The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has signed an agreement with Beijing Jiaotong University (BJTU) to establish a new student exchange program beginning next fall. The Chinese students will spend their first two years of undergraduate work in electrical and computer engineering in Beijing, then transfer for the last two years to the University of Minnesota to complete their undergraduate degrees.

"Beijing Jiaotong University is a very well-known engineering university in China, with particular strength in information technology and transportation," said University of Minnesota faculty member Tom Luo. "This educational partnership with Beijing Jiaotong will enable us to access top undergraduate students from China and attract them to our department."

The two universities will select up to 30 Beijing Jiaotong students each year to participate in the program. Scheduled to operate for three consecutive academic years, the trial program will be evaluated and student numbers increased if success criteria are met. In addition, the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology has begun working with its students who are interested in studying at Beijing Jiaotong University.

"The University of Minnesota continues to attract the most talented students worldwide," said David Lilja, head of the University of Minnesota Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "We are delighted to increase opportunities for Chinese students to experience American higher education in our department, one of the leading international programs in electrical and computer engineering education and research."

In addition, department faculty will have the opportunity to participate in teaching exchanges and research collaborations with Beijing Jiaotong University. Selected Chinese faculty will also spend three weeks on the University of Minnesota campus to facilitate curriculum compatibility between the two universities.

Beijing Jiaotong University expects that this new program will help them attract top Chinese students. The exchange experience will help their students compete in the national and international job market and have a chance to experience Western society, successful market economies, and advanced science and technology.

Coordinators of the program include University of Minnesota electrical and computer engineering undergraduate advisor Kyle Dukart, Beijing Jiaotong University School of Electronics and Information Engineering’s Tao Dan, and Beijing Jiaotong University School of Science’s Sun Weimin.

December 17, 2009