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Sias in talks with Missouri State University
Wednesday, September 8 – Sias International University held talks with representatives of Missouri State University (MSU) on the 8th of September. The discussions focused on cooperation and exchanges, with a particular focus on the Sias-Amidi Incubation Center, and the possibility of combined or dual degrees.
The visiting delegation consisted of Dr. James Baker, Vice President for Research & Economic Development and International Programs, and Brian Kincaid, Director of the e-Factory. Sias was represented by the Chairman of the Board, Dr. Shawn Chen; Vice President, Guo Aimin; Director of the International Cooperation & Exchange Department (ICED), William Lu; Assistant Principal, Sun Rujian; Director of the Employment & Entrepreneurship Department, Chen Xinda; and the Associate Director of the Employment & Entrepreneurship Department, Lucy Xiao.
Dr. Shawn Chen thanked the representatives for their visit. He spoke of his vision for entrepreneurship that would improve the ecosystem at Sias so as to cultivate an innovative environment. He said that he wants to make the Sias campus a cross-border site that would open China to international students. Sias has been an international platform of culture, and it is generally easier for foreigners to adapt to life here than it is at other universities in China.
Dr. Chen also elaborated on Sias’ relationship with ‘Plug and Play’ and how the Sias-Amidi Incubation Center was set up in 2012 with the investment of Rahim Amidi, Founding General Partner of the Amidi Group and ‘Plug and Play’. At the Incubation Center complete background checks are carried out for all applicants, focusing on the market for the product, the competition in that particular market, and the future prospects for the product. If it is culturally or politically not compatible, the Incubation Center helps with providing solutions. Professionals from Silicon Valley often visit the Sias-Amidi Incubation Center and help students with their startups. The Incubation Center has been a platform for innovation and incubation and provides protection from industrial espionage and theft. Between 2014 and 2015, the Chinese government began to promote innovation and incubation, following which many universities began to join this movement.
The Director of e-Factory at Missouri State University, Brian Kincaid, said that they were eager to learn from Sias as they also have many accelerators and incubators. Lucy Xiao spoke of Sias’ Global Startup Competition in May, 2017, as well as the Startup World Cup and its Regional Finals for China in October, 2016.
William Lu, the Director of ICED, spoke of the soon-to-commence Bachelor’s degree in International Management at Sias’ School of Business, proposing a possible 2+1+1 with Missouri State University (MSU) that could be set up as the curriculum was already in place. Dr. James Baker said that MSU had many course offerings, but dual degrees or 2+1+1 degrees would be dependent on whether the courses were compatible with the majors available at Sias. Dr. Baker went on to talk about an MSU tieup with a university in Brazil wherein core classes were carried out online but not in Missouri. However, they also had other tieups with Chinese universities where the core classes were in China. These were for dual degrees in which students who completed the degree would get certificates from both universities. He said that Ningxia University (in Yinchuan, Ningxia province) had sent 50 agriculture major students to MSU for 10 months and now they were using it as a recruiting tool to get the best agriculture students in China.
Dr. Chen and Dr. Baker also discussed setting up English language programs for students who would go to MSU for their dual degrees. Both sides agreed that there was work to do before the exchanges began, but that the structure for programs lay in place already.
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