Ties with China earn Commerce award

by Stephen Forgacs
Staff writer

The Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration's success in building educational ties between Chinese universities, academics, business and government officials and the Vancouver academic and business communities has won recognition from the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).

The faculty's long relationship with China through its China programs has garnered the AUCC Award for Excellence in Internationalization in the International Partnerships category. The award was presented in Ottawa recently.

Sponsored by Scotiabank, the award recognizes the faculty's efforts in "integrating an international dimension into the teaching/learning, research and service functions of a university."

"Business is becoming more global every day," said Peter Godsoe, Scotiabank chair and CEO. "By preparing our future leaders for the challenges and opportunities of the world marketplace, these leading Canadian educators are helping propel Canada to the forefront in the race for global competitiveness."

Assistant Dean Grace Wong, who oversees the faculty's international programs, said the faculty's early ventures into China allowed it to build on an extensive history of activities and experiences.

"Since 1980, we have been developing ties and sharing our expertise with Chinese academics, as well as business and government officials. The way we have structured the programs, with extensive involvement of Canadian businesses and government organizations, has helped build ties and understanding that extend beyond the academic realm," she said.

Wong cites three aspects of the faculty's China programs as being particularly innovative.

First, the programs were launched before the importance of establishing relationships with China was widely recognized in Canada.

Second, the faculty developed and offers executive programs at UBC in Mandarin in many areas of specialization including general business, international business, real estate, finance and banking, and public administration.

Finally, the faculty included the local business community in the programs, linking the academic and practical sides through the involvement of more than 62 Canadian companies and government organizations.

Michael Goldberg, dean of Commerce and Business Administration, said the programs have delivered benefits to all participants.

"The programs have provided various opportunities for the faculty to foster the creation of academic and business relationships at all levels that are so critical to the success of internationalization," he said. "The presence of the 86 Chinese scholars and students in Commerce classrooms, and the experience that 34 UBC faculty members have gained during their research and teaching visits in China have provided a comprehensive opportunity. Many of these relationships have been sustained through the years."

The faculty has formed partnerships with academic and government institutions, including Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the University of International Business and Economics and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation.