Northwestern signs exchange agreement with Sias University

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Northwestern signs exchange agreement with Sias University

July 10, 2008

Administrators from Northwestern Oklahoma State University recently enjoyed an eight day excursion to China for the signing of an educational exchange agreement with SIAS International University in Xinzheng City, Henan.

This agreement opens doors for a multitude of educational opportunities.  It includes development of a variety of exchange programs such as the exchange of faculty, students, academic information and materials. 

SIAS agreement
(From left) Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president, and Shawn Chen, founder of SIAS, sign the educational exchange agreement in Xinzheng City, Henan, China.

Great Wall
(From left) Fred Li, SIAS Administrative Assistant for the International Cooperation and Exchange Department, and Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president, toured the Great Wall of China.  Li served as Dr. Cunningham's and Dr. Knedler’s tour guide during their excursion to China.

 Following Northwestern’s mission to develop partnerships with other institutions for multicultural exchange, Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president, and Dr. Mike Knedler, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, traveled to China for the signing ceremony. 

“This is such an exciting opportunity for Northwestern to have a relationship with China and to see the drastic differences in culture,” Knedler said.  “It presents great potential for studying abroad and collaborative efforts in individual class and research projects.”

Knedler met Shawn Chen, founder of SIAS, at the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education at Harvard University in 2005.  Chen visited Northwestern in the fall of 2005; a visit that prompted Chen to invite Cunningham and Knedler to China to visit the university and experience Chinese history and culture this spring. 

“By having this agreement, it allows each university the opportunity to showcase its history and cultural diversity,” Knedler said.

Opening in 1998 with American financing, SIAS currently provides a quality education to more than 13,000 students and offers a wide range of degree options including 53 major areas of study.

            Chen’s university concepts are based on the American education model, where students are presented with more critical thinking issues as opposed to the Chinese model, based on memorization.

In combined efforts to develop awareness of cultural diversity and international exchange, this agreement provides great opportunities for students and faculty at both universities.

“Clearly, our students must be prepared to compete in a worldwide economy and Northwestern must provide opportunities for them to gain a global perspective,” said Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president. “China has the world’s fastest growing economy and provides numerous new opportunities for college graduates and entrepreneurs. This agreement with SIAS will give our students and faculty valuable exposure to Chinese culture and business practices.”

            Anyone interested in this exchange opportunity should contact Knedler at or (580) 327-8590.



Northwestern Oklahoma State University
Steve Valencia, Director
Office of University Relations
709 Oklahoma Blvd., Alva, OK 73717
Phone: (580) 327-8478  Fax: (580) 327-8660

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