Pennoni Premieres

Two Universities Documentary

Two Universities and the Future of China, a documentary on Beijing’s Peking and Tsinghua Universities, premiered on Drexel’s campus this past October. The film was written and directed by Dr. Paula Marantz Cohen, distinguished Professor of English and an associate of the Honors College. The documentary interviews students at the two universities, considered to be the Harvard and Yale of China, and discuss the goals of China’s next great leaders. Dr. Cohen believes that by discussing China’s future with the students at these universities, we get a glimpse into the years to come.


The Honors College took the lead to produce the film, while other various associates came together to make the production possible. The Goodwin College of Professional Studies Provided camera equipment, and the Westphal College of Media Art & Design assisted with post-production. Along with Drexel’s colleges, China Education Television partnered with the university to produce the film. The Honors College’s Dean Dave Jones accompanied Dr. Cohen to China, as the Executive Producer.

The documentary’s U.S. premiere received a lot of support from its partners. Several Chinese principals attended and were provided with translation aid. Many Drexel graduate students from China were also at the premiere. As noted in the film, many Chinese students study abroad in graduate school. The film explains how majors are chosen for the students as undergraduates depending on the results of their placement exams. Students, who did not receive the major they hoped to receive, will often study their preferred subject outside of China instead.

Dr. Cohen has been invited to return to Tsinghua University to screen and discuss the film and her current research. This screening will require additional post-production work. Chinese subtitles will have to be added to the film.