Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway will lead a delegation of KU faculty and administrators on a trip to China in mid-June, the school announced Thursday.
The stated goal of the June 10-17 trip is to develop more academic exchange programs and research collaborations. The itinerary includes visits to seven Chinese universities, a visit with Kansas' trade representative in Beijing and meetings with Kansas-related companies doing business in China.
"KU expertise going abroad can make a huge impact on China's future, and China is going to have a huge opportunity over here," said Bill Tsutsui, director of KU's Confucius Institute, which is funded partly by the Chinese government and promotes learning of Chinese language and culture.
Hemenway is scheduled to give a lecture on the Harlem Renaissance during a stop at Huazhong Normal University in Wuhan.
As the partner university for KU's Confucius Institute, Huazhong Normal University sends instructors to KU each semester to teach Chinese language courses. Tsutsui said one goal of the visit would be to expand the relationship between the two schools.
"We have one student over there right now, and I hope there will be increasing numbers in the future," Tsutsui said.
Tsutsui estimated that the trip would cost more than $25,000 and would be paid for with a combination of sources. For example, the travel costs for Tsutsui and Sheree Willis, associate director of the Confucius Institute, will come out of the money the institute receives from the Chinese government.
KU spokesman Todd Cohen said private dollars managed by the KU Endowment Association would pay for Hemenway's portion of the trip. Hemenway's last official trip abroad, according to KU, was a 10-day visit to China, Taiwan and South Korea in June 2005. That trip, too, was paid for with private dollars.
Other KU faculty going on the trip are Rick Ginsberg, dean of the School of Education; Joseph Steinmetz, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Holly Goerdel, assistant professor of public administration; Allen Rawitch, dean of graduate studies at KU Medical Center; Stephen Mazza, professor of law; Bob Honea, director of the Transportation Research Institute; Tsutsui and Willis, who will be the delegation's interpreter.
KU's Confucius Institute was the fourth in the United States when it opened in May 2006. China has set the goal of establishing more than 100 Confucius Institutes by 2010.
This year, KU's institute had two visiting Chinese language instructors; next year that number will grow to four. Starting next year, most of the education through KU's Confucius Institute will happen at the Edwards Campus in Overland Park. The Chinese government is contributing about $40,000 to help build a new distance-learning classroom there that will be used to broadcast Chinese language courses to high schools across the state.