There are some new faces at Flinders University: a group of Chinese academics will be on the campus for four months as part of a joint mentoring scheme between the University and the Beijing Teachers’ Training Centre for Higher Education.
The 12 visiting scholars have been paired with senior Flinders researchers across all four faculties, working together on areas of common academic interest. The scheme is intended to assist in the professional development of academics working in Beijing’s municipal universities, in order for the institutions to become more internationally connected and competitive.
Capital Normal University historian Professor Liu Wenming, who has been paired with Flinders historian Associate Professor Peter Monteath [pictured left], is full of enthusiasm for the scheme.
“One major benefit comes through being able to work with a mentor who has similar research interests: like me, Peter Monteath has expertise in European history and in the history of exploration,” Professor Liu said.
“The second benefit derives from working in a new and different university environment. I have the opportunity here not only to consult with Australian colleagues but also to become familiar with and use the library facilities.”
And there are benefits beyond research – Professor Liu said that he has also been able to observe teaching methods that he can take back to China.
“It is a great forum for the exchange of ideas. I am learning a lot, and I hope it is not just a one-way street. Ideally there will be benefits for Flinders University into the future as well as for me and my colleagues.”
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) Professor Dean Forbes said he had high expectations that the program would continue and build in future years.
“The mentoring program represents yet another aspect of our growing collaboration with China’s universities that enriches campus life and brings real benefits to higher education in both countries,” he said.