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Slippery Rock establishes exchange program with Chinese university

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 2:18 p.m.

Slippery Rock University has an official China connection, following a ceremony Wednesday in which university President Cheryl Norton and Shen Jiufu, president of Xi'an Fanyi University, inked an agreement for an exchange program.

The program, slated to begin this fall, calls for the schools to partner in a master of arts degree in English program and in undergraduate degrees related to business and tourism. Students would study in both countries.

Xi'an Fanyi, located in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, has an enrollment of more than 40,000 students.

Slippery Rock has semester or yearlong exchange programs with other universities including schools in China, India, South Korea, Hungary, England and Ireland, among others, but the new agreement is the first packaged with specific degree offerings.

Slippery Rock spokesman Karl Schwab said the Butler County university enrolled 10 Chinese students this spring and expects to enroll another 10 to 20 Chinese students when the Xi'an Fanyi exchange begins.

It's unclear how many Slippery Rock students will study in China. But officials said the program does not call for a one-to-one exchange.

Slippery Rock, which posted a 6 percent decline in enrollment last fall, has 8,350 students.

The agreement with the Chinese school grew out of talks that began last fall when a delegation of Slippery Rock administrators traveled to China and Vietnam to explore Asian partnerships.

Schwab said Slippery Rock officials are submitting paperwork that they hope will lead to similar partnerships with universities in Vietnam.

Last month Slippery Rock hosted 30 Chinese students for a special four- to five-week program in parks and recreation management.

Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996.

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