BEAVER FALLS — Starting in September, dozens of Chinese college students will be on their way to earning a Geneva College bachelors degree.
The Christian college has partnered with China’s second-largest for-profit English language teaching company and Shanghai’s Zizhu International Education Park to launch an international studies program designed to give Chinese students the opportunity to complete their bachelor’s degree at Geneva’s Beaver Falls campus.
The four-year program, called Geneva College Shanghai, launches this fall and is open to Chinese students interested in completing a degree in one of two concentrations: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) or business/social sciences. Students will spend their first year in at Shanghai’s Zizhu International Education Park, a newly constructed academic and residence facility, which features dorms, faculty housing, classroom space, a student center and study areas.
Geneva is one of eight international college or university partners housed in Zizhu’s facilities. These partners were chosen from more than 285 applicants and include: Florida’s Broward College; University of Southern California; University of Southern California Annenberg; and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For the program’s first year, students will take English classes through the New Channel International Education Group and earn up to 33 class credits with two Geneva faculty members who will be based in at the Zizhu facility.
The college selected two new faculty members to teach at Geneva College Shanghai: Ryan C. McIlhenny, who will teach liberal arts; and professor Jacquelyn R. Balchi will offer math and science instruction.
After two semesters of coursework and intensive English instruction in Shanghai, students will have the opportunity to complete the next three years of their undergraduate studies at Geneva or another American institution.
Through the partnership, New Channel covers the costs associated with facility rental and faculty salaries, said Melinda Stephens, Geneva’s Chief Academic Officer. Geneva brings the personal attention it can provide students as a small school, liberal arts philosophy and reputation as a quality educational institution.
Stephens has worked alongside Geneva’s International Student Services director and program coordinator Jeffrey Cole.
Before starting their education in the U.S., the students will participate in a 10-week summer session at Geneva’s Beaver Falls campus. The college plans add a mentorship component to the program, where Chinese students will be paired with American counterparts, Stephens said.
“The value… is exposing our students to other cultures in a global world,” Stephens said.
Geneva College Shanghai will enroll about 40 students during its inaugural semester and about 150 each following year.
The partnership was made official in October 2016, when Geneva President Calvin Troup traveled to China to sign the agreement.