Guizhou University of Finance and Economics and Western Michigan University’s Haworth College of Business have inked a new agreement that enables students from the university in China to earn a degree in accountancy from WMU as part of a program that has students studying in both China and the United States.
“An education from a reputable U.S. university is highly valued in China,” says Dr. Christina Stamper, outgoing associate dean of undergraduate programs for the college of business. “This new agreement is beneficial to the students because there is a lower cost associated with studying in the U.S., yet they are still able to earn a college degree from a well-respected university in the United States.”
Stamper adds that the timing of the agreement is significant, noting that the Guizhou province experienced the highest economic growth in China last year, sparking an increased demand for accounting professionals.
Students in the program will spend three years at GUFE studying accounting with both their local professors and with professors from WMU’s college of business. WMU faculty will teach 10 business courses in China during the students’ first three years, including business core courses such as finance, marketing, management and several accountancy courses. During the fourth year, students will come to WMU’s main campus in Kalamazoo to complete their degrees.
“This joint program not only provides GUFE students with the opportunity to earn dual degrees but also provides WMU and GUFE students more exposure to international cultures,” says Dr. Mingming Feng, assistant professor of accountancy, who will teach the first cohort this summer. “WMU and GUFE faculty members will have unique opportunities to interact with each other and stay globally engaged.”
WMU faculty will teach in China in English using the same textbook, online learning system and grading system used in all WMU accounting courses. A co-instructor from GUFE will help with instructing and tutoring the students during each class taught by a WMU professor.
“Language proficiency can be challenging when students first take courses taught in English,” says Feng. “Integrating into American culture can be another challenge—and opportunity—for the GUFE students when they come to the WMU campus.”
The college anticipates between 55 and 65 students per year to arrive in Kalamazoo beginning in the 2018-19 academic year. The initial agreement provides for five cohorts, running through 2025.
Located in the Guizhou province in southwestern China, GUFE offers 51 undergraduate programs and numerous graduate programs. Its three campuses serve more than 25,000 undergraduate students and 1,000 graduate students and employ nearly 900 full-time faculty members.