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Xi'an International Studies University leaders visited BYU campus to meet with McKay School administrators

BYU was honored by the recent visit of Wang Junzhe, president of Xi’an International Studies University (XISU), and five of his administrators from Xi’an, China. Wang and his associates were greeted by several BYU faculty members, including the associate dean and assistant dean of the McKay School of Education, Tina Dyches and Al Merkley.

The relationship between XISU and BYU extends back at least 25 years. Du Ruiqing, a former doctoral student in the McKay School’s Educational Leadership and Foundations Department (EdLF), became the president of XISU in 1998 and held that position until 2004. Following Du’s retirement, XISU and BYU continued to maintain their relationship and have worked together with BYU and XISU faculty to conduct research.

“While it’s one thing to do their research and publish in [Chinese] journals,” Merkley explained, “it’s another for Chinese scholars to be able to collaborate with a quality American institution and have that collaborative support to publish in an American English journal. Such opportunities to publish together can enhance the reputation of the Chinese scholar and extend the importance of what they would have published in a Chinese journal.”

Pamela R. Hallam, chair of the EdLF department, and Samuel D. Brown, a doctoral student and BYU’s director of International Student Services, have been some of the most recent researchers to work with XISU. They traveled to China to conduct a comparative research study regarding trust. They worked with XISU, as well as with Northwest University of Politics and Law (NUPL) in Xi’an, China.

“We are excited to review this rich data to help us understand more about these constructs,” Hallam said. “We intend to submit two articles regarding these two sets of data in the next four to six months. We are grateful to the administration, professors, and students at XISU and NUPL for allowing us to conduct research and hope that we can continue working together.”

The XISU visitors took a campus tour and had a meeting with several BYU faculty members. However, a highlight of their trip was their visit to see the Helen Foster Snow papers in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections at the Harold B. Lee Library.

Originally from Cedar City, Utah, Helen Foster Snow was a journalist who left for China in the 1930s to follow the rise of the Chinese revolution. Snow reported on the Chinese Civil War, the Korean independence movement, and the Second Sino-Japanese War. Members of Snow’s family recently donated her papers to the Harold B. Lee Library.

“They were very, very excited and animated about seeing these artifacts. A lot of what happened in the revolution happened in the city of Xi’an. Xi’an has been a historical capital of China, and they’re very proud of that heritage,” Merkley said.

The relationship between BYU and XISU is significant for both universities to advance research in a variety of fields. This partnership allows for future opportunities to conduct research in different cultures, each with unique perspectives.

Writer: Janine Swart

Contact: Cindy Glad, (801) 422-1922

Photo Credit: Nina Lewis, McKay Creative