SFU News: Dual Degree program earns national award

November 19, 2013

A dual degree program that offers bachelor degrees in computing science from both SFU and China’s Zhejiang University has received recognition from the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE).

The SFU–Zhejiang University Dual Degree Program (DDP) in Computing Science is being awarded the CBIE Panorama Award for Outstanding International Education Program.

The award is given to a team or individual to recognize innovation and excellence in design, planning, implementation and management of high-quality endeavours in international education. 

The program is cited for the high level of integration between the partner institutions, giving students and faculty members “an extensive and significant intercultural learning experience”.

The program was launched in 2005 as one of Canada’s first dual degree programs for undergraduate students studying computing science. Canadian and Chinese students study together as a cohort for two years at Zhejiang University (ZJU) in Hangzhou and two years at SFU.

Students receive degrees in computing science from each of the universities and attain a high degree of understanding of the languages, cultures, societies and academic institutions in both China and Canada.

"This is an amazing program that capitalizes on the ever-increasing interaction between Canada and China,” says Martin Ester, director of SFU’s School of Computing Science.

“SFU's Dual Degree Program provides an excellent academic environment that allows students also to gain a deep understanding of the cultural landscapes of each country. We are very pleased that the quality of our academic program has been recognized by a prestigious national organization such as the CBIE."

Sterling Hoeree, a fifth-year DDP student, says one of the program’s strengths has been the support of both institutions as he learned Mandarin to the level of understanding his lessons. “I enjoy the challenges of learning in a completely different educational system,” he says. “I also adjusted to society in China, became immersed in Chinese culture and feel like a citizen of the world, not just a citizen of Canada.

“Studying at one of the top three universities in China has allowed me to meet with elite students in my field, which has helped me expand my professional network on an international level.”

The program includes faculty exchanges and student mentorship to encourage a cultural exchange with peers.

In 2012 the program won province-wide recognition from the B.C. Council for International Education.