The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

July 15, 2014

SRU, Chinese university eying collaboration

SLIPPERY ROCK — Slippery Rock University is one step closer to potentially forming a partnership with a university in China that would expand educational opportunities for staff and students.

“They have a very positive impression so far,” Dr. Wenhao Liu, an associate professor in SRU’s physical and health education department, said of the visitors from Wuhan Sports University.

Liu, who also taught at Wuhan, served as translator for the five-member delegation from China, who got the grand tour of the campus last week as part of SRU’s program to possibly welcome students from China and allow SRU students to attend classes at Wuhan.

Speaking through Liu, the Chinese delegation had questions along the way about the various sports-related degrees and courses that SRU offers and what kinds of jobs students seek out after graduation.

They heard from Dr. Brian Crow about how SRU’s sports management program is the third-oldest in the country and recent alumni have gone on to work with the PGA Tour, National Football League and Major League Baseball.

Over at the football stadium, the group walked onto the field and checked out the locker and weight rooms.

“This is where our football players train year-round,” said Shawn Lutz, the team’s defensive line coach.

They really enjoyed their tour of the Equestrian Center, which serves mainly people with disabilities, said director Courtney Gramlich, inviting them to get up close and personal with some of the horses.

The group took a peek inside a dorm, got a feel for what student living is like and ended up back at the Alumni House for a break before dinner.

Even though the campus visit was just one day, it went very well, Liu said, adding that the partnership between the two universities is still in the works.

“It seems we have many areas of cooperation,” he said of how they can work together in fields of study including English, recreation and education.

The idea would be to have students from both schools spend two years at each campus to earn their degrees, and SRU President Dr. Cheryl Norton and several other SRU faculty members visited Wuhan in November, Liu said.

“When I saw your campus, I fell in love with it,” Norton told the group from Wuhan, with Liu translating.

She thanked them for traveling such a long distance and believes they have made great progress toward establishing a partnership.

“From our first meeting in November until now, I think our partnership has grown,” she said. “Our students will benefit from meeting each other.”

The next step is to compare the courses at both campuses to make sure they complement each other, similar to when a student transfers between two universities in the United States, Norton said.

“We’re awfully pleased. You could see it in their faces,” she said of the impact the visit had on all involved.

Wuhan Sports University, also known as Wuhan Institute of Physical Education, is located in Hubei Province’s capital Wuhan and is considered one of the four leading universities for physical education in China, according to a news release issued by SRU.

Its alumni include gymnast Cheng Fei, who has won more than 19 gold medals, including one at the Olympics. At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Wuhan alumni won six gold, two silver and three bronze medals.

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