Sunday, July 1, 2012

Wake Forest University in Shanghai--the WFU CHINA INITIATIVE

As we begin this inaugural journey to China this week, I want to document some thoughts about higher education, Wake Forest University, and China. 

This is a most unusual moment in higher education.  I know that every generation feels unique and special. This particular moment in time, however, truly seems monumental.  At this moment, the international opportunities now available to USA higher education are enormous--especially between China and the USA.  Right now, this moment, the potential for shared educational experiences seems limitless.   The opportunity to share our American culture, our way of thinking, our way of teaching and learning, our way of being in this world is truly now!  And the opportunity to learn from the Chinese culture, their way of thinking, their way of teaching and learning, their way of being in this world is truly now! 

Wake Forest University has invited 39 undergraduate students from China to join our Deacon Family for this fall entering class 2012.   Our responsibility is huge as we seek to provide an opportunity for this mutual exchange of  Sino-American intellectual life and social exchange to take place on our campus.  The benefits for all of us are tremendous.  We will learn; they will learn.  And we will all improve our very own culture, our way of thinking, our way of teaching and learning, our way of being in this world. 

Our WFU Creative Services team, led by creative designer Hayes Henderson and project manager Gretta Kohler, designed the above banner.  The icon, shaped in the form of an ancient Chinese seal, symbolizes this historic educational  exchange with two hands, or two cultures, positioned side by side.  We reach our hands to new students and families and new partners in educational collaborations in China.  In turn, these new students, some with parents who will never have the opportunity to visit us here in North Carolina, reach their hands to us by being willing to travel far away to study on our campus and join our Deacon family.   

The design team also captured the art of  Chinese paper design and intricate ornamentation in the design of the delicate header that surrounds the icon of hands.  While China and the USA may differ in styles of teaching and learning, classroom presentations, and innovation and creativity in education, the love of beauty remains a common expression for both cultures.  The mutual love for art, for nature, for music, for beauty powerfully transcends any cultural barriers.  For this reason, Wake Forest University travels to China, for our very first visit, with music, lots of it----featuring Dr. Peter Kairoff and his wonderful artistry at the classical piano.  

Represented here in this delicate design is the color red, symbolizing the joyful and happy educational collaborations that await for us in the future.  Red, a color symbolizing great joy and happiness in both Chinese and American cultures, aptly describes our long-awaited ,joyful anticipation of this exchange between Wake Forest University and China.  

We eagerly await this trip!

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