Dr. Lindahl Teaches MBA Course in China
CHICAGO, IL (May 24, 2010) – Dr. Wesley Lindahl, Dean of the School of Business and Nonprofit Management, begins teaching an intensive Change Management course at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in Guangzhou, China today. This class kicks off what North Park University hopes will be an ongoing relationship of culture and education exchange with several Chinese universities.
Guangdong University of Foreign Studies invited Dr. Lindahl to teach the course after biology professor Dr. Timothy Lin visited universities in China and initiated the plans. Lin, a Taiwan native, says, “I knew of several Chinese schools that were looking for foreign partners, so I proposed to Provost Jones that we reach out and make some Chinese friends. These universities want to know two things primarily: how we run our schools and how we interact with students.”
North Park is currently discussing cross-cultural teaching and learning opportunities with four universities in China: Beijing Union University, Leshan Teachers' College, Jianwen University, and Guangdong University of Foreign Studies.
All these universities are committed to expanding their offerings of courses taught in English, and some are considering shifting to total English-language teaching environments. They are curious to experience the American style of interactive learning, which is relatively unknown in China. “Because of the culture in China, classes are lecture based, and students do not ask questions during class,” Dr. Lin explains. “The concept of classroom participation is quite foreign to Chinese students.”
A modified version of the course offered at North Park, Lindahl’s course brings together 20 Chinese MBA students in 8 half-day sessions to learn about topics including making an organization a learning organization and identifying patterns that point toward a need for change. In addition, Lindahl will be giving two lectures at the university, on higher education and nonprofit management in the US.
North Park is also helping support the University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan, which is the first Christian university in Central Asia. To address the poverty crisis there, a now 81-year-old Chinese-American missionary helped initiate the founding of this university, five schools for children in grades 1 through 12, and three orphanages. This spring, North Park donated more than 500 books collected through a book drive and 24 microscopes from the biology department to the high schools and university.
This summer, North Park’s welcomes 21 faculty members from Leshan Teachers' College to take ESL classes. And in the fall, North Park will greet a visiting scholar from Beijing Union University, who will observe three biology courses. “This will be beneficial for Beijing Union University and for North Park,” says Lin. “It’s free to us, we get all the benefits of a cultural exchange, and it opens the door to new transfer students from China.”
Lindahl says, “We hope this will be the start of a broader relationship with this university and others in China.” Dr. Lin echoes that hope, and adds that prospects for rewarding and enduring partnerships are strong. “In Chinese ideology,” he says, “children’s education is the most important priority.”