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Drexel Educators Travel to Beijing to Film Documentary on Chinese Higher Education

January 19, 2011

Drexel Educators Travel to Beijing to Film Documentary on Chinese Higher Education
As China continues to emerge as a global power, a Drexel team of educators traveled to Beijing in December to begin work on a documentary film on higher education that will explore how the world’s most populous country approaches college and how it is grooming leaders who could have a significant impact on the world in the near future. In collaboration with China Education Television, the Drexel documentary “The Chinese University Experience” will present an objective view of China’s higher education system while focusing on two of its leading schools – Peking University and Tsinghua University, their students, faculty and administrators. “The film will establish a better understanding of higher education in China and relay this understanding to an audience of college-bound students, their parents, and educators in the United States,” said the film’s director, Dr. Paula Marantz Cohen, a distinguished professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences, noted author and host of The Drexel InterView, an education-oriented television program. China’s postsecondary schools are in the midst of rapid growth and fundamental change as the government invests enormous resources into creating a world-class higher education system to support and sustain its burgeoning economy. China has more than doubled the number of its higher education institutions in the past decade from 1,022 to 2,263. More than 5 million Chinese students enroll in degree courses, compared to 1 million in 1997, according to a report in The Guardian. Dr. Rebecca Clothey, an associate clinical professor in the Goodwin School of Education, is serving a vital role as a project consultant. Clothey, who speaks Mandarin Chinese, is a higher education specialist and China expert, having spent five years there, one as a Fulbright scholar. The Drexel team, which also includes Producer Philip Terranova, recently retired vice president of University Relations, Cory Schmitt, associate director of learning technologies, and Eric Mondgock, co-producer of The Drexel InterView, visited China for 10 days on the first of what is expected to be two trips to Beijing. “We had exceptional access to the top universities in China and we were able to get a strong sense of what life is like for the students at these campuses,” Cohen said. Cohen also expects to produce two interview programs for the Drexel InterView from the team’s conversations with students and faculty at the two universities. “The students expressed a great deal of enthusiasm and idealism,” Cohen said. “They are interested in studying abroad in countries such as America to increase their knowledge, improve themselves and return to China.” With The Drexel InterView broadcast on more than 300 public television stations in the country, Drexel has a ready-made distribution network for the film. ### Photo caption: The Old Gate at Tsinghua University in Beijing. News media contact: Chris Silvestri, media associate, Drexel News Bureau 215-895-2705; 215-668-0780 (cell) or csilvestri@drexel.edu

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