Twelve faculty members from the East China University of Political Science and Law were welcomed to Niagara University for a two-week professional development learning program Feb. 12-24, 2019. Members of the group, who were sponsored by their school through a competitive selection process, engaged in activities to develop their leadership and teaching skills. This is the second group of faculty to travel to Niagara University from ECUPL.
Faculty members attended presentations by Niagara University professors, joined classes, and went to specific seminars while they were here. These activities were coordinated through Niagara’s Brennan Center/ International Relations Office.
Dr. Deborah T. Curtis, executive director of the center, noted that one of the Chinese faculty, a professor of communications, was able to meet Dr. Doug Tewksbury, associate professor of communications, whose research he had read.
“To be able to say that your research has global interest is really exciting, he will be able to share that with his students,” Curtis said. “It gives our professors an opportunity to connect with colleagues in the same field, from another country, and look at things from different perspectives.”
The faculty members also went to local companies to learn about corporations, including Rich Products Corp. There, they met with the head of corporate relations to learn about the Rich brand, the philosophy, and the many companies that it does business with around the world.
Dr. Curtis noted that Martin Gong, a former exchange student from Shanghai and NU MBA alum who now works in The Brennan Center/ International Relations Office, played a vital role in helping to accommodate the faculty.
“There was a real benefit to having someone from the country that fully understands culture and language, and could make any transition happen more smoothly,” she said.
While the Chinese faculty benefitted from their experience on Monteagle Ridge, the opportunity to interact with specialists in their fields from across the world positively impacted Niagara University faculty, as well.
“When we bring faculty or students here, when they engage directly with our faculty and students, it gives them a sense of Niagara being part of a bigger place,” Curtis said, “and shows how we make an impact globally.”