Florida International University expanding programs in China
By Rachel Tannenbaum
With the success of its 5-year-old Hospitality & Tourism Management program in Tianjin, Florida International University is moving forward to continue its China presence and expand to offer two new degrees.
The Hospitality & Tourism Program at China's Tianjin University of Commerce, launched in the spring of 2007, is in the process of renewing the program beyond 2014 — the initial time frame, said Douglas Wartzok, FIU provost and executive vice president. The program graduated 340 students last year. Dr. Wartzok said the renewal would increase the number to 500. He said FIU is currently working on the paperwork.
"We have reached the capacity, with more than 1,000 students in the program," said Mike Hampton, dean of the FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. "The demand is high for western universities in the hospitality industry; they need the growth from western companies."
Since Tianjin is the port city of Beijing, Mr. Hampton said, it is a key location for students in the program.
"There is a lot more growth for graduates — they are getting three to four job offers," he said.
Dr. Warzok said the success of Chinese FIU graduates in the Hospitality& Tourism Management program has led other universities in China to express interest in joint programs with FIU. The university, he said, will continue to evaluate options.
"Students are able to get great jobs or go on to graduate school from the program," Dr. Wartzok said. "We have a good relationship with China and the school."
As for expanding degrees, the university has signed separate agreements regarding the master of public administration program with Tianjin University of Commerce and with Qingdao University in Qingdao, China. Under these agreements, the students will take the first 12 credits of approved courses in China and then come to Miami to complete the final 30 credits of the 42-credit master of public administration degree, he said.
Negotiations have been completed with Tianjin University of Commerce for a bachelor of business administration degree in management information systems, Dr. Wartzok said.
"The degree would be taught on the same model as our bachelors in hospitality, with Tianjin providing the first two years of instruction and FIU the final two and the students receiving an FIU degree," Dr. Wartzok said. "But before students can enroll in that degree program, we need the approval of the Chinese Ministry of Education.
The educational links run two directions: students also leave FIU's campuses here to study in China.
Florida International University students who go from Miami to Tianjin to study, Dr. Hampton, get to experience the culture outside of the university's walls.
"They aren't just staying at the college on the weekends. They are going to Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore and visiting new places," he said. "They are given social, economic and educational exposure that they wouldn't be able to get here."
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