December 17, 2007

Undergraduate dual-degree program unites Case Western Reserve, National Cheng Kung Universities

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More than 1,200 students from 80 countries are attending Case Western Reserve University this year to pursue undergraduate, graduate and professional school studies and research opportunities from among 75 majors and minors.

John Wang and Ching-Hao "Jake" Hsu from the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Tainan, Taiwan, are part of a contingent of new international students welcomed to Case this year. The twosome are at the university as part of a new dual-degree program administered by their home institution and Case Western Reserve. National Cheung Kung University students who participate in this program can earn two degrees (B.S. or B.A.); one from their home institution and the second from Case Western Reserve.

The program is the first of its kind at Case, according to Donald Feke, vice provost for undergraduate education. However, the university has also established dual-degree programs for undergraduates at three other universities in Taiwan. The Case-NCKU partnership represents a growing desire to enhance educational experiences by exposing the students from NCKU to life, culture and academic study in a different country on a different campus while providing Case students the opportunity to broaden their global perspectives by studying and living side by side with the NCKU students.

Hsu lives in the relatively new Village at 115, an apartment-style complex on the north side of campus, while Wang lives in one of the older residence halls, Staley House. "Case's campus is beautiful and convenient. There are lots of trees and cute squirrels in the campus," Hsu says. "I feel very comfortable while I am walking around here."

Hsu adds that everything to him is brand new. "Cleveland is a beautiful city with many beautiful scenes. And Case is a good place to study."

Both learned about the dual-degree program from their advisers at NCKU. Additionally, they spoke with Chung-Chiun "C.C." Liu, Case professor of chemical engineering, encouraged the students to consider enrolling in the program. Liu, also the Wallace R. Persons Professor of Sensor Technology and Control and the director of the Electronics Design Center, has been instrumental in developing and marketing the program to several universities in Taiwan.

"I heard Case had a good reputation, especially in chemical engineering, which is my major," Hsu said. "I'm glad for the chance to study abroad to broaden my mind and experiences."

"Case is not very well known over there [Taiwan] but it should be; it is one of the top ranking schools in the United States," Wang said. "I did my own research and decided I wanted to come here."

Hsu noted that he was surprised Case Western Reserve offered many more majors other than those in the engineering and medical-related fields. A major surprise for Wang has been taking classes with graduate students, whereas at home, undergraduates take courses with other undergraduates. "Taking courses alongside graduate-level students has been quite a challenge to me," he said, adding that his course load prevents him from getting involved in student life as he would like.

Hsu, on the other hand, likes being near University Circle and the opportunities this provides, such as attending Cleveland Orchestra concerts and other musical events. He's managed to connect with the Taiwanese American Student Association, a student group devoted to sharing Taiwanese culture with the campus. The group also provides information and services for Taiwanese American students to assist them in adapting to the community and to help them establish a friendly relationship with the surrounding environment.

Before their departure to the Cleveland, Wang and Hsu received a community send-off from their home university, plus a mention in the United Daily News in Taiwan, a major daily newspaper. The students appeared alongside Michael Lai, president of National Cheng Kung University.

The dual-degree program has received national acclaim in Taiwan, so much so that the Ministry of Education of Taiwan and NCKU provided a financial award of 650,000 Taiwan new dollar (approximately $19,000 in U.S. currency) to each student to support their expenses while completing the two-year program at Case.

Wang is majoring in statistics and Hsu is majoring on chemical engineering. Both expect to pursue graduate studies at Case once their baccalaureate degree requirements are met.

Read more about the program.

For more information, contact Marsha Lynn Bragg, 216-368-6949.

Posted by: Marsha Bragg, December 17, 2007 08:48 AM | News Topics: Administration, Case School of Engineering, College of Arts and Sciences, Faculty, HeadlinesMain, Provost Initiatives, Students

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