On September 17, Saint Mary’s welcomed a new group of Arts and Science students from Beijing Normal University – Zhuhai (BNUZ) in China. Forty-eight students arrived recently on campus to begin the second half of their degrees, in the unique 2+2 programs available through a partnership between the two universities.
“It’s great for me to be able to say that this is the third cohort of students with the Arts 2+2 program, representing majors ranging from Asian Studies to International Development Studies to Linguistics,” Dr. Margaret MacDonald, Dean of Arts, said in her remarks at the welcome reception in Unilever Lounge. “One of the best parts for me of greeting this group is that really now we can speak of a very successful evolution from the first now to the third, and we’re looking ahead to the students in China who are preparing to come next year.”
She and Dr. Lori Francis, Acting Dean of Science, encouraged the new students to reach out and make the most of the supports available to them including academic advisors, peer mentors, and the many student services at Saint Mary’s.
“There are lots of people here at the university who really want to be partners with you during your time here at the university,” said Dr. Francis. “The advisors in Arts and Sciences are excellent resources, and they are people who can really help you as you’re navigating a new experience.”
In May, 28 students became the first group to graduate from the 2+2 Arts program. Through the program, Chinese students complete the first two years of their undergraduate degrees at BNUZ, and the remaining two years at Saint Mary’s. A similar program began recently in the Faculty of Science. The Sobey School of Business offers a dual degree program with BNUZ – this past June at their convocation in Zhuhai, 68 Chinese students became the second cohort to receive a Bachelor of Commerce from Saint Mary’s and a Bachelor of Economics from BNUZ.
The SMU-BNUZ partnership first began in 2001 and also includes a study abroad program, transfer credit agreements, and a satellite SMU campus established at BNUZ in 2014. The satellite campus offers Saint Mary’s students an annual five-week summer study abroad program on Chinese history and culture, as well as a three-week program for Chinese students, focused on North American culture and English language. SMU and BNUZ also collaborate in offering four professional development institutes for academic faculty and administrative staff from the two universities.
—Submitted by Marla Cranston, Faculty of Arts