Lawrence Tech forges new alliances with Chinese universities

Lawrence Technological University is expanding its collaborative relationship with one major Chinese university and starting a new relationship with another as the result of a recent trip to Shanghai by President Lewis N. Walker and Dean Glen LeRoy of the College of Architecture and Design.

For several years Lawrence Tech engineering professors have taught eight undergraduate courses annually at Shanghai University for Engineering Science (SUES). Students who take those courses can come to Lawrence Tech to earn master’s degrees in engineering, management, computer science, or science education.

“We have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with SUEs for a number of years, and now we see new opportunities for the students of both universities,” Walker said.

Now the two universities have signed a preliminary agreement to begin collaborating in graphics and imaging, interior design and transportation design, three programs in Lawrence Tech’s College of Architecture and Design.

The new relationship got off to a good start with joint collaboration on the Symbolic City Exhibition at SUES. Lawrence Tech faculty Paul Wang, Steven Rost, Rochelle Martin and Jin Feng helped organize the exhibition, which included work by Lawrence Tech professors, students and alumni.

Walker and SUES President Wang Hong officially opened the Symbolic City Art Exposition on Nov. 18. Walker and LeRoy were accompanied by Lawrence Tech alumnus Daniel Winey, the managing principal of the Pacific Northwest and Asia Region for Gensler, a global architecture, design, planning and consulting firm. Winey is the architect of record for the second tallest building in the world, now under construction in Shanghai.

“Going forward, we anticipate more collaborative exhibitions and research projects and special programs jointly delivered,” LeRoy said.

The long-term goal is to establish relationships in the three new academic areas. Lawrence Tech and SUES signed a basic agreement in order to begin planning on faculty and student exchanges. A formal articulation agreement on collaborative academic programs could come in 2010.

Walker also signed a preliminary agreement with Soochow University, which has just established an architecture school. Faculty and student exchanges should follow. It is anticipated that Chinese students could come to Lawrence Tech for a semester abroad or graduate studies, and Lawrence Tech students could go to Soochow University over summer break.

LeRoy hopes to sign an articulation agreement to allow students to earn bachelor’s degrees at both Lawrence Tech and Soochow University by taking courses at both.

Such an arrangement is already in place with Sichuan University in Chengdu. Students start their college education at Sichuan and then finish up their bachelor’s degree with two years of study at Lawrence Tech. The first students to arrive from Sichuan University are now in their second year at Lawrence Tech.

Lawrence Technological University,, offers nearly 100 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus is in Southfield, and programs are also offered in Detroit, Lansing, Petoskey and Traverse City. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.