HC leaders visit Korea, China

Huntington College president Dr. Blair Dowden and vice president Dr. Ronald Webb visited South Korea and China in November, seeking to strengthen international exchange programs and form new educational partnerships.

Dowden and Webb joined Drs. Robert Andringa and Richard Gathro of the Council for Christian colleges and Universities and Dr. John Hulst, president emeritus of Dordt University, for the ten-day trip.

In China, the group toured the CCCU's China Studies Program at Xiamen University. Dowden and Webb also renewed acquaintances with students and professors from the Beijing Institute of Technology who visited Huntington College for a January Term course in 2001.

In South Korea, delegation members visited several Christian universities: Cheonon University (Cheonon), Chonquin University (Seoul), Seoul Women's University (Seoul), Handong University (Pohang), Hoseo University (Asan-Si Chungnam) and Korean Nazarene University (Seoul). “We were warmly received by our colleagues in Korea,” said Gathro, senior vice president of the CCCU. “They are building high quality institutions and are anxious for partnership. They were, in fact, inspiring in their vision and zeal.”

“All of these Korean institutions are experiencing phenomenal growth,” noted Dowden. “They have a Christ-centered mission and are serious about integrating faith and learning.”

“While not all faculty may be Christians,” said Webb, “these institutions are very interested in providing instruction from a Christian perspective. For example, at Cheonon University, new professors are given a book about the school’s emerging philosophy of education. One of the articles in that book was written by our own William Hasker, professor emeritus of philosophy.”

During their visit, Dowden and Webb signed an agreement with Hoseo University to further explore cooperative programs for students and faculty members. Dowden also invited his counterpart, Hoseo president Dr. KunMo Chung, to visit Huntington College.

The team’s visit to Asia is an outgrowth of the CCCU’s priority for internationalization, an initiative shared by Huntington College. As Andringa said in an address at Peking University, “Every internal indicator points to the need for higher education to become more international in its thinking, its students, its faculty and its curriculum. Each country and each campus will be unique, but can learn much from the experience of others. The consequences for world peace and human development are real and very much worth the effort.”

Huntington College has placed increased emphasis on international experiences in recent years. The College’s current strategic plan includes initiatives to “promote opportunities, behaviors, and values that will enhance the intercultural perspective of students, faculty, and staff.” One goal is to encourage students to pursue international and cross-cultural internships and semester-study programs.

One such opportunity is the CCCU’s Chinese Studies Program at Xiamen University. As China’s only “key university” located in a Special Economic Zone, Xiamen University offers visiting students from the United States an unparalleled opportunity to witness first-hand the momentous socio-economic changes occurring in China.

“During our visit to Xiamen, we spent time visiting classes, attending lectures and interacting with students, faculty and administrators,” said Dowden. “We attended a lecture on China’s entry into the Word Trade Organization on the morning after the WTO vote was taken in Qatar.”

“We also had an opportunity to worship with Chinese believers in a house church at Xiamen,” added Dowden. “The experience moved me deeply. I gained a new understanding of the social and political situations faced by Christians in other parts of the world.”

Webb and Dowden say their goal is to have some Huntington College students enrolled in the semester-long program by the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

The Chinese Studies Program is among many diverse learning opportunities sponsored by the Council for Christian colleges and Universities. Because of HC’s membership in the CCCU, Huntington students may enroll in affiliated programs in England, Russia, Egypt, and Costa Rica, as well as special U.S. institutes in music, film, journalism, environmental science, urban studies, politics, and other disciplines.

The Council for Christian colleges and Universities (CCCU) is a professional association of academic institutions. The Council includes 101 member campuses in North America and 55 affiliate campuses in 19 nations. Council members and affiliates currently enroll a quarter-million students worldwide.

Huntington College is comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 50 academic concentrations. US News and World Report ranks Huntington among the best in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington College is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in Huntington, Indiana.

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