Each fall for the last several years, I’ve visited with Wesleyan alumni, parents and prospective students in Asia. I’m just back from Korea, China and Taiwan, where we held receptions and, in Beijing, a forum on liberal arts education and sustainable economic development. In a time of rising nationalism and chauvinism disguised with ethical posturing, it was good to have conversations with folks with a wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds. Although my Fall Break trips go by very quickly, I always learn a lot from listening to our extraordinarily diverse Wesleyan family in Asia.
During my visit to China, I also met with those involved in a potential joint venture to open a film-centered school in the country. Following those meetings, Wesleyan has come to a decision not to proceed with such a project. As I explained in an email to campus today:
..in considering this possible campus in China, we needed to be sure that the academic work would be in line with the distinctive pragmatic liberal education at the core of Wesleyan’s mission. Further conversations with those who proposed the partnership have made it clear that our respective goals could not be sufficiently aligned—not to mention the questions we had around issues of academic freedom and the implications for our home campus.
While we will not move forward with this particular project, we remain interested in exploring collaborations in accordance with our Beyond 2020 strategic plan.
We have learned much from this process, and we will continue to seek ways to enhance the value of a Wesleyan diploma by expanding the reach of our academic programs, and by empowering our students, faculty, staff and alumni to do meaningful work on our campus and beyond.
Photos from the visit follow: