Rogue Community College is about to go international.
College officials, along with colleagues from Southern Oregon University in Ashland and Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, will sign an agreement with a delegation from Shijiazhuang University in China this morning, establishing an exchange partnership to allow Chinese students to study at the Oregon schools of higher education.
Representatives of all four schools will meet at 8:30 a.m. today in the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center in Medford to formalize the agreement, officially known as a memorandum of understanding. "We are pleased to extend a warm Southern Oregon welcome to our Chinese partners," said RCC President Peter Angstadt in a prepared statement.
"This arrangement will benefit students from the United States and China and build a strong connection between our schools," he added.
The document will allow Chinese students to attend RCC for one year of orientation instruction and transfer to SOU or OIT — also known as Oregon Tech — to study for a Bachelor of Science degree, explained Kori Bieber, vice president of student services at RCC.
"It's a first for us, that's for sure," she said of RCC, which was established in 1970 in Grants Pass.
"In addition to signing the agreement (today), they will be discussing the partnership and determining recruitment arrangements and start dates," she added, noting the agreement is merely a starting point.
The program would allow Shijiazhuang University students who are proficient in English to apply for four terms of general education at RCC, culminating in an associate of general studies degree, officials said. With the associate's degree, they could then transfer to SOU or OIT, they said.
RCC is developing a curriculum plan for 20 to 40 students that will include cohort classes and encourage the students' integration into open enrollment, they added.
The initial areas of study for Chinese university freshmen will be engineering/mathematics, biology/pre-health and possibly liberal arts.
There are no plans yet for RCC students to travel to the Chinese university for study, although there is talk of a faculty exchange.
The idea for the program began taking shape after a Chinese delegation visited the region during the summer of 2012, Bieber noted.
Shijiazhuang University is located in Shijiazhuang, the capital city of Hebei, a province in northern China.
After signing the agreement, the six-member delegation from China will travel to Klamath Falls to visit OIT.
Created 43 years ago, RCC offers classes in Grants Pass, Medford, White City and the Illinois Valley. Including part-time students, it now has about 20,000 students.
Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.