Ivany, Stockton Visit 5 Taiwan Cities, Board Member Pledges Scholarships
As a country, Taiwan is full of Chinese culture, but according to University of St. Thomas Board Member Don Wang, it is the “original flavor.” While a person can learn about the Chinese culture by visiting China, Wang says because the country is under socialist rule, it is different than the democratic-ruled Taiwan.
“It’s easier for American students to go to Taiwan to study Chinese,” Wang said.
Building on the study abroad and exchange programs that already exist between the University of St. Thomas and Taiwan, Wang and a delegation of UST representatives visited Taiwan from May 18-25, with the generous support of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of China on Taiwan.
Along with Wang and his wife Ming, UST President Dr. Robert Ivany and Dr. Hans Stockton, director of the Center for International Studies, also traveled to Taiwan, which is the sixth leading place of origin for international students in the United States.
Stockton said the purpose of the visit was to increase student mobility between UST and Taiwan universities, with visits to five universities and to the Ministry of Education.
Ivany said the trip to Taiwan was a great success thanks to Stockton and the Wangs’ preparation and hard work, and he was overwhelmed by everyone’s warmth and hospitality.
“We hope to establish student exchanges with these highly regarded institutions and to encourage even more Taiwanese students coming to St. Thomas,” Ivany said. “We have already hosted three annual visits during the summer months. The people of Taiwan are proud of their friendship with our country and eager to learn more about our academic programs.”
The University is considering several initiatives related to Taiwan:
- Strengthen Chinese languages at UST through a partnership with Taiwan’s Ministry of Education
- Develop matriculation agreements with partner universities
- Encourage Taiwan partners to send students for short-term studies at UST
- Work more closely with the Fulbright Taiwan Foundation.
In addition, UST has begun discussions with Mingchuan University in Taipei and the Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education in Taiwan to establish a branch location for the Taiwan Education Center at St. Thomas. As a TEC branch, UST would serve as a gateway for Taiwanese student coming to Houston.
Scholarships Pledged for Taiwanese Students to Study at UST
Ivany said the group was especially fortunate that Don Wang accompanied them.
“As a native Taiwanese, he had friends throughout the country,” Ivany said. “He and his brother have donated generously to UST to help fund future student exchanges.”
During the visit to Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science in Taiwan, Wang’s brother, CNU chairman Dr. Chao-Hsiung Wang, and Don Wang surprised the dinner party with a joint pledge of generous scholarship support for CNU students to study at UST in the coming year.
Wang has supported St. Thomas students to visit Taiwan in recent years, helping Stockton raise scholarships from the community of Taiwanese in Houston, and arranging a visit with Taiwan’s president in the most recent UST study abroad.
Based on his desire to promote cross-cultural understanding and friendship between American and Taiwan students, Wang said the scholarships help connect college students from the two countries in person, with the hope that they can continue the relationships through email, Facebook or future visits.
“This is what we expect to have, the friendship between the younger students from Taiwan and the United States,” Wang said. “They build the friendship now, and it could be forever.”
UST Signs Agreement with Chemistry School in Taiwan, a Study Abroad Host
The Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, or CNU, graduates more than one-third of Taiwan’s pharmacists and offers one of the strongest chemistry programs in Taiwan. Having hosted the UST Taiwan Study Abroad group since 2011 and eager to expand its international relationships, CNU President Dr. Suen-Zone Lee and Ivany signed a memorandum of understanding to further explore educational collaboration.
UST Explores Articulation Agreements With Sister School in Kaohsiung
The delegation traveled to Kaohsiung to meet with the president, administrators and faculty of Wenzao Ursuline University of Foreign Languages, a Catholic school. As sister schools, the two universities have an active exchange of students and faculty, and will now explore articulation agreements.
Taiwan Collaboration Possible for Chinese Language
At Nanhua University, or NHU, in Chiayi the group discussed dual degree and short-term study excursions possibilities between NHU and UST. Especially interested in promoting the ethical and moral education of university students, NHU President Dr. Tsong-ming Lin and Dr. Ivany signed an agreement committing both universities to further explore opportunities for collaboration, especially with regard to Chinese language and social sciences.
In Taipei, the delegation visited Soochow University administration and faculty. Soochow is one of the oldest universities in Taiwan with strong traditions in Chinese language, business and social sciences. UST has periodically hosted student groups from Soochow’s College of Education over the past five years and seeks to attract more for study.
UST Considers Marketplace Initiative in Taipei, Details Taiwan Students’ Visit to UST
In Taipei, the delegation met with Ministry of Education officials to discuss UST entry into the Taiwan marketplace and types of ministry support for this initiative.
The visitors also addressed final details for UST hosting 30 Taiwan students from the MOE for the fourth annual summer American and Global Studies Colloquium, a program produced by UST’s Center for International Studies in which Taiwanese students visit UST and then travel to Washington, D.C.
Ivany, Wang and Stockton were also hosted by the Overseas Community Affairs Commission Vice Minister Yuan-Rong Leu for a luncheon discussion about engaging Houston’s Taiwanese-American community in educational and programmatic outreach.
Local Industry Partnership Develops with Taipei Plastics Co.
The president of Formosa Plastics hosted dinner on the last evening in Taiwan. Attendees included a former government official, business leaders and scholars. With a multi-billion dollar plant near Port Lavaca, Texas, Formosa Plastics holds potential as a future partner in higher education with UST.
The UST delegation also visited the Overseas Community Affairs Council, Executive Yuan and several other related organizations. The delegation’s itinerary was arranged and supported by Sophie Chou, director of the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston.
Taiwan Visit Strengthens Contacts
Stockton said UST’s exposure in Taiwan now includes closer contacts with government agencies, universities, non-profit organizations, businesses and the overseas community.
“After years of cultivating these relationships, and with the help of friends in the Taiwanese-American community such as Don Wang, Jackson Chang, and Sue-Jen Tsai, UST stands at the brink of tremendous potential for increasing student mobility between UST and Taiwan,” he said.