The beginning of the 2018 Fall semester ushered in a rather noteworthy change in the college. It’s what I call the Impressive Titles Campaign, where every department was asked to improve its department with a name-change. To explain this, I’ll first report on why I believe this took place.
Establishing Overseas’ Relationships
Over the past 10 years, the college has been developing overseas’ partner schools. These are small colleges of similar size and matching majors to ours. The purpose of partnering with such schools was to build a higher educational reputation in China, share educational teaching/administration methods and techniques with foreign entities and eventually develop student study exchanges.
The first such partnership was established with East-West University, a private 4-year institution with 2 buildings located on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The school was founded under the British design system, established by a gentleman from India who was also the chancellor (what we call the president). How someone found him is beyond me but he did come to China to visit our school and many others, most likely trying to increase enrollment by snatching up international students whose tuition would be extremely high: a “reasonable” $34,000 a year with no housing facilities available.
Needless to say, after the signing ceremony of partnership sealed the deal, he didn’t snatch up any of our students. Our 9,000 can barely afford the 4,000 yuan (roughly $600), which includes a full year (12 months) of housing.
German Trade School a Better Success Story
Of the overseas’ partnerships that the school has established, the most productive has been with a particular vocational trade school in Germany. It regularly sends teachers and experts to our college to introduce new technical methods in mechanics and other vocational professions.
We’ve also established a German Language program at our school. This is the 6th year we’ve had a German language major. Twice a year, 3 German teachers arrive to test the German language majors for their final exams at the end of the semesters. Other exchanges have involved our teachers, leaders and administrators visiting the school in Germany.
Trying to Impress the Outside World
In August, before the semester began, every department was requested to submit a new, gloriously-sounding name-change to create a more upscale college image. All names also had to be translated into English for overseas’ partner schools.
For example, the Mechanics Department (students majoring in car, factory equipment and office machinery repair and maintenance) became the College of Engineering Sciences. The Management Department (those trained in business, hotel and restaurant management and hostessing) became The College of Management Design and Business.
In the English Department, there was great debate concerning what name we should create. Text messages flew continuously within our department text-messaging chat group about what would be appropriate.
As the deadline drew near, the Chinese was chosen (国际学校) but not the English version of this. Feedback was requested for the top two: International College or International School. Hmmmm.
I understood the reasoning. International College or International School is the direct translation for 国际学校, but while that might be fine for the Chinese, it’s confusing for our overseas’ partner vocational schools. It seems to suggest we have international students, or that we are a school for expats’ children.
In my mind, those two translation choices fell far short of what was needed.
While not asked, I went ahead and gave my 2-cents’ worth.
“How about School of International Studies, College of International Studies, Department of International Studies or International Studies Department?” I posted.
After some discussion, I’m happy to say that my two-cents’ worth paid off. Our department is now called the School of International Studies. (I would have preferred the word “department” in there somewhere but that was nixed as being too common, less grandiose, plus did not match the other departments’ translations, which all included “college.”)
All departments across the board at our college have now had approval of their new titles and English documents announcing as such to overseas’ partners have been sent. Also included in the write-up were new departmental designs and seals with our new titles. No turning back now!
Next post, a second big change to our department, now known as the School of International Studies. Ping an! (Peace)