Dual-degree program

Ten faculty members from China’s Zhejiang University (ZU) visited SFU in July to discuss the joint SFU/ZU dual degree program in computing science

Chinese, SFU faculty to review dual-degree program

July 24, 2008

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By Marianne Meadahl

A joint program between SFU and China’s Zhejiang University (ZU) will take a new turn this fall when a contingent of 36 students from China – nine of whom are here already – begin a two-year stint of classes with their counterparts at SFU.

But first, the dual-degree program (DDP) in computing science is undergoing a formal review by officials from both universities.

A delegation of 10 faculty members from ZU was at SFU’s Burnaby campus July 21 and 22 to meet with professors here and discuss the program’s progress as well as future plans.

The undergraduate program was created in 2005 and has seen the first cohort of 10 students from SFU and 36 from ZU complete two years in China.

Most spent an initial year focusing on language studies at their home universities. The final two years will be taught at SFU. Upon graduation, students will receive degrees from both universities.

Computing science professor Stella Atkins, the first SFU faculty member to teach in the program in China, says the program so far has been highly successful, with more challenges for the Canadian students as they grapple with language as well as some math issues.

“There’s no question that this is a real experience of a lifetime for these young students,” says Atkins. “It has been a little tougher for the SFU students to get a good grasp of the language, and some have struggled a bit with the calculus, as the curriculum is different in China. But overall, and despite their young age (18), they have managed quite well.”

Those and other challenges were part of the discussion. The  meeting also addressed recruitment at SFU, the burgeoning interest in China and how far SFU and ZU can expect to expand the program.

DDP director Ze-Nian Li says the program offers a “unique global experience” and is giving students a deeper understanding of languages, cultures and societies while preparing them for the competitive global job market.
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