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China and TC Today

The relationship between China and Teachers College did not end with Tao and Dewey.

One of Tao's students, Professor Jian Zhang, the ex-Vice Minister of Education of the People's Republic of China and current Vice President of Tao Xingzhi Research Association of China, recently visited TC. He met with Professors Clifford Hill and Gita Steiner-Khamsi and representatives from the Consulate to explore the possibility of starting a joint research program and a comparative study of educational systems in China and the United States. "Professor Zhang was very enthusiastic for collaboration," noted Professor Steiner-Khamsi, "because Teachers College is highly regarded in China."

As a result of the meeting with Professor Zhang, Professor Steiner-Khamsi, the director of the Institute of International Studies, hopes to arrange the exchange of five Chinese scholars and five TC scholars to study Tao, his history at TC and his impact on Chinese education. This exchange would be part of a year-round celebration from 1999 to 2000 of the 100th anniversary of the first course taught in comparative education at TC by James E. Russell.

The United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, whose president, David Vikner, is a TC alumnus, has worked closely with faculty at TC to set up programs with Asian universities.

Professor Hill and the United Board set up a curriculum at Nanjing Normal University and have worked for five years to provide graduate students and faculty from TC to teach English to Chinese teachers. There are both year-long and summer programs. "We try to make it like a summer camp," said Professor Hill. "We see English movies and have discussions in English."

Professor Frances Schoonmaker visited Nanjing Normal University in 1995, where she met Jing Zhou, the Deputy Dean of Education. As they talked, they also began to consider the possibility of an exchange program between the two colleges. Professor Schoonmacher invited Ms. Zhou to visit Teachers College, which she did in February. The two women would like to develop exchanges between Teachers College and NNU for scholars and faculty in teacher education and the pre-service program in childhood education.

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