President Joanne Berger-Sweeney has signed a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) on behalf of Trinity College with Fudan University in Shanghai. This has taken Trinity’s strong partnership with one of China’s top-ranked universities to a new and more comprehensive level.
The Trinity-Fudan partnership was formally launched in 2011 when former President James F. Jones, Jr. signed an MOU that started the Trinity in Shanghai study-away program in fall 2012. Since then more than 20 Trinity students have studied at Fudan for one semester or an entire academic year. Separately, during the last three years, Fudan University has provided tuition and room/board scholarships from the Shanghai municipal government to 10 Trinity students to participate in a summer program comprising Chinese studies courses and Mandarin. In addition, the River Cities in Asia summer traveling program has benefited from visiting Fudan University and hearing its faculty members’ lectures over the last several years.
On the faculty side, three Trinity faculty members (Mary Lewis and Alice Hyland in art history and Yipeng Shen in language and culture studies and international studies) were invited to teach a one-month summer course at Fudan in 2013, 2014, and 2015, all expenses covered by Fudan. In spring 2014, Michael Lestz in the History Department taught a semester-long course at Fudan University and worked with a number of Trinity students enrolled in the Trinity in Shanghai program.
The signing of the new MOU launches a formal faculty exchange program with Trinity and Fudan and further strengthens the partnership between the two institutions. The MOU will allow one faculty member from Trinity and Fudan to teach at the other institution as a visiting professor. Main funding for this program is provided by the China Urban Studies Teaching and Research Endowment set up by former Trinity Trustee Karen Kelsey Thomas ’78, P’13 and her husband David F. Thomas P’13, while Fudan University will offer supplementary financial support such as a housing allowance. This program may also support short-term visits for teaching and lecturing by Trinity and Fudan faculty to either school.
We are currently planning to host the first Fudan professor who will co-teach a course with a Trinity faculty member in spring 2016. Trinity faculty interested in teaching at Fudan University, either for a semester or during the summer, should contact both the Center for Urban and Global Studies and the Dean of the Faculty’s Office.
Before signing the MOU on June 16, Berger-Sweeney had a cordial meeting with Vice President Feng Xiaoyuan of Fudan University. They also exchanged small gifts carrying their respective schools’ insignias.
While in Shanghai, Berger-Sweeney attended a reception hosted by Eugene Shen ’76. Among the more than 50 attendees she met – some of whom traveled from Beijing – were members of the Class of 2019 and their parents, Trinity alumni, students in the Trinity in Shanghai program, as well as Trinity students and faculty participating in the River Cities in Asia summer program.