The College and I had the privilege yesterday of hosting a visit from Yan Weiyuan, director of Tsinghua University-Hebei Institute for Study Abroad International Program (SAIP). Director Yan visited the District Office and then toured West Campus in order to learn more about the College and opportunities for international students.
West Campus President Dr. Louis Albert, along with Vice President of Instruction Dee Lammers and Executive Assistant Geneva Escobedo, conducted the tour, with masterful translation and interpretation provided by the indispensable Yan Xu, a District Office Fiscal Support Specialist.
The director visited numerous areas of the campus including the library and Student Learning Center, high-tech mathematics and chemistry labs, a Radiologic Technology classroom, the Center for the Arts, and the International Student Services Office, which currently serves 137 international students from 48 nations, including 44 from Mexico, 28 from China, 11 from South Korea and six from Vietnam.
The director was keenly interested in all aspects of the college, especially counseling and advising. The redesign of Student Services currently under way will provide to all students a consistent, personalized connection with advisors and counselors that is necessary for effective student engagement and success.
Located in Beijing, Tsinghua University is a prestigious international higher-learning institution, and Director Yan’s visit is notable as an indication that economic and technological forces are making the physical distance between individuals and communities increasingly irrelevant. Global connections multiply every day; as former general secretary of the United Nations Kofi Annan has said, arguing against globalism is like arguing against gravity. My commitment to universal access means giving everyone, regardless of their circumstances, the opportunity to pursue their academic and career goals at PCC, and to offer our students the chance to pursue studies in programs located around the world.
That is why our draft 2014-2017 Strategic Plan includes “Increasing diversity, inclusion and global education” as one of its key directions. I recognize that the one of the most valuable opportunities that College can offer is to bring students from different cultures together. The chance to learn from each other, celebrate the differences and appreciate the underlying similarities will have lifelong benefits for everyone. Toward this end, I look forward to working with Tsinghua University and other organizations, wherever they may be located, in order to bring the world to our students.