-Yang, professor of physics and director of Lehigh’s Emulsion Polymers and Engineered Particles Institute, visited ECUST.

Story by Jack Croft

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

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