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WPI promotes scholarship, discussion, and appreciation of critical topics in Chinese history and current issues through key events and initiatives on campus. As our collaborations with China continue to grow, we will add to our offering of interesting and relevant events that raise awareness and promote an international outlook within the WPI community.

Conferences and speakers

We have a long history bringing together scholars and community members to share, learn, and broaden perspectives on Chinese studies. Some of our previous events include:

  • Insights and Perspectives on Doing Business in China (2010)
  • Building Entrepreneurial Relationships between Massachusetts and the Zhejiang Province Conference (2011)
  • Reception to celebrate the translation of the Biography of Sarcey Chen (2012)

We also run an ongoing grant-funded China Seminar Series that highlights the essential role China plays in critical global issues. Previous seminar speakers have included an architect from Yale who spoke about building in China and a water expert who gave a talk about the effects of water in security in China on climate change. This spring, a field trip will focus on the Chinese diaspora in Boston’s Chinatown.

Seminar Series on China

Supported through the Department of Education BIE and UISFL Grants:

  • China’s Battle: Sustainability and Economic Growth (Dec. 3, 2009)
  • Understanding Northern China’s Water Crisis: Perils and Progress (Dec. 8, 2009; external speaker)
  • Family Firm Financing and the Social and Cultural Environment in China (Feb. 2, 2011)
  • Language- and Culture-Intensive Scientific Research in China: a Model for Collaboration (Nov. 10, 2011; external speaker)
  • China’s Big Business of Building and Its Contexts (April 3, 2013; external speaker)
  • Designing the Solar Home of the Future: Views from the US and China (April 16, 2013)
  • China’s Water Security Through 2030 (Jan. 30, 2014; external speaker)
  • Engineering Education in China (Apr. 2, 2014; visiting professor)
  • Chinese Social Gaming (May 2, 2014; external speaker)
  • The Schoolhouse and Sustainable Tourism at the Mutianyu Great Wall (January 22, 2015; external speaker)
  • Reconstructing the Past for the Future: The ‘Jewish Block’ Project in Harbin, China (February 23, 2015; external speaker)
  • Perspectives on Chinese Food (December 9, 2015; external speaker)  

China film series: China through the lens

Our China film series, running from February through April 2014, brought some of the best of Chinese cinema to WPI campus. The free screenings included movies ranging from international espionage to romance and introduced the WPI community to several of China’s most popular and critically acclaimed directors.

  • Eat Drink Man Woman (Dec. 6th, 2013) - Hero (February 4, 2014)
  • Infernal Affairs (February 27, 2014)
  • A Simple Life (March 25, 2014) - Enter the Dragon (April 22, 2014)
  • Please Vote for Me (October 3, 2014)
  • Raise the Red Lantern (November 21, 2014) - To Live (February 13, 2015)
  • Aftershock (April 10, 2015)
  • The Wedding Banquet (October 2, 2015)
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (December 4, 2015)

WPI President’s Visit to China

Laurie Leshin in China

WPI’s 16th president, Laurie Leshin traveled to China in early March 2015 to speak with WPI alumni in Shanghai and Beijing and to discuss future partnerships with Chinese higher education leaders. On March 9, President Leshin delivered a keynote address at Beijing University of Chemical Technology, in which she discussed her vision of a global university and the strong partnership with BUCT. WPI leaders also visited Tsinghua University in Beijing and had productive discussions of future partnership opportunities. During the trip, she discussed the value of project-based learning, the strength of WPI’s undergraduate education, opportunities for graduate students in China, and the power of faculty exchanges. President Leshin visited Tsinghua University in Beijing, National Tsinghua University in Taiwan, and National Taiwan University in Taiwan. She signed a Memorandum of Understanding to Frame Cooperation with Tsinghua University in Beijing and National Tsinghua University in Taiwan. She hosted an alumni event in Hong Kong in October 2015 and also shared her vision of WPI being a global university with alumni in Hong Kong.

External Grants

  • BIE: WPI received a grant in the amount of $185,745 (Grant Award No. P153A090011) from the Business International Education (BIE) Program at the U.S. Department of Education for the project “Establishing the US-China Link Initiative at WPI” from August 1, 2009, to December 31, 2011. The project partner, MassMEP, provided $200K in-kind matching funds and WPI provided additional $101K matching funds. The project team included Amy Zeng (PI) from the School of Business, Kevin Rong from the Mechanical Engineering Department, and Jennifer Rudolph from the Humanities and Arts Department. The primary goal of this initiative was to establish WPI as an integrator and leading institution in Massachusetts and eventually in New England in providing educational opportunities and programs that increase the experience, knowledge, skills, and capabilities of students, faculty, and local business community with respect to China. With this grant, the existing curriculum for WPI students was improved, training and learning opportunities for WPI faculty and staff were started, and the knowledge base of the local business community was expanded. The results of this project have provided a solid foundation for the establishment of the China Hub at WPI.  
  • UISFL: WPI received a grant in the amount of $190K (Grant Award No. P016A120077) from the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) Program at the U.S. Department of Education for the project “Integrating Chinese Area Studies into the WPI STEM and Business Curricula” from September 1, 2012, to  December 31, 2015. WPI provided about $200K in-kind matching funds. The project leadership team included Jennifer Rudolph from the Humanities and Arts Department, Amy Zeng from the School of Business, and Jennifer deWinter from the Humanities and Arts Department. The primary goal of this UISFL proposal is to strengthen existing undergraduate offerings in Chinese language and culture and to develop new China programs to globalize existing WPI STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and Business programs by creating multiple modules about China that are discipline-specific. This proposal builds off WPI’s innovative Global Perspectives Program, the successes of the 2009 DOE-BIE grant, current China offerings, and a growing number of faculty with Asia expertise. This UISFL grant led to the establishment of the China Hub at WPI in 2013.  
  • Project GO: WPI has been awarded a Project GO grant of $200,000 from the Institute of International Education (IIE) that begins September 1, 2015. This is being awarded on a three-year cycle with one year awarded at a time. The project leadership team includes Huili Zheng and Xin Xin, both from the Humanities and Arts Department. WPI will serve a nationwide pool of 13 ROTC students at Beijing University of Chemical Technology during the summer of 2016, with the goal of having them attain Level 1 Proficiency in Mandarin Chinese. The project objectives are to provide students with an international educational and cultural experience in and around Beijing. The program will allow ROTC students to gain cultural and linguistic proficiency quickly and continue to advanced Mandarin study at their home institutions. Project GO students receive scholarships that fund tuition, room and board, round-trip travel, Chinese visa, insurance, and books.