Dr. Priscilla Romkema, dean of the College of Business and Technology at Black Hills State University, recently participated in a seminar in China to discuss a possible exchange program for students and faculty.

Romkema attended the Fourth Seminar on Credit and Degree Recognition between Chinese and American Universities and the graduation ceremony of the “Sino-American 1+2+1 Dual-Degree Program" in Nanjing, China.  According to Romkema, the purpose of the seminar was to provide a forum for U.S. and Chinese universities with academic programs in tourism and hospitality management the opportunity to begin discussions on possible student and faculty exchanges. Students who participate in the 1+2+1 Program complete their first year at a Chinese university, then attend two years at a U.S. university (that may include summer courses) before returning to their home institution in China their final year. Students in the program earn a dual degree—one from a U.S. university and the other from a Chinese university.

Romkema met representatives from various Chinese universities and visited Soochow University in Suzhou and the Institute of Tourism at Shanghai Normal University. In the coming weeks, BHSU faculty members will work with officials from the Chinese universities to develop academic schedules (two-year sequencing of business and tourism courses) and articulation agreements.

“The opportunity to open our doors to the 1+2+1 Program will not only benefit the students from China who enroll in business and tourism classes at BHSU, it will also benefit our students and the community by bringing these students and their culture to our doorstep,” Romkema said.

The U.S. and Chinese governments signed an agreement for Cooperation in Educational Exchanges in 2000 and re-signed this agreement in 2006.

According to Romkema, BHSU is among 70 universities in the U.S. and China participating in this program, which was designed to promote cooperation and exchanges between higher educational institutions, including the dual-degree program.

The China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE), the China Center for International Exchange, and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) started the “Sino-American 1+2+1 Dual-Degree Program” in 2001 in response to the above agreement between the two governments.  AASCU is a non-governmental membership organization serving more than 400 institutions of higher education in the U.S. and its territories and has been involved with CEAIE in China for more than 25 years.