CGTC Begins First Cultural and Academic Partnership with Chinese Vocational Schools

Staff Report From Middle Georgia CEO

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Dr. Amy Holloway, vice president for Academic Affairs at Central Georgia Technical College recently returned from a week-long trip to the Guangzhou province of China to sign several Memoranda of Agreement for continued educational partnerships with Chinese vocational schools.

Her trip marked the beginning of the partnership, formed by the College’s Office of Global Initiatives and its director, Rick Hutto, which aims to bring Chinese students and faculty for immersion study to the College, and send CGTC faculty, as well as the delivery of educational content through telepresence. It is the College’s first dealings with Chinese institutions.

These agreements are with the South China Institute for Software Engineering, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou Information Engineering Vocational School, Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Vocational School, and the GAIA Blue Butterfly Group, an early childhood education institution.

“The Chinese seem genuinely interested in Western approaches to education,” Dr. Holloway said. “These agreements mark our first partnerships in China and signify that CGTC shares common interests and goals with these institutions. It's exciting to see CGTC extend its influence to this part of the world.”

Holloway said that even though China is a half a world away, the approaches to hands-on vocational education are not so distant.

“The student engagement I witnessed was much the same as any college and career academy or technical college in the state,” she said. “And their labs are impressively equipped with the latest technology. From what I saw, the Chinese government has made a significant investment in technical training.”

The cultural engagement of what was Holloway’s first trip to China came with little hindrance apart from the language barrier. She said at times it was “completely foreign yet familiar.” Foreign in terms of communication and language, familiar in the presence of U.S. restaurant chains like McDonald’s and Subway.

“Everyone I met went out of their way to make me feel welcomed. The Chinese people are incredibly gracious hosts. There was even a small band, a dragon, and drones to greet me at one of the vocational schools I visited,” Holloway said.

Conversations are ongoing between the College and each Chinese institution on rolling out the agreements. Faculty and staff from the Blue Butterfly Group have planned to visit CGTC on September 21st and a handful of other faculty and administrators from other schools will follow later in the month.

The Office of Global Initiatives is also planning a two-week program for faculty and students from the South China Institute next summer.

“I believe there is real potential for our college to engage in ongoing cultural exchange with our new Chinese partners,” Holloway said.