Leadership Structure 2013-2014

Apply today for our 2013-2014 leadership steam. We will be accepting applications through Saturday, April 27th, 2013. Have questions? Email carolinachinanetwork@gmail.com

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More info on organizational structure:

CCN President: The president will oversee all other aspects of CCN and CLS and keep everyone on the same page. The president will also run weekly board meetings.

Treasurer: Member of CCN board charged will maintaining our SAFO account, securing money from student government, and working with the fundraising chair to develop a budget for CLS and CCN.

Web Master: Must have basic programming skills. Will run both CCN and CLS website. The web master will attend CCN board meeting as necessary.

Operations Team: This team will manage logistics including but not limited to delegate relations, food, transportation, hotels, venue bookings.

Outreach Team: Outreach team members will work to expand the reach of our China Leadership Summit both nationally and internationally throughout the academic year. Increased ties to China will be a goal, as will increasing our ties to other top universities in America. Corporate relations will work with both the outreach and fundraising team.

Fundraising Team: Led by a strong fundraising chair with long term vision, the fundraising team will begin working in Spring 2013 to make CLS 2014 as successful as possible. Grants both large and small are important to the success of CLS.

PR Team: The PR Team will include members who focus on running our social media both in the US and in China. The PR Team will expand our visibility on campus and beyond. While we have a separate PR team for CCN events on campus, the two groups can work in conjugation as they see fit.

Programming Development: The programming team will work to infuse the event with innovate programming that allows delegates to learn the most from both speakers and each other. This team will focus on incorporating creative approaches to seminar discussion that allow for in-depth discussions throughout CLS.

Campus Affairs: For those interested in working on event planning throughout the year campus affairs is the place for you. Further titles will be given to team members in the fall of 2013 based on the strengths of each individual. The campus part of CCN had a lot of potential, and we look forward to seeing where it goes in the 2013-2014 year.

Comparative Education Seminar

February 15, 2013

28 students gathered to discuss comparative education between China and the United States. We started the discussion by comparing the differences between

the education systems in the two countries. Then students broke up into groups to discuss whether they thought the categorization on the chart to be right. After the students came back together, the discussion focused on the structure of the class as lecture-intensive versus discussion-based. International Chinese students brought the insight that the stereotype about Chinese students not having discussions is wrong; actually students discuss after school. However, admittedly, Chinese school cannot afford to have many discussion-based classrooms given the large population (50 students/class on average).

Chinese Classroom

Then the participants went on to discuss the incentive of becoming a teacher in China. An Asian American student (Kexin) first described her observation that teachers in the United States do it for love and wondered what the situation in China is like. International Chinese students then agreed that teaching is not the best-paid job in China, but people still tend to view it as a good way of making a living. Some students mentioned the monetary incentive from giving after-school tutorial programs. Also, education has a highly culturally-rooted value in Confucianism; teacher receives respect and high social status. Moreover, it’s a job of high stability, and actually raises one’s prospect of marriage.

Then the conversation moved on to discuss why Chinese students tend to study math and science over other subjects, and why there have been so many “math genius” Chinese students. After some back-and-forth discussion between Chinese and American students, we found rote memorization and drilling to be the key to success in math and science. In fact, to excel at these subjects, you just have to practice a lot. On the contrary, American students who tend to go with subjects and learning methods that are enjoyable and interesting dislike repetitive and mechanical practices.

Also, an Asian American student raised a point that what makes Asian students smart and successful is culturally rooted. From a young age, Chinese kids are encouraged (if not forced) by their parents to do more work instead of playing outside. A Taiwanese American student offered a valuable insight that the Asian population in the United States represent a highly educated group that qualified to immigrate to the United States via admission to American graduate school programs. China has a lot of people, and it’s not like everyone is smart. The Asian American students usually come from high-achieving families, genetically and environmentally advantaged, and with disciplines cultivated by hard-working parents.

Then Phil asked a really good question: given that culture and education shape each other, how does that shaping impact the interaction between Chinese people and American people? From a cognitive science perspective, the memorize-vast-information Chinese learning style cultivates convergent thinking, and the critical thinking and liberal arts American approach, divergent thinking.

Then the discussion slightly changed direction toward what criteria that college selection is based on and how that shapes students. The same Taiwanese American student raised a good point that schools want leaders; they want to educate people to become managers, if not game-changers, in their fields of expertise. Therefore, American students do a lot of extracurricular activities outside of class to demonstrate their leadership capacities. Then the international Chinese students commented that the purpose of Chinese colleges is also to select leaders. However, given the large population in China, it only needs 0.003% of the population to become leaders to run the country. These are the people who go to the top-notch schools to get the best training in knowledge and establish elite social relationships. The best way to do a fair selection would be a standardized examination that filters the 0.003% brightest and screens out the rest. Given the large population, it’s almost impossible for each individual to get attention, and college education is rarely for self-discovery or learning for enjoyment. Those outside of the 0.003% will receive little support and are pretty much on their own to get a college education. And even for the0.003%, college is constructed around getting grades and internships in order to get highest-paid jobs. The idea of studying what you are passionate about and what makes you happy in college (credit to Hannah), therefore, is a foreign idea to them. Then someone said that actually many people in China have mental illness because they spend so much time and efforts on studying what they don’t enjoy. More statistical validation needed. But it’s a serious concern.

Next, the discussion touched base on the relationship between economic structure and education. Chinese people used to favor majors in science and math since its industrialized economic structure guaranteed the most secure jobs with these majors. Nowadays, Chinese students, no matter those who are studying-abroad or in the homeland, find majors in economics and business attractive. Once again it’s because jobs like accounting and finance offer security and monetary prospect. To get a college degree for job security is nevertheless a pitch in the United States too. But students’ areas of interest are more diverse and the competition less severe.

However, it’s noticeable that the premise for American students to major in a diversity of subjects is a matching job market. There has to be a market demandfrom the employers, or at least acceptance, for political science or sociology majors. Employers in China would find such majors with little credibility or qualification due to their unfamiliarity with the subjects. And the knowledge structure in China isn’t yet updated and matured for such majors to put their skills and knowledge into use. It’s even more interesting to compare the relationship between economic structure and education to that in the UK. As the UK enters a design economy, more emphasis is being put on human value, namely creativity, passion and connection with people. The schools consequently put more focus on cultivating creative students who are passionate for what they do, since that’s the best way to do a best job.

It was a thought-provoking discussion on comparative education tonight. It’s also the first of its type at UNC. Stay tuned for a bigger event one to come in two weeks!

-Zishu Chen

Thank you to all those who attended and all who showed interest in our event.

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UNC Alum, McKay Roozen, Joins Teach for China

Thoughts from 卢美凯 on Teaching in China:

During my time at UNC, I had participated in many organizations and projects that were international in scope, with China as the primary focus. China Leadership Summit was one project that was especially dear to me. By senior year, I had mastered the challenges of college. I was in control of my life, in control of my future, and in control of my time. I made a schedule for myself and all-be-damned if I ever veered off my Google Calendar. It worked. I was successful and accomplished quite a bit.

As I began to think critically about my future in my senior year, I knew one of two things was about to happen: I was either about to fall off the deep-end, into a well-paid field of consulting or management hat was unaligned with my trajectory, or I was going to go back to China. And so I find myself here as a Fellow with Teach for China.

Teach for China (TFC) is a very young non-governmental organization that seeks to eliminate educational inequality in China. Like Teach for America, they place Fellows in particularly difficult schools where the odds are stacked up against them and their students. Soon after I arrived in China and began working with TFC, I realized that this was a new kind of hard. This was not college. I was a real, live, semi-adult with the future of over 100 kids in my hands.

Most importantly, I learned that I did not have control. I was never clear on when things were happening, what exactly was happening, how long it would take and what would be involved. I realized that I only had 40 minutes three times a week to teach my students a full curriculum that they would forget in a matter of hours. I was told what to eat, what to drink, who I was eating with and when, likely when it was happening. No planning allowed. The little things like water (hot water in particular), electricity, a restaurant to eat at, were out of my hands. I was no longer the queen of my castle. I was only just another villager living the village life.

The adjustment from having everything to having so little that was mine was difficult. It still is. But it has been an excellent exercise in something I am not good at. I have realized recently that the only consistency in my life is that there is no consistency. Finally, I’m at a place where that’s ok and understanding this has made me a better person, a better teacher and a better contribution to my little village of Lawu.

So what’s the takeaway from this cheesy sob story about control? Well, to challenge yourself. Find yourself in places where it is uncomfortable, where it makes you angry and irritable and then figure out how to deal. Figure out how to be happy in the direst of situations. To be able to make this sort of adjustment is invaluable. Use your strengths to develop your weaknesses. It will make you a better person and a better student of life.

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An exciting November for CCN

Photo from Brookings Institute

This November was chalk full of events related to China. With leadership transitions in both the US and China, we were all on our toes waiting to see how these transitions will affect US-China relations in the next decade. To learn more about the leadership transition several CCN members headed over to Duke for a panel discussion entitled “Pivot to the Pacific: Challenges for the US and China in the 21st Century”. The event was put on by Duke East Asian Nexus, our sister organization that co-hosts our spring Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit, and Duke International Relations Association. The impressive group of panelists consisted of William C. Kirby, former Dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, is T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies at Harvard University and Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, James Holmes, Associate Professor of Strategy at the Naval War College and an expert on Taiwan issues. Bai Gao, Professor of Sociology at Duke University and an expert on China’s financial system and relations to Japan. Edmund Malesky, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Duke University and an expert on China’s relations in South East Asia. Carolina China Network enjoys collaborating with Duke one events throughout the year, and we plan to invite Duke students over in January for an event focusing on China’s leadership transition.