New program offers opportunities for faculty in China

This is a guest post from the Center for Global Programs and Studies:

During the winter break Jon Smart, assistant teaching professor in Wake Forest’s Writing Program, traveled to Qingdao, China, to teach an academic writing course to eleven Chinese high school students who plan to study in the United States upon graduation.


Jon Smart teaching in China

The course was the result of a yearlong effort in the Center for Global Programs and Studies to provide Wake Forest faculty additional opportunities for meaningful cross-cultural interaction with international students in their home culture. Benefits of cross-cultural interaction include:

  • Greater ability to interpret events from multiple perspectives
  • Greater ability to communicate across difference to formulate solutions to complex problems
  • Increased self-awareness and understanding of how one interacts with others

For Smart, whose work focuses second language writing, the opportunity to visit Qingdao was a chance to become more familiar with the learning contexts and experiences of Chinese high school students.  It gave him a chance to interact with students, their instructors, and their parents, and he hopes to apply what he learned from teaching the course to his approaches to teaching at Wake.

The course was held at Qingdao International Academy (QIA), an American-run IB school in Qingdao, and the eleven high school juniors and seniors learned and enhanced their skills in areas in which international students have less preparation prior to arrival on US campuses: reading and paraphrasing research, providing references and citations, constructing an argumentative essay, and providing oral presentations.

Three Wake Forest students, Jamie Eisner, a senior religion major planning to teach in Southeast Asia upon graduation; Wenbo Sun, a junior finance major and global outreach intern; and Tina Liu, a junior communication and Japanese major and global outreach intern, assisted Smart throughout the course.

The QIA January course was developed from a pilot course led by biology professor Carole Gibson in Suzhou, China, in July 2016. Gibson taught a three-week course on biotechnology to two high school students and one incoming Wake Forest student, which culminated in a student submission to the University of Michigan Environmental Sustainability Case Study Competition. Through the experience, Gibson identified academic writing as a key area for additional preparation for international students planning to attend university in the U.S. Learn more about Gibson’s experience in Suzhou here.

As Wake Forest continues to attract and educate top students from across the state, country, and world, the Center for Global Programs and Studies continues to seek opportunities for our faculty and staff to engage in cross-cultural educational experiences. Faculty interested in participating in future cross-cultural opportunities or professional development are encouraged to visit for more information. Among others, opportunities for faculty include international development seminars, Fulbright, Faculty Oversees Collaborating on Undergraduate Seminars (F.O.C.U.S.), the Workshop on Intercultural Skills Enhancement (WISE), and the Global Laureates Academy.

(Written by Nelson Brunsting, director of global outreach and assessment, Center for Global Programs and Studies)