International partnerships forged by Troy University are changing the lives of the University's students, Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr. said during a keynote address at the 1-2-1 Dual-Degree Program Annual Conference's Presidents Forum on June 26 in Guangzhou, China.
Speaking to representatives of 100 Chinese universities and 21 U.S. universities at the conference, Dr. Hawkins said the University employed a "three-legged stool" approach to its international efforts – recruiting international students, encouraging faculty development and creating study-abroad programs. It is this approach and the vital partnerships that have helped TROY become Alabama's International University.
"Each 'leg' required linkages and partnerships in order to succeed," he said.
The 1-2-1 program provides the perfect example of the importance of developing successful partnerships, Dr. Hawkins said. Through the program, Chinese students at partner institutions start their degree programs, transfer to TROY for two years and then return to their home universities to complete their degree requirements. TROY has been used by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities as a model for other institutions participating in the 1-2-1 program.
"Our international recruiting efforts began to catch fire when we became the first U.S. university to participate in what is now known as the Sino-American 1-2-1 Dual Degree Program," Dr. Hawkins said. "The first class of 40 students in the program arrived in fall 2001. A total of 363 students have participated to date. The program 'primed the pump' for internationalization at TROY by giving us a source of academically qualified international students eager for a U.S. degree."
As a part of this trip to China, Dr. Hawkins awarded degrees to 35 TROY 1-2-1 students on June 26 during the program's 10th commencement ceremony on the campus of Jinan University in Guangzhou. Also on the itinerary for the trip are visits by TROY officials to several universities in China, including the Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication, Guangzhou University of Business Studies and Capitol University of Physical Education and Sports.
"The success of our international programs – including the 1-2-1 program – can be attributed to the relationships we have built and maintained with approximately 150 partner universities," Dr. Hawkins said. "This entails regular visits abroad, hosting faculty members on our campus and, not in the least, taking care of their students once they arrive in Troy."
TROY's internationalization efforts have been bolstered in other ways through the partnerships established through the 1-2-1 program as well.
In 2007, the University, in conjunction with the Office of the Chinese Language Council International in Beijing, established the Confucius Institute at Troy University. The Institute is part of a global network dedicated to the promotion and development of Chinese language education, and cultural and business exchange with the People's Republic of China. TROY's Confucius Institute is the only such institute in the state that maintains a statewide mission.
In addition, strong partnerships have proven equally vital in developing TROY presences in other nations. In 2008, Troy University became the first U.S. university to award the baccalaureate degree in Vietnam. Today, TROY's enrollment in Vietnam exceeds 1,000 students.
"When I grew up many years ago in Alabama, it was often we would compare ourselves with neighboring states," Dr. Hawkins said. "Today we compare ourselves with countries around the world, and we owe it to our students to prepare them to be globally competitive. Our students must learn to live with people from other lands. It's important to understand others because appreciation will follow understanding."