Professor Oscar Couwenberg, Dean of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences (FSS) of the University of Groningen (UG), led a programme design mission to Yantai during 14-17 November 2017. The mission was teamed by Dr. Yongjun Zhao (Programme Director), Dr. Arjan van den Assem (Director of Education) and Dr. Katharina Gugerell (Assistant Professor in Planning and Spatial Design). The purpose of the mission was to design the framework of the Preparatory Programme and its follow-on Master Programme Environmental and Infrastructural Planning (EIP) for the University of Groningen Yantai (UGY). UGY is a joint initiative of the University of Groningen and China Agricultural University (CAU). The latter has recently been ranked as the fourth best global university with an agricultural sciences focus.
The team had a detailed meeting with the counterparts led by Professor Renjie Dong, Vice President of UGY, who was teamed by Dr. Lin Li, Dr. Shaojing Jiang and other colleagues. The meeting was especially focused on design of the Preparatory Programme and concluded on the following issues:
The team also visited the Yantai Architecture Design Research Company Ltd to learn about their scope of work and possible ways of collaboration. Warmly welcomed by President Tianshi Li of the company, the team had a fruitful meeting on the work priorities and research directions of the company. Both sides agreed upon the following issues:
The team had a stimulating meeting with the Agricultural and Cultural Research Centre of the School of Humanities of the Yantai campus of CAU. Hosted by Professor Xingzuo Li, also Vice President of UGY, and Dr. Liang Chang, Dean of the School, the team learnt that the Centre was the largest on agricultural-related research on the campus, and was gaining substantial support from local municipal government for research. Their research has prioritized cultural heritage and village ecologic and economic development issues. The Centre has offered Bachelors in Public Management since 2007 in close cooperation with the CAU in Beijing, among other Bachelors Programmes. The Centre is in an appropriate position to help develop contacts, content and materials for the Preparatory Programme and EIP and for research projects. Both teams agreed on the following issues:
The team also visited two villages to learn more about the Centre’s research projects on traditional culture preservation and village ecological and economic development. Interacting with local villagers and their leaders, the team familiarized with the local situation and discovered great opportunities that the villages could offer to FSS teachers and students for all the departments of the faculty.
Overall, the visit was a success, paving a smooth way for follow-up communication and collaboration with the Yantai colleagues. The outcomes of the meetings also help in better detailing the programmes by FSS staff and Yantai counterparts in the coming months. On behalf of the team, Professor Couwenberg extended his sincere appreciation to the teams in Yantai for their dedication to the preparatory work and the warmest hospitality offered.
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