The Educational Leadership Department to Host China Scholars for the Third Summer

The International Scholarly Exchange Curriculum (ISEC) program out of Beijing, China has found a home at the University of Montana under the Department of Educational Leadership who has been hosting a three week long seminar program each summer since 2015.

Professors, lecturers, directors, deans, and teaching assistants from varying universities throughout China come together at UM to participate in an in-depth faculty development seminar program learning about topics such as standards based instruction, building and using rubrics, and assessing critical thinking. The 2017 participants came to UM for the three week long program from six different universities in China: Chifeng University, Shenyang Institute of Technology, Bohai University, Guiyang University, Jilin Normal University, and Inner Mongolia University for the Nationalities.

While all of the participants each year are actively working in Higher Education, their disciplines range from architecture & civil engineering, economics, musicology, public administration and more. Over the last three years, the Educational Leadership Department has worked closely with the Director of ISEC, Zhang Heng, to structure the sessions at UM to be beneficial to each participant, regardless of title or discipline. 

ISEC is a government sponsored and highly profiled program affiliated with the China Scholarship Council (CSC) which is directly under the Ministry of Education in China. CSC gives out billions of dollars in scholarships to students and professors each year for their study and research abroad. ISEC has recruited 20 universities and colleges under its programs which oversee over 1,700 faculty and more than 10,000 students in over 40 different fields of study.

During the Summer 2016 ISEC program at UM, agreements were made to list UM and ISEC as a government-to-government/people-to-people program by the Chinese government through efforts and support by President Royce Engstrom, Provost Perry Brown, interim Provost Beverly Edmond, Senator John Tester, and Deputy Minister Ping Hao. We hope this connection between UM and ISEC will open the door for more opportunities for visiting scholars and the potential for more student exchange groups.

Session presentations tend to move and flow depending on the focus of each participant and the Educational Leadership Department is thankful to the following professors for their willingness to participate in this dynamic program: John Matt, Zhen Cao, Roberta Evans, Bill McCaw, Nathan Lindsay, Beverly Chin, Frances O’Reilly, Patty Kero, Dan Lee, Susan Harper-Whalen, Kirsten Murray, and Martin Horejsi . Without their dedication and commitment to the missions of the department and the ISEC program, we would not be where we are today, nor in the planning stages for the summer 2018 ISEC Program.

While the Department of Educational Leadership has hosted this program for the past three years, the ISEC participants use many services on campus. This program would not be possible without the help and support from UM Dining, Residential Life, and the Griz Card office. Each summer’s groups have had different interests based on their disciplines and each year we have set up appointments for them to talk with UM department chairs and staff in ASUM, the School of Business Administration, the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences, and a number of others. The Educational Leadership Department is incredibly thankful for the opportunities we are able to share with our ISEC programs thanks to the faculty and staff across UM.

As a part of this exchange, the Educational Leadership Department plans cultural weekend events for each group to see the rural side of Montana. To the average traveler, it may seem unnecessary to visit places like hospitals, airports, schools, or a cattle ranch in the middle of Plains, MT, but giving our participants the opportunity to see just that, gives them a better understanding of rural Montana life, as well as how standard businesses and institutions are structured in the United States. A trip through the Mission Mountains and a boat ride on Flathead Lake gives the group a different perspective of Montana and a relaxing break from their research and studies.

The Department of Educational Leadership looks forward to working with ISEC on future projects, faculty exchanges and summer seminar programs.