[photopress:nottingham_ningbo.jpg,full,alignright]Tribal’s higher education software team has won a RMB17 million ($2.24 million, £1.1 million) contract with the University of Nottingham to provide SITS:Vision web-enabled student and course management solution. The system gives improved systems and support for the academic life and career development of 40,000 students and 6,500 staff.
Dr Paul Greatrix, the university’s Registrar, explained, ‘SITS:Vision will enable us to provide an integrated system for academic administration at our campuses in the UK, China and Malaysia. It will facilitate efficient and transparent processes and provide students and staff with accurate and high quality information.’
The reference to China concerns the University of Nottingham in Ningbo, an offshoot of the English university. This became the first fully equipped foreign campus in China when it opened in 2005. Because of this early move it was declared ‘Outward Investor of the Year’ in 2006 by British industry’s leading association for the promotion of China-Britain trade.
Nottingham has been placed in the Top 100 World University Rankings published by the Times Higher Education Supplement so its claims as to quality are well-supported.
The Nottingham venture is in partnership with Zhejiang Wanli University, one of China’s new model universities, and is backed by the Wanli Education Group. Nottingham Ningbo, using temporary accommodation provided by the Wanli Group, first introduced degree programs taught entirely in English in September 2004.
Now an extensive RMB308 million (£20 million, $41 million) campus is up and running. With facilities for 4,000 students it is modeled on Nottingham’s University Park in the United Kingdom complete with lake, bell tower and a replica of the Trent Building in Nottingham’s University Park. Which sounds a bit silly and colonial.
‘The site of the University of Nottingham’s venture in China is ‘a great place to have a university’, said Professor Ian Gow, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Asia, and Provost at the China Campus. He said, ‘Ningbo is going to be one of the great cities of the 21st century.’
The Provost of the University of Nottingham-China, Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Ian Gow said: “New educational philosophies and new teaching practices will be applied. Small classes, with 16 students each, will be conducted to encourage interaction between students and their tutors. Ningbo will be one of the major cities of the 21st century, and the potential for this campus, and this city, is vast.’
Professor Gow accepts that bringing together the British and Chinese cultures is a challenge, but he believes that the two nations have a lot in common in educational terms. ‘In the end, if the big vision is the same, then it can be made to work.’
Teaching at the new campus will be research-led. Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham, Professor Sir Colin Campbell, said: ‘We are making sure that new research institutes concentrate on areas like energy, the environment and finance, which are critical to China’s sustainable development. We believe in the internationalization of education. The China campus not only provides the opportunity for Chinese students to receive western education. It also provides the chance for British students to travel to, and learn more about, China.’
Source: The University of Nottingham in China