York to offer dual degree programs with Fudan University

York University has partnered with Shanghai’s Fudan University to offer dual degree programs. A formal agreement between the two universities was signed Monday evening during a ceremony at York’s Keele campus.

York Vice-President Academic Sheila Embleton and Fudan University President Wang Shenghong signed a memorandum of agreement for joint programs in history, financial math, computer science and design. Students participating in the programs will spend two years at Fudan, followed by two years at York, to receive a joint degree from both institutions.

Above: From left, York Faculty of Science & Engineering Dean Nick Cercone and Phillip Silver, dean of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, look on as Fudan University President Wang Shenghong and York VP Academic Sheila Embleton sign a partnership agreement

"York University is proud to be a leader in Canada in relation to internationalization. A commitment to make opportunities related to international experience available to all students is enshrined in the University’s academic plan," said Embleton to delegates and representatives from York attending the signing ceremony. She noted that Fudan University and York share a commitment to internationalization and interdisciplinary exploration.

"Within York’s approach to the world, China has a particularly important place," said Embleton. She pointed out that York has been seriously engaged with China for much of the University’s history: courses in Chinese language and history have been taught since the early 1960s, three faculty members served as cultural attaches to China in the 1970s, and the first book about China by an overseas historian was written by a York faculty member.

"With increasing numbers of students seeing themselves as living and working internationally throughout their careers, there’s a huge attraction to having a credential with this recognition," said Embleton. "These types of degrees are highly sought after, as students receive a credential instantly recognized in both countries, which can facilitate entry into the best graduate schools and jobs in either country."

The new programs will expand on the existing partnership between York and Fudan. Currently, York students can complete summer studies at Fudan, via an intensive Chinese language and culture course, offered through York’s Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics in the Faculty of Arts. "The demand for these courses always outstrips the spots available, which was a key factor in our decision to offer dual degree programs," said Embleton.

York has also become a popular destination for Fudan students, who regularly attend the summer language program offered through the York University English Language Institute.

There also is an emerging collaboration in fine arts between the two universities, with York’s current Faculty of Fine Arts Dean Phillip Silver assisting with the selection of a dean for Fudan University’s new Faculty of Fine Arts, said Embleton. Other areas of collaboration focus on urban issues and industrial mathematics.

The agreement signed on Monday night is the first such broadly-based agreement signed by York with any university in the world.

"We have finally reached this agreement after much hard work," said Fudan’s Shenghong. "Thank you for hard work. This agreement represents another milestone in York-Fudan cooperation."

Fudan University shares the same ideas for education, teaching and research with York University said the Fudan president. He announced that Fudan University is also initiating a new Centre of Canadian Studies, with emphasis on research in energy, economics, politics, environmental studies, urban studies and public policies, and invited York to become Fudan’s first partner in the new centre.

In addition to Shenghong, the delegation from the Chinese university included Professor Chen Yinzhang, assistant president and director, Foreign Affairs Office; Professor Ding Guanghong, assistant president; Professor Jiang Qingwu, dean, School of Public Health; Professor Zhong Yang, executive vice dean, School of Life Sciences, and Zhu Chouwen, deputy director, Foreign Affairs Office.

The signing ceremony took place in the Marshall A. Cohen Conference Room in the Seymour Schulich Building.