Rice University and Chongqing Normal University have agreed to bring Chinese high school principals to Rice to learn to help their students transition to American universities.
A memorandum of understanding signed by Chongqing President Zhou Zeyang and Melinda Cotten, director of Rice’s Office of Sponsored Research, will bring as many as 75 high school principals a year to Rice in groups of 25. Each group will spend two weeks at Rice.
The first group to take part in the Rice Leadership Training Program for High School Principals is expected to arrive in January. Five Rice faculty members will be involved in the program, and education consultants from the University of Houston will also contribute.
Phil Bedient, the Herman Brown Professor of Engineering and director of Rice’s Center for Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED) Center, organized the program with Mason Tomson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and co-director of the China-U.S. Center for Environmental Remediation and Sustainable Development.
Tomson, as a former co-chair of the undergraduate admissions committee at Rice, said he has a “reasonably good understanding of the transition for students from high school to college, and what they turn in to 10 to 15 years later,” and sees great value in a program that helps them make the leap.
“They’re very well-trained students, some of the best in the world,” he said. “I strongly support getting more active recruiting in China.”
Bedient said the program will incorporate campus management, curriculum, leadership and cultural training.
Zeyang said he hopes to incorporate research collaborations as relationships develop. “We want to send not only principals but also higher management-level people to learn how U.S. systems operate, to learn the essence of education components from Western countries,” he said. “We also ask for other opportunities, like in nanotechnology, in energy and water resources research, and in shale gas with Professor Tomson.”