Fort Hays State University Connects Western Kansas to World

Fort Hays State University teaches business classes to Chinese students attending college in China.

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Hays, Kan., is one of the few cities in the United States that has a positive trade balance with China. That's because the Chinese government pays Fort Hays State University about $2 million annually for FHSU to provide and teach a 30-hour business-related academic curriculum to Chinese students attending college at Shenyang Normal University as well as SIAS University in XinZheng. All Chinese students attending FHSU classes in China are adept at speaking English, which is vital because all classes are taught in English. The idea started more than 10 years ago when former Hays resident Shawn Chen approached Fort Hays State with a vision of starting a university curriculum in China that would teach in English. Chen owns businesses in both the United States and China and wanted Chinese students to learn Western business practices – such as record keeping, marketing concepts and organization. West Meets East The first year of the FHSU partnership in China saw 50 students in the program. Enrollment has grown to 3,500 today. “Having a diploma from Fort Hays State University is a big advantage for Chinese college students in China – it's a real door-opener for jobs because employers are impressed with their grasp of the dual languages and the business practices they have learned,” says Kent Steward, director of FHSU's Office of University Relations. Steward says getting a degree in China is often different than earning a degree in the U.S. “A Chinese student might earn 30 credits from one school, 40 credits from another school, 15 from another and so on in pursuit of their degree,” he says. “Students often work while in college and their job can take them to different provinces, so they must enroll in different universities. Earning the 30 credits from FHSU goes toward their overall degree, but they still get a separate diploma from FHSU to showcase their English-speaking business achievement.” A major force in connecting western Kansas to the world, Fort Hays State is a 12,800-student powerhouse that offers dozens of degree and certificate programs. More than 4,5000 students take at least one class online. FHSU has four colleges – arts and sciences, business and leadership, education and technology, and health and life sciences. The four colleges have 30 departments offering 60 majors for undergraduates and 20 for graduate students. Fort Hays State, founded in 1902, is the only state university in western Kansas, thereby attracting students from a wide area. The university has made a number of inroads internationally. More than 4,000 of the university's students are from 30 different countries President Travels to China Fort Hays State takes its China partnership so seriously that FHSU President Edward H. Hammond travels to China each spring to personally hand the business diplomas to graduates. The Kansas Board of Regents has even contacted FHSU for help in assisting other instate universities that might want to get more involved with education in China. “Our FHSU faculty members make the syllabus and design the courses, then offsite instructors come to the Hays campus to train for about a week before going to China to teach in classrooms,” Steward says. “FHSU faculty members remain in Hays and still grade all papers and oversee everything. It is an interesting educational experience for everyone involved.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years. He was previously an editor for a small-town newspaper for ... more
Fri, 10/27/2017 - 19:55