Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Collaborating with China: Dean Daleke on recruiting, fellowships and the establishment of a new summer program

August 2009 - Visiting student researcher Lan Wang from Tsinghua University in Beijing discusses her summer research project with biology Professor Roger Innes.

In mid-October 2010, David Daleke, Associate Dean for the University Graduate School, traveled to China to explore collaborations with top-notch Chinese universities and to recruit graduate students.

His first stop -- the International Graduate Scholars Conference (IGSC) in Beijing, China. The IGSC is sponsored by the China Scholarship Council (CSC), a subsidiary of the Chinese Ministry of Education, and focuses on connecting Chinese doctoral students with research experiences in the U.S. and other international institutions.
At the IGSC, Dean Daleke took part in a recruiting fair where he estimates 600-700 students participated. Additionally, as part of the conference, Daleke met one-on-one with representatives from 15 other institutions from China to explore potential collaboration and the CSC scholarship program.

Two types of scholarship are offered through the CSC. The first is a four-year fellowship for new students entering doctoral programs. Recently the CSC has nearly doubled the amount of support, which now comes close to providing full funding to participants.

“This increase in support has made the CSC program much more attractive to the best Chinese students,” Daleke said. To receive a student on the CSC scholarship, universities taking part in the program only need to provide a fee remission.
The second type of scholarship is a visiting scholars program where current doctoral students at Chinese universities spend one or two years abroad at an international institution like IU, then return to China to finish their research. At IU, it is estimated that more than 20 Chinese graduate students visit IU each year under this program.

Daleke’s journey continued as he traveled to Renmin University in Beijing, Xian Jiatong in Xi’an, and FuDan University in Shanghai with an additional CSC-sponsored program called the IGSF (International Graduate Scholarship Fair). In response to the success of the IGSC, the IGSF sets up one-on-one interviews with potential Chinese graduate students in three different Chinese cities for 46 universities from the US, Canada, parts of Europe, and Australia.

Different Chinese universities are selected for the IGSF each year, and Daleke said this ensures he will meet different local students in each location. Students interested in IU sign up for one-on-one interviews, and “as a result, we had more specific contacts with students than we would have at a standard recruiting fair, and I hope this approach will be more productive in terms of recruiting students in IU. The format also allowed me to give each student more focused advice and recommendations on how to prepare their application for admission.”

“Opportunities like these provided by the IGFC and the IGSC are also excellent exposure for IU,” he said. “We develop partnerships for recruiting students, and it puts our name out there, which is very important for getting good applicants from China. As a result of my recent trip, the University Graduate School passed on 200 contacts to departments as prospective recruits. In addition, we hope that the more in-depth conversations we had will encourage students to apply here.”

Daleke also used the opportunity to further develop partnerships for a program aimed at bringing Chinese undergraduate students to IU for an eight-week summer research experience. This past summer, the program brought in 11 students from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Plans are now underway for Peking and Zhejiang Universities to join the program in the summer of 2011.

“The goal for the summer program with Tsinghua University,” said Associate Dean David Daleke, “was to make a connection with these students and show them what IU is like for graduate school. It may also turn out to be a good vehicle to promote faculty colloborations.”

Most of the visiting students were rising seniors and in this initial year, all the students were placed in labs in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology and Medical Sciences but it is expected that the partnership with Zhejiang will be in the social sciences.

“The summer was great,” student Lan Wang, who was part of the first summer exchange program from Tsinghua University, said. “I enjoyed my stay in the lab, everyone was friendly and the project was amazing.”

The seed money to kick-start the program came from the VP for International Affairs, Dean Daleke said, who provided $10,000 to offset the cost of room and board, which is equivalent to $1000 per student.

The Graduate School provided another third of the funding and the host faculty paid the final third. In some cases, departments helped assisted faculty and kicked in some of the money.

“It was great to see such broad support from multiple offices and impressive that faculty were willing to commit some of their research funds to the program,” Daleke said. He hopes that departments will continue to view the program as a recruitment mechanism, as it also gives the faculty as chance to preview potential applicants.

"We want to bring some of the best students from these universities to IU. And if they like what they see, we hope they'll apply."