KSU and China The ties that bind

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					Kennesaw State University
 M   A   G   A   Z   I            N             E
                              Fall 2008/Winter 2009

                  KSU and
                 The ties
                 that bind

                                      Man on a missio
                            Cracking nitric oxide’s cod
                         KSU’s capital campaign updat
                Ties that bind
                                                     By Sabbaye McGriff

                                              he nexus between Kennesaw State and Asia’s giant goes back
                                              to the 1980s. Today, the well-cultivated ties still run deep.
                                                  When the People’s Republic of China began opening its
                                       markets to the world in the 1970s, a virtual wall came down, unveil-
                                       ing unimaginable new opportunities and challenges.
                                       Those who would enjoy successful ventures in China would have to
                                    learn the requirements of “Guanxi” (pronounced gwan shee), a con-
                                      cept embodying what the Chinese consider the logical development
                                       of relationships. Unlike the typical Western approach that begins
                                        with the transaction at hand and, if successful, evolves into sound
                                         relations, “Guanxi” values the relationship above all else. If good,
                                          success ensues.
                                                  Kennesaw State University was slightly ahead of the curve
                                            in 1989, when it launched a formal faculty exchange agreement
                                             with China’s Nanjing Normal University — KSU’s first interna-
                                              tional academic exchange and a relationship that still exists to-
                                               day. Faculty and administrators who facilitated the agreement
                                                logged thousands of miles and countless hours of meetings
                                                 and interchanges with officials, faculty and students, sharing
                                                  dinners, cups of tea and polite conversations before any
                                                   agreement was inked.
                                                   In the ensuing 19 years, KSU has nurtured relationships
                    with five academic institutions across China, hosting more than 2,500 Chinese stu-
                   dents, faculty, officials and businessmen and women in academic programs as well
                  as training sessions. China’s universities have welcomed more than 100 KSU students
                  in summer study-abroad programs and more than 100 faculty members in exchange
                     At the same time, KSU has emerged as a key regional player in promoting Chinese
                      language and culture. The university is one of only 10 sites in the U.S. that admin-
                        isters the Chinese government-approved language proficiency test in Chinese.
                          Over the past five years, 350 non-native Chinese language speakers have been
                            tested and certified at the KSU testing center.
                             The wisdom of “Guanxi” is intertwined in the continuing evolution of KSU’s
                              ties to China, which culminated last spring with the designation of the
                                campus as a site for a prestigious Confucius Institute to promote Chinese
                                 language and culture — one of only two in Georgia.
                                 Each new carefully cultivated relationship has created even more
                   opportunities for study-abroad, faculty exchange and special programs in China and
                   at KSU. The following pages feature some of the people and programs that reflect
                   KSU’s on-going efforts to develop “Guanxi” with its China partners.

18   | Kennesaw State University Magazine - Fall 2008/Winter 2009 |
The Art of the Network
For a decade-and-a-half, Ken Jin has built                                  The program has grown since
hundreds of contacts in China, bringing                                 1993, from providing training for one client —
                                                                        planning commission officials from Jiangsu
thousands of Chinese officials and
                                                                        province in Nanjing Normal — to government
professionals to study at KSU                                           clients in more than 50 locales throughout
                                                                        China. In addition, it has provided executive

                                     I t’s not the fact that Ken
                                       Jin’s three-inch thick,
                                     leather-bound business card
                                                                        training to chief financial, information and
                                                                        logistics officers from 192 of China’s
                                                                        largest companies. Regular cor-
                                     holder is so meticulously
                                                                        porate customers include State
                                     ordered — alphabetized by
                                                                        Power Company, China National
                                     city, industry, affiliation and
                                                                        Packaging Corporation, China Aviation
                                     name — that is so impres-
                                                                        Industry Corporation and the Agricultural Bank
                                     sive. It’s that he relishes each
                                                                        of China. Some 80 percent of the program’s govern-
                                     name and the value of every
                                                                        ment and corporate training
                                     contact in his card holder.
                                                                        clients are repeats.
                        Ken Jin         For 15 years, Jin, di-
                                                                            Funded exclusively through contracts with govern-
                                     rector of the Center for
                                                                        ments and businesses, KSU’s training program was
International Training and Service in Continuing Education at
                                                                        awarded the 2006 Georgia Governor’s Award for
KSU, has amassed a network of contacts in the course of de-
                                                                        International Education. The award recognizes the pro-
veloping and marketing more than 150 training programs for
                                                                        gram’s contributions to Georgia’s globalization and to devel-
2,533 Chinese government officials, business executives and
                                                                        oping contacts that benefit business throughout the state.
                                                                            In his daily blog for the Atlanta Business Chronicle from
   Jin’s networking –– forged primarily through personal
                                                                        the Summer Olympics in Beijing, Metro Atlanta Chamber of
contacts in China and the U.S. –– forms concentric circles of
                                                                        Commerce President Sam Williams cited Jin and the univer-
business and academic opportunities. He has used contacts in
                                                                        sity’s Center for International Programs among 16 local busi-
China to develop the training program, attracting a wider and
                                                                        nesses, institutions and individuals with deep ties to China.
wider network of participants, from officials of local and pro-
                                                                        “We’re here enjoying in the fruits of their labor,” Williams
vincial governments to entrepreneurs and senior executives of
large private businesses.
                                                                            The success of the program is due, in part, to Jin’s network-
   At the same time, Jin, who was recently chosen to head the
                                                                        ing and marketing prowess, which has helped land the pro-
Confucius Institute at KSU, promotes the university’s academic
                                                                        gram onto China’s coveted training provider list. In 1999, the
programs to Chinese officials every chance he gets.
                                                                        Chinese national government selected KSU as one of five U.S.
   When Chinese officials and executives come to KSU for
                                                                        sites — the only one in the Southeast — to provide executive
custom-designed training programs — everything from
                                                                        training. Every year, the Chinese government publishes a little
management to marketing, economic development, finance,
                                                                        black booklet with listings of approved and certified sites.
communications and logistics — Jin orchestrates networking
                                                                            “It’s free marketing, but it’s difficult to get business if you’re
opportunities such as receptions and seminars for them to
                                                                        not in this book,” Jin says, while flipping through to show the
meet with local business and government officials.
                                                                        official red stamps indicating renewal of the certificate each
   He calls on his network of officials in Cobb and other metro
counties to meet with Chinese business executives. Owners
                                                                            “The certification helps us get the contracts,” says Jin. “But
of small businesses, in particular, have sought him out to help
                                                                        it’s the service, the quality of the training and the care with
them develop contacts and ideas to conduct and grow their
                                                                        personal details to meet participants’ needs that keeps them
business in China.
                                                                        coming back.”

                                   | Kennesaw State University Magazine - Fall 2008/Winter 2009 |                                               1
M.P.A.s in China’s future

Dozens of Chinese local and provincial
government officials are coming to KSU
                                                    Foreign Exchange
to learn about public administration

Learning to play softball in weekly games           A      t the Coles College of Business, Stella Xu
                                                           has created a web of reciprocal learning
                                                    opportunities for KSU and Chinese students
coached by a KSU professor was a
welcome perk for Hui Chen and the 19                alike.
other Chinese officials spending a year at               Just weeks after returning from a carefully
Kennesaw State to earn Master of Public             choreographed China study-abroad trip she
Administration degrees.                             planned for 20 Kennesaw State students,
                                                    Xu was back at her desk, juggling e-mails,                                      Stella Xu
   But for Chen, who works for the city
of Liuzhou in China’s Guangxi province,             telephone calls and students who popped in
completing an M.P.A. in only one year is            periodically.
serious business. Even before arriving on               As a member of the Coles College of Business faculty and study-abroad program
campus, she completed five months of                 director, she was handling the myriad details of coordinating visits to local businesses
intensive English-language training.                and tourist sites for 25 Chinese students from the same three universities KSU students
   “In order to gain the master’s degree in         had recently visited.
such a limited time, I sometimes have to                Xu brings her boundless energy and passion for business, education and service
study the whole night,” she says. “Public           to students to the task of creating these reciprocal learning opportunities. Her China
administration is not an easy subject for           connections and Owl roots help too.
me. I feel a lot of pressure.”                          A Shanghai native, Xu came to the U.S. in 1999, attended Georgia Perimeter
   Chen and her 19 colleagues are the               College, then earned her bachelor’s from Kennesaw State in 2005, and an M.B.A. in
fourth group to come from China since                                                                               2006.
                                                     This summer, Xu took KSU students to China for a study-abroad
2004 to pursue an M.P.A. at Kennesaw                 trip and hosted 25 Chinese students on campus.                    After successfully
State. Chinese government contractors                                                                               hosting 12 students
are investing in these officials to meet the                                                                         from southern China’s
demands of reform in this fast-growing                                                                              Zhuhai College of Jin
country. China’s need for more highly-                                                                              Lin University during
trained public administrators has evolved                                                                           summer 2007, Xu used
as its highly centralized administration has                                                                        her contacts to plan the
shifted more and more decision-making                                                                               three-week business study
to provincial and local entities, says                                                                              abroad for KSU students
Martha Griffith, who retired this fall as                                                                            in May 2008 that would
M.P.A. program director.                                                                                            take them to Zhuhai, as
   The students hold a range of jobs in                                                                             well as to universities and
China’s local and provincial governments                                                                            businesses in Shanghai
and educational institutions. The current                                                                           and in Beijing.
cohort includes propaganda officers, a                                                                                  “My purpose is to help
foreign affairs officer, a technical college         KSU students learn the way of the Chinese people — their thinking and their behaviors
administrator and a museum curator,                 — because if you study those things, you can develop a relationship and learn to do
among others. KSU has agreements with               business with them,” says Xu.
Chinese government contractors, tailoring               As evidence of the importance of cultivating relationships, Shanghai University sent
the accelerated program to meet their               its first students to participate in KSU’s 2008 summer program only after KSU students
needs.                                              spent time there during their spring study-abroad trip.
   For Chen, the graduate degree is                     “Every time our students go to China and interact with students and faculty there
her best shot at promotion. What she is             — stay in the dorms with them, eat with them, sit in class with them — we expand the
learning is changing her understanding of           relationships,” Xu says.
public administration.                                  Now, she says, many of the 25 Chinese students in this year’s summer program
   “They have different ways of teaching            hope to return to earn graduate degrees in management, marketing, accounting and
here,” Chen says. “Our professors want              finance at KSU. She credits that to their interactions with staff, faculty and students and
us to think and practice more than we did           their exposure to the businesses –– they met with SunTrust Bank executives. They also
in China, which helps us absorb and use             visited sites such as the World of Coke and the Martin Luther King Center.

20                                     | Kennesaw State University Magazine - Fall 2008/Winter 2009 |
“            My purpose is to help KSU students learn the
             way of the Chinese people — their thinking
             and their behaviors — because if you study
             those things, you can develop a relationship
             and learn to do business with them.
                                                                              — Stella Xu

   For the KSU business students who enrolled in Xu’s whirlwind study trip last May, the goal
was for them to gauge the enormity of China’s economy and learn about international
   In addition to the three universities they visited, they held sessions with executives of
multinational companies in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai, including General Motors,
Johnson & Johnson, Office Depot, Home Depot, SANY, Gree Electric Appliances and IBM
Research Lab.
   John Blanchard, a junior majoring in accounting, says the trip to China whetted his
appetite to visit other countries and learn as much as possible about other cultures.
   Blanchard and his fellow KSU business students also visited leading financial institutions
like the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
In between were site-seeing trips to the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the
Forbidden City, as well as dining and cultural activities like lessons in calligraphy and
the ancient art of Tai Chi.
   “My view of China has expanded into deep admiration,” he said. “The single
most important lesson I learned is that it doesn’t matter where you’re from, people
are the same all over the world. Everyone wants happiness and contentment in
their families and friendships.”
   Blanchard embodies the reciprocity Xu strives for in developing study-abroad
   Fresh from his spring trip, he volunteered as a project manager to handle
logistics and drove the students in the summer program to their metro Atlanta
   For her part, Xu would like to see the exchanges between KSU and China expand. She has used
her knowledge — as a consultant to American companies doing business in China and a member
of Governor Sonny Perdue’s economic
development mission to China earlier this
year — to help American students under-
stand business from a global perspective.
   “I think it’s essential that business
students see that while GM may be strug-
gling in the U.S., in China the
company can’t keep up with the demand,
even as they’re working around the clock,
producing a car every 40
minutes,” she says. Conversely, “they may
know Home Depot to be a very success-
ful company in the U.S., but it struggles
against a lot of competition in China. As
the next generation of managers, they will        Xu has spent years building and cultivating relationships in China.
function in a global economy.”

Editor’s Note: In August, Stella Xu left her full-time position at KSU to become China project manager in the Georgia
Department of Economic Development. She continues to teach management as an adjunct instructor
at the Coles College of Business.

                                 | Kennesaw State University Magazine - Fall 2008/Winter 2009 |                         2
                                                                                                    Professors Zhan and Moodie, with their
                                                                         well, Zhan says. They       daughters, taught at Dalian Maritime
                                                                         drew a great deal of        University in China earlier this year.

     (Family) Affair to Remember                                         attention as “xiao wai”
                                                                         (little foreigners) —
                                                                         accepting invitations
     The relationships KSU has nurtured in China have                    for weekend outings
                                                                         with classmates and
     paved the way for an ease of exchange and seam-                     their families.
     less travel to destinations throughout China, even                  “As sisters in a society
     for families who must juggle issues of school and                   that in 1979 imple-
                                                                         mented the one-child
     quality time while on extended stays.
                                                                         policy, they were an
       Meet two KSU families — one faculty, the other                    oddity,” she says.
     students — who seized the opportunity to teach,                     Meanwhile, Moodie
                                                                         and Zhan, who have
     conduct research, study, work and travel together
                                                                         both been a part of KSU’s faculty for nine years, performed a
     during faculty exchange and study-abroad trips to                   wide range of academic duties, intermingling them with family
     China culminating in spring 2008.                                   travels through China, which took them to Beijing, Wuhan,
                                                                         Yichang, Shanghai and its northern neighbor, Nantong.
                                                                             Moodie helped faculty research and develop papers in
     Douglas Moodie, professor of management, and                        English, for which China’s national higher education system
                                                                         awards more points. He also taught M.B.A. students a course
     Ginny Zhan, associate professor of psychology                       in quality management, conducted management training for a
                                                                         Chinese shipping and transport company, and lectured Dalian
     China destination:                                                  Maritime faculty on “teaming” — getting students to work in
     Dalian, Liaoning province, northeast China
                                                                         teams — a practice widely promoted in the Coles College.
                                                                         For Zhan, the trip to China presented an opportunity to

     T    he Coles College of Business has conducted a formal
          faculty exchange with Dalian Maritime University for Naval
     Preparation for the past 10 years. Each year, KSU professors
                                                                         advance her research on the social and psychological effects
                                                                         of China’s one-child policy.
                                                                             She was also able to lend her expertise in psychologi-
     go there to teach, or Dalian Maritime faculty come to KSU.
                                                                         cal counseling. The need for more counseling has become
     China’s spring semester (March to July) 2008 was Doug
                                                                         evident across China, and the government is beginning to re-
     Moodie’s turn to go to Dalian, a harbor city of 6 million that is
                                                                         spond, Zhan says. At Dalian Maritime, which had just opened
     also a major transportation center in China. The Coles College
                                                                         the university’s first counseling center, Zhan consulted with the
     was funding his trip to Dalian Maritime so he could continue
                                                                         director and staff on the organization and layout of the facility
     research, teach, conduct trainings, and assist faculty meet
                                                                         and taught a social psychology class to graduate students.
     publishing goals.
                                                                         At Dalian Advanced Technical College, Zhan, who teaches
        Moodie’s wife, KSU psychology professor Ginny Zhan,
                                                                         courses in cross-cultural and developmental psychology, had a
     received approval to join him on the trip, sealing the plan to
                                                                         chance to talk to students and faculty of a gerontological care
     make travel to China a family affair with their two daughters,
                                                                         program on the psychology of aging.
     Samantha, 9, and Melodie, 12.
                                                                             “The Chinese population,” she says “is aging rapidly and
        The couple enrolled their daughters in a Dalian Maritime-
                                                                         more and more often living away from family.”
     affiliated school where they learned some Chinese and made
     friends quickly with peers, many of whom spoke English very

22                                    | Kennesaw State University Magazine - Fall 2008/Winter 2009 |
                                                                      A study-abroad trip to China in 2006
Faith Gary, summer 2008 KSU graduate                                  convinced Gary that she wanted to go back     at Zhengzhou
                                                                      with her family.                              University in
China destination:                                                                                                  Henan province
Jiangsu and Zhengzhou in eastern China, and Beijing                                                                 and further east
                                                                                                                    at Yangzhou

T    he summer Faith Gary spent on a study-abroad trip in                                                           University in
     China in 2006 was enough to convince her that she would                                                        Jiangsu province,
have to return to really get to know the country.                                                                   leaving their
   “The study abroad just scratched the surface,” says Gary,                                                        daughters behind
who saw the trip as an opportunity to “invent herself” as an                                                        with the kids’
“international public relations” major since there was no such                                                      grandparents.
program of study at KSU.                                                                                             The couple
   At 45, Gary is somewhat of a master of invention.                                                                returned to
   With her oldest son in college, she left her job and joined                                                      China with Joy
her husband Emery, a marketing manager, in enrolling as                                                             and Grace — to
full-time undergraduates in 2005, when KSU was celebrating          Beijing this time — in September 2007, hired a travel guide,
the “Year of China.”                                                then retraced their footsteps to some of the major sites they
   Over the next two years, a series of fortunate events unfold-    had visited earlier. The family toured Xi’An, Zhenghou and
ed that resulted in her summer study abroad and, ultimately,        Yangzhou, giving the girls a chance to see sites such as the
a year of living in China with her daughters — Joy and Grace,       Shaolin Temple and the Great Wall before Gary’s husband
then 4 and 13 — and teaching in Beijing.                            returned to the U.S. Gary stayed for several months teaching
   The couple’s interest in China piqued while studying at KSU.     English at a Beijing Montessori school.
Gary was so hooked that she changed her required foreign               While in China, Gary took KSU classes online and also
language from Spanish to Mandarin.                                  conducted research into the English as a Second Language
   Over the next two semesters, she enrolled in a series of         (ESL) teaching industry in China. She presented her findings
classes where she gained insight into China’s history and           to faculty and students via videoconference from Beijing to
politics. All along, Gary and her husband continued their           complete course requirements.
Chinese language classes. The two set off for the study-abroad         The year in China evoked a range of emotions for Gary,
                                                                    who penned a poem titled “Black and Blue in Beijing” while
                                                                    living there.
Gary brought her daughters and husband last year to China,
where she taught English at a Montessori school and researched
                                                                       “The pollution in the city was unbearable; you almost
ESL teaching.                                                       never saw blue sky, and it bothered me that people seemed
                                                                    to have no regard for the other’s physical space,” she says.
                                                                       Still, she managed to appreciate the strong family and
                                                                    education values she observed among the Chinese, and the
                                                                    complexities of managing one of the world’s fastest-growing
                                                                       “It’s not every day you have a chance to be a foreign
                                                                    immigrant in someone else’s country –– a very enlightening
                                                                    experience,” says Gary. “Living there helps you see the people
                                                                    and their realities in a whole different light.” K

                                  | Kennesaw State University Magazine - Fall 2008/Winter 2009 |                                        2

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