GSE News

Penn GSE Hosts Students in Joint EdD Program with China

Penn GSE is partnering with East China Normal University on the first-ever doctorate of education program offered in China.

The first cohort of students arrived on the Penn campus this fall for an intensive 12-week course that introduced them to cutting-edge issues in American education. Combined with site visits to area schools and universities, the course at Penn is designed to expand the students' understanding and introduce an international comparative element to their doctoral research.

"Penn GSE is breaking new ground internationally by working with ECNU," said Cheng Davis, Vice Dean for International Programs and Development. "The program, a practical departure from the more theoretical PhD programs available in China, allows participants to tap into the experiences and resources of Penn GSE and other leading players in American education, in order to improve the schools and universities they administer."

Based in Shanghai, ECNU is one of China's premier teachers' colleges, and the Penn GSE-ECNU Joint EdD Program has been developed in cooperation with the Chinese Ministry of Education. Program degrees will be issued by ECNU.

Penn GSE provided expertise in developing the program's curriculum and is also coordinating instruction-both through Shanghai-based seminars by Penn faculty and associates and through the accelerated period of study and research in Philadelphia.

During their stay in the United States, the first cohort of 14 students participated in seminars conducted by faculty and guest speakers from Penn, Harvard, and other key organizations. Topics focused on education management at the senior administrative level, including the effects of globalization, global competitiveness, diversity, institutional ranking, leadership and governance, student affairs, and community and government relations.

Through visits to the Penn Alexander School, the Philadelphia and Lower Merion School Districts, and the Haverford School, students had the opportunity to observe both public and private K-12 education in action.

Site visits also introduced them to the broad range of higher education available in the United States, from Ivy League universities like Penn, to smaller private colleges like Bryn Mawr, Drexel, St. Joseph's and Villanova, to the large state system of Rutgers, and even to the rising availability of computer-based distance learning as typified by the Distance Education Program of the University of Maryland University College.

At the end of their program at Penn, the students were required to give oral presentations, in English, introducing their doctoral research projects and indicating how their term of study at Penn had changed or expanded these projects.

Said Davis, "These students took home a wealth of relevant experiences and knowledge with direct application to their work toward their degrees and, we hope, pleasant memories of their stay in Philadelphia. The success of this program, the product of the long-standing relationship between Penn GSE and ECNU, will further promote that cooperation and is expected to lead to even closer ties between the sister schools in the future."

CONTACT: Gabriela Femenia, Director of International Programs, 215-898-5244
mfemenia@gse.upenn.edu.