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VUW signs deal to teach students in China

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A partnership with China’s largest university will see Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington teaching and awarding degrees in China in architecture, landscape architecture and industrial design.

Wellington University and Zhengzhou University (ZZU), a globally ranked university teaching around 73,000 students, are establishing a Joint Institute at ZZU, through which the two universities will work together to deliver world-class qualifications in the disciplines of Architecture and Design.

The formation of the Joint Institute has been confirmed with a virtual signing of a Cooperation Agreement by Wellington University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford and President Liu Jiong Tian from Zhengzhou University.

The arrangement is the culmination of five years of discussion and marks a new milestone for the University in its engagement with China and in its drive to strengthen its offshore offerings.

Professor Guilford says for our students to be able to graduate in Zhengzhou is a significant step and very much in line with the University’s desired relationship with the Chinese people.

“Through the Joint Institute, we are committed to a shared experience. We can share our expertise and learn from our new colleagues at Zhengzhou. While the Joint Institute will be our immediate focus, I am looking forward to expanding our collaborations in new areas as the relationship goes from strength to strength.”

Professor Guilford also noted the significant achievement in finalising the agreement during the ongoing global pandemic and the challenges it is presenting to both universities.

President Liu Jiong Tian says: “The signing of the agreement between two universities is a significant milestone. I wish the joint institution success. I look forward to more cooperation in student and staff exchanges and research collaboration within a wide range of fields.”

Professor Ehsan Mesbahi, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Science, Health, Engineering, Architecture and Design Innovation says: “Our globally-minded university is focused on building deeper and more direct connections with overseas institutions. The impact that COVID-related travel and border restrictions have had on international students accentuates the need for innovative, flexible, collaborative teaching models that can incorporate offshore delivery.

“The Wellington Faculty of Architecture and Design Innovation is recognised as a leader in the Pacific-Rim region in architecture, industrial design, sustainable engineering and building for the future.

“We value innovation and interdisciplinary learning and are committed to offering our students a challenging, exciting, cutting-edge learning experience where they are part of an academic community that is influencing the field worldwide. We are delighted to be working with such a prestigious international partner to bring world-class programmes and academic opportunities to more students globally.”

Students will be able to enrol with the Joint Institute from September 2022, initially undertaking a Foundation Year gaining academic skills and English language. Degree courses will be taught at the Joint Institute from 2023.

Up to 300 students are expected in the initial enrolment — 100 each in architecture, landscape architecture and industrial design.

The majority of students are expected to complete their undergraduate degree in China but are able to transfer to Wellington if they wish. Many of them are likely to transfer to Wellington for postgraduate study.