In June 2010 Department Chair Professor Gerry Tyler travelled to China to participate in an International Faculty Development Seminar sponsored by the Council for International Educational Exchange (CIEE).
The seminar was based in Shanghai, a city that has served as the forefront of Chinaís double digit economic growth that has occurred over the past two decades. Shanghai provided the ideal setting for examining the intersections of economic growth, social change, and urban development. Ten faculty members from all over the US participated in the seminar which included speakers from public policy institutes, universities, and the private sector.
Topics discussed included the economic and political relations between the United States and China as well as the domestic challenges of migration and displacement, cultural preservation, and social transformation of urban planning for sustainability.
Kerry Joyce interviewed Professor Tyler to find out more about her experience in Shanghai.
Q: Had you travelled to China prior to this trip?
Yes, I spent a month in China in 2007 and during this visit I was asked to spend time at URIís partner university, Zhejiang University in Hangzhou. Several of our political science students were studying Chinese there as part of URIís Flagship program.
Q: What surprised you during your trip?
The fact that so much of Shanghai now has new sky scrapers in areas that were just fields less than 20 years ago.
Q: What other experiences were particularly significant?
It was reassuring to discover that the issues I had been discussing in my Politics of China class were the same issues emphasized by the Chinese scholars who spoke in the seminaróthe huge gap between the rich and poor in China, the problems caused by the large influx of migrant workers from the countryside into the cities, etc.
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