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May 2, 2014
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU welcomes Asian delegations

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Delegations from two Asian universities will be on the Slippery Rock University campus this month for talks related to faculty, student and cultural exchange agreements that will benefit university academic programs.

The first delegation, from China's Xi'an Fanyi University, which is rated among China's top private universities, arrives May 11 and will be on campus through May 15. In addition to negotiations related to the exchanges the visitors will meet with SRU officials and have dinner with SRU President Cheryl Norton at the President's Residence.

A delegation from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, arrives May 19 for two days of similar talks.

"We welcome these delegations and the opportunities they bring that would allow our students and faculty to expand their global teaching and learning opportunities," Norton said. "As part of SRU's growing list of exchange programs, additional opportunities in Asia are very welcome. To have students from these countries on our campus would certainly be a benefit to our students and to have our students study in China is equally important."

SRU currently has a group of students from China on campus for a joint English as a Second Language and Tourism Management Program. Their classwork includes study in resort management, a growing industry in China.

SRU faculty, including Jeffrey Forrest, SRU professor of mathematics, will serve as hosts for the Xi'an visitors. Pamela Frigot, director of SRU's Office of International Services, is coordinating the activities for both delegations.

Located in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China. Xi'an Fanyi University is accredited by the Department of Education of Shaanxi Province. There are 40,000 students studying in its various courses.

The Xi'an Fanyi delegates will meet with Philip Way, SRU provost and vice president for academic affairs, as well as SRU's college deans. They are also expected to talk with a number of SRU faculty and have asked to specifically meet with representatives of SRU's School of Business, English department and the counseling and development department.

The delegation includes Ding Jing, chair of the Xi'An Fanyi board, Xi'an President Shen Jiufu, Executive Vice President Zhai Zhendong, the Dean of Translation Studies College Gao Guangwen and Vice Director of the Academic Affairs Office Fan Wei.

SRU representatives met with President Jiufu and Dean Guangwen when they were in China to begin the partnership process.

According to the China Economic Review, "Xi'an Fanyi University has blazed a trail in China's education through its pioneering, innovative educational style."

Construction of the university in Xi'an, capital of 13 feudal dynasties, started in 1985 after the approval of the Shaanxi Provincial Education Bureau. It opened its door to students two years later. Starting from scratch, the university has grown into a large and noted institute of higher learning that has graduated about 70,000 students, the paper said.

The university has won accolades as one of the country's best private universities and the university with the best image in the sector.

Way, Frigot and Athula Herat, SRU associate professor of physics and pre-engineering, visited the Sri Lankan university in January where they signed a letter of agreement to work together.

Interest in a number of academic programs, including geology, political science and business were among the discussion topics.

"While they are here we will explore other opportunities," Frigot said. "Their delegation includes Athula Senaratne, vice chancellor, and Wijetunga Ranasinghe, chair of the political science department.

"Our partnership with them was initiated by 1993 alumnus Yajni Warnapala, now a professor of mathematics, chair of the department of mathematics and Marine and Natural Sciences Division co-coordinator at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island," she said.

University of Peradeniya is the heir to a 60-year-old university tradition that started with the inception of the University of Ceylon, the first university established in Colombo in 1942. The University of Ceylon Peradeniya was created in 1952 and evolved to the University of Peradeniya in 1978.

Located in Peradeniya in the Central Province, the university is the largest residential university in the county. It is near the city of Kandy, the historic capital of the last independent kingdom.

It offers programs in agriculture, allied health, arts, dentistry, engineering, medicine and veterinary medicine.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.