[photopress:MichaelFang.jpg,full,alignright]Liverpool in England is a fascinating city. It was a major European port, is no longer, and the language of the city has a dialect called Scouse that is almost impenetrable. It is a mixture of Welsh, Irish and catarrh that can leave even fluent English speakers bemused.
The university at Liverpool is one of the jewels of the city. It is bright, entrepreneurial and does very well against nearby Manchester, a city that has more students than any other city in Europe.
With low Scouse cunning Liverpool has decided to expand into China. Not in any ordinary bit of liaison, few-students-back-and-forth sort of way. No. It has gone in full bottle, boots and all, to found the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. This is claimed to be the first ever such UK/China venture but boasting in Liverpool was ever considered a virtue.
However, there is probably justice in its claim. In 2004, the University of Nottingham opened a branch campus in the city of Ningbo, Zhejiang province, but this new university claims that it is the first of its kind. It is independent and offers its own degrees which is a fairly fine distinction.
The new university is at the Dushu Lake Higher Education Town on the shores of Dushu lake in Suzhou Industrial Park.
The executive vice-president of Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University is Professor Michael Fang, a pro-vice-chancellor at the University of Liverpool. He said, or a flack got him to say, ‘As one of the parents, the University of Liverpool is proud to welcome its new offspring and will continuously provide support for XJTLU. At Liverpool we have every confidence that this is the very beginning of a great institution which will devote itself to the advancement of knowledge and produce graduates of a high calibre.’ Certainly that will be the case.
Whether the graduates will be speaking English with a strong Scouse accent is another matter and, possibly, a slight worry. On the other hand, the world had no trouble understanding The Beatles and they sang and spoke in Scouse.
The university is in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province around 90km from Liverpool’s twin city of Shanghai. To show its class and style Liverpool University has erected on its site a most elegant introduction to the new university, in Chinese.
The new university will be offering courses in information management and information system, information and computer science, and financial mathematics. This has a strong base on which to build.
Liverpool University has an MBA program run by Professor Jimmy Hill. This course, according to the university, ‘places an emphasis on leadership, personal development, business negotiation and financing understanding and managing the personal effects of risk, the development of personal business relationships and effective networks and the stages and steps involved in the development of a business concept.’