JACKSON, Tenn. – Aug. 17, 2004 – A new partnership agreement between Union University and Yanbian University of Science and Technology in Yanji, China, could result in an exchange of faculty members as early as the fall semester of 2005, according to Union President David S. Dockery.
Dockery, his wife, Lanese Dockery, and Dr. Cynthia Jayne, associate provost for intercultural and international studies, traveled to Yanji, a city of 250,000 on the north Korean border about 40 miles south of Russia, in July. Talk of a partnership between the two universities began last spring when President Chin Kyung Kim of YUST and other officials visited Union.
"It was at their initiative that this took place," Dockery said. "We were happy to respond. This is a real partnership. This is something that is win-win for Union and for them."
According to Dockery, the partnership is designed to work with the strengths of each university.
"They specialize in science, engineering and technology areas," Dockery said. "Of course, they have a full range of courses, but that’s where their specializations are. What they want from Union are people to come and teach English, literature and English as a second language. They will send us faculty members in the areas of science and engineering, particularly to help us with our rather young engineering program."
For Union students, the partnership will open opportunities for groups of students to travel to Yanji on Global Outreach (GO) trips and as part of a study abroad program.
"We could have students going over there sometime in the spring or certainly next summer," Dockery said. "I think it’s a unique opportunity for our students to go into a place where they can learn to be sensitive to culture and courageous and convictional about their Christianity at the same time."
Dockery spoke of a growing openness and freedom of religion he witnessed in China. Though care must be taken, Yanbian is an openly Christian university, which made the partnership especially appealing.
“We both have a dual concern for academic excellence and a serious Christian commitment,” Dockery said. “We share those two foundational aspects of our mission. Even though the strengths of our universities are different, and our cultures are different, those two foundational commitments are the same.”