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Going International

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By Don Pace

Twenty-five flags from around the world fly at a monument on the Highlands University representing the diversity of students attending classes at the Las Vegas campus. Now, President Jim Fries is looking to expand opportunities for even more international students, including those from China.

“We had a fascinating meeting with representatives from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, where they have put together a 1-2-1 program with Hunan University in China. The numbers (indicate how) students are admitted into the program, which was jointly developed between Eastern and Hunan City University. Chinese students take their first year in China, then they come to Eastern for their second and third years and spend their fourth year of study in China,” Fries said.

Fries said one of the interesting dimensions of the program is once the students complete the program of study, they receive degrees from both universities. He said it wasn’t a model that he had been familiar with.

“But the program has grown and they have been doing it for about six years and have some successful graduates at this point, as well as 61 students currently enrolled in the program,” Fries said.

The president noted that the Chinese students pay in cash, work hard and have been a terrifically positive addition to the Eastern campus. He said Eastern University officials were in Las Vegas to promote the concept of Highlands setting a similar program in place.

“We’ve asked for more information in terms of the curriculum being pursued, and we intend to get input from some of the administrators at Eastern in terms of how they perceive the program, but it sounded very interesting,” Fries said.

Fries said sometimes, the time Chinese students spend in the United States is a little longer than two years depending on their English language skills. However, he said about 80 percent of the students arrive in America with a good background in English.

Fries said there would be a range of disciplines involved and the 1-2-1 program is something well worth exploring.

“We’ve been seeing an increase in the number of international students on campus, and this may be another pipeline that could be established,” Fries said.

Board Chairman Javier Gonzales asked Fries about India and Cameroon, the two countries that were targeted a number of years ago.

Fries said there was more demand than the university could accommodate at the graduate level and said the university has had to limit the number of students it could accept, particularly in the areas of science, because of the limited lab facilities to work with students in chemistry and other such areas.

Fries said the pipelines between countries like India and Pakistan aren’t developing in quite the same way as the pipeline with Cameroon.

Fries said Tina Clayton, international student office director, has been busy making contacts in the Middle East, which also seemed to have promise in terms of the university’s ability to pick up students from places like Sudan. Clayton is also in the process of working on developing relations with Chinese officials on an agreement between Highlands and Hunan City University.