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UC-CEAS and CQU Alliance Brings First Cooperative College to China

UC and Chongqing University have established the Joint Engineering Co-op Institute. As such, UC is the first institution in the U.S. to form a joint venture with a Chinese university that exports cooperative education.

Date: 6/10/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Ashley Duvelius
Other Contact: Arthur Davies
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-9181

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UC-CEAS UC President Santa Ono (left) with CQU President Zhou Xuhong.
UC-CEAS UC President Santa Ono (left) with CQU President Zhou Xuhong.

The University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science (UC-CEAS) has partnered with Chongqing University (CQU) to introduce the first mandatory cooperative engineering education program in China, named the Joint Engineering Co-op Institute (JCI). The final agreement between the two institutions was signed on Oct. 11, 2013.

This alliance brings together two renowned universities, both leaders in their respective countries. Students enrolled in JCI receive the best of both worlds: a top-notch engineering education with degrees from each institution plus industry experience. These two assets combine to make JCI students high-demand graduates.

The partnership between UC-CEAS and CQU provides further opportunity for students to study and work abroad in China as part of their experiential learning education. It serves as a launching pad for faculty to further develop their research through increased cooperation between the two universities. Finally, this partnership will open doors to expand and include other disciplines in the curricula such as law, business, planning and design.

JCI Co-Directors Paul Orkwis, PhD (left) and Jin Chen, PhD (right).
JCI Co-Directors Paul Orkwis, PhD (left) and Jin Chen, PhD (right).

There are two directors for the JCI program, one in China and one in the United States. Paul D. Orkwis, head of the CEAS Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, has been appointed as one of two co-directors, along with Jin Chen of CQU. Together, Orkwis and Chen will be responsible for coordination of all academic and administrative activities between UC, CQU and JCI and will report to the twelve-person JCI Board.

Director Orkwis’ appointment became effective Nov. 15, 2013, and he will concurrently maintain his roles as a CEAS faculty member and head of the CEAS Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics.

Director Orkwis remarks, “Our partnership with Chongqing University was a natural fit—leveraging our facilities and resources to harness a superior engineering education for our students. UC-CEAS has a long-standing tradition of excellence and offers limitless opportunities in engineering pedagogy. We invented cooperative education over 100 years ago, creating a transformative experience which develops a sense of teamwork and achievement by our students. And so, most appropriately, JCI is the first institution fostered by a US university to form a joint venture with a Chinese university that exports cooperative education.

With assistance from Program Coordinator Sherry Liao and CEAS staff, I am honored to be responsible for the UC-CEAS side of operations for JCI. I envision a future in which both CQU and UC students develop long-lasting friendships and networks of talented colleagues.”

Director Chen adds, “The Chongqing University and the University of Cincinnati are both at the forefront of revolutionizing engineering education. This joint venture allows our top students to earn real-world work experience and two degrees after their study, a winning combination that places them far ahead of the rest upon graduation. We look forward to guiding these bright minds on their journey to become the future leaders of our society.”

Members of the UC Delegation to welcome the inaugural class for the JCI alliance include UC President Santa J. Ono; UC CEAS Dean Teik C. Lim; UC CEAS Academic Director Anne C. Hoehn; Paul D. Orkwis, head of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics; Ted W. Baldwin, associate senior CEAS librarian; Gayle G. Elliott, Professional Practice associate professor; Raj Mehta, vice provost of UC International Services; Caroline Miller, senior associate vice president of the Office of Enrollment Management; Kathy Qualls, senior vice provost of business and financial affairs; Anita Todd, Professional Practice associate professor; Xuemao Wang, dean of University Libraries; and Brian Waring.

UC-CEAS Dean Teik C. Lim (left) with CQU President Zhou Xuhong.
UC-CEAS Dean Teik C. Lim (left) with CQU President Zhou Xuhong.

The JCI curriculum is identical to that of UC CEAS. For academic years 1-4, JCI students study in China with internationally recognized UC faculty. In year 5, JCI students will be in Cincinnati to enroll in the same UC courses as traditional CEAS students. Throughout their education, students will experience cooperative learning for five semesters at leading and multinational corporations in China. Upon completion of the required coursework and co-op assignment, JCI students will graduate with baccalaureate engineering degrees from both UC and CQU.

Currently, there are approximately 70 electrical and mechanical engineering students enrolled in the JCI program. Within five years, UC expects total enrollment to grow to 1,000 students across four academic programs (civil engineering, computer science, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering). Each year, 800 students will be in residence at CQU or on co-op assignment in China, and 200 seniors will be at UC.

The first UC faculty who are teaching at CQU are Bruce Walker, aerospace engineering professor, and Yizong Cheng, electrical engineering associate professor. In a steady state, more than ten UC instructors will teach at CQU each semester. Last academic year, three CQU faculty members—Xingxi He, Guanqjin Peng and Zhiqing Zhang—came to UC to learn about our UC curriculum, co-op system and pedadogy.

As a part of their cooperative education, UC students are serving as teaching assistants (TAs) at JCI. Alyssa Kaine, Brandon Michaud, and Desiree Sanchez spent 2014 spring semester in Chongqing, China. To document their personal and academic experience, each student has been keeping a blog (see below). In the near future, JCI students will have similar experiential learning opportunities at UC.

Director Orkwis reflects, “It is my strong belief that this alliance will successfully spur the idea of cooperative education in China and create a brighter future in this ever-increasing ‘flat’ world of ours.”

About the UC-CEAS Faculty Resident in China

Bruce Walker, ScD
Bruce Walker, ScD

Bruce K. Walker is associate professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Cincinnati, where he has been affiliated since 1987. Walker earned his ScD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His research interests are primarily in the areas of fault detection, fault-tolerant control system development and evaluation, parameter estimation, complex system simulation development, and adaptive control.

Yizong Cheng, PhD
Yizong Cheng, PhD

Yizong Cheng is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computing Systems at the University of Cincinnati, where he has been affiliated since 1986. Cheng earned his PhD from Purdue University.

His research interests are primarily in the areas of cluster analysis, bioinformatics, self-organizing systems, network sciences, context-dependent similarity.

From left to right: Brandon, Alyssa and Desiree are proud Bearcats on the Great Wall of China.
From left to right: Brandon, Alyssa and Desiree are proud Bearcats on the Great Wall of China.

About the UC-CEAS TAs Resident in China

Alyssa Kaine, a second year biomedical engineering student, grew up on the West Side of Cincinnati. The proud Bearcat is excited to venture outside of the Queen City to China and enjoys teaching her fellow classmates. Alyssa’s become quite the ping pong player as well.

Brandon Michaud grew up in Cleveland and moved to Cincinnati to attend UC CEAS for his mechanical engineering degree. The seasoned Ultimate Frisbee player has been enjoying his sight-seeing quests outside of the city.

Desiree Sanchez graduated from East Chicago Central High School in 2003, earned her bachelor's of science in management from Purdue University in 2008 and recently decided to go back to school at UC CEAS for her bachelor's and master's in electrical engineering. She is also working on a non-profit organization to encourage women/minorities to pursue a STEM education, and she’s been enlightening the CQU students about her mission.

About the University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati is a top 25 public research university with its highest enrollment in history – more than 42,500 students. U.S. News & World Report ranks 34 of UC’s programs in the top 50 in the nation. UC also is the founder of the world’s first cooperative education program.

Similar to UC and its long-standing role as an innovation hub to the Tri-State (as well as the Midwest), Chongqing University is a major cultural, educational and economic municipality that serves as a center of industry and commerce in southwest China.

About the Chongqing University

Founded in 1929, Chongqing University (CQU) is a key national university in China, it is also one of the "211 Project and 985 Project” universities with full support in the construction and development from the central and local Government of China. Early in 1940s, Chongqing University had become a national comprehensive university consisting of six Schools in liberal arts, science, engineering, law science and medical science. Chongqing University now consists of four faculties: Engineering, Built Environment, Arts and Sciences, Information Science and Technology. The University has 28 schools and colleges, and offers 88 bachelor's degree programs. It owns 20 mobile workstations for postdoctoral study, 28 preliminary-level programs and 105 secondary-level programs for doctoral study, 51 preliminary-level programs and 205 secondary-level programs for master's degree study as well as 19 professional master's degree programs. (

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