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UC-China Collaboration Holds Benefits for Both Cultures

Date: May 21, 2001
By: Dawn Fuller
Photo by Colleen Kelley
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Archive: General News

A Worldfest presentation May 9 in the College of Education revealed one of UC's many connections to the global community. Professor Kan Shi of the Institute of Pyschology in Beijing spoke of a six-year collaboration with faculty in the UC Counseling Program that is shedding new light on the profession from both sides of the world.

Bob Conyne, director of the UC Counseling Program, says faculty here are exploring a cross-cultural approach to counseling, noting that the Asian American population in Cincinnati has dramatically grown over the past decade.

"This kind of cross-cultural work is essential to the developing role of the counselor in modern society, and we are intending to further globalize our curriculum," said Conyne. image of Professor Shi

Shi and two other educators from the middle school attached to Tsinghua University, Jie Zhou, vice director and Jiying Chen, a teacher in charge of the counseling center at Tsinghua Middle School, as well as Yan Li, director of the counseling center at Tsinghua University, are exploring how they can learn from the Western approach to counseling as the field encounters growing demands amid China's reforms.

Over the past decade China has moved from the closed, state planning economy to a direction with more free trade. Farmers and industrial workers are getting squeezed in China's growing pains. Thousands of layoffs are predicted as a byproduct of the modernization.

The Chinese educators are researching what happens when those workers lose their jobs, and how they can help them develop new skills. Shi added he was interested in the American counselors' approach to group therapy. As mass populations suffer layoffs in China, Shi says a counseling model for re-employment can be used for group training. He has collaborated with the UC faculty as he develops and writes guides to train employment and guidance counselors.

The Chinese faculty are also researching American counseling and human service programs in the schools, programs that are rare in schools in China. As part of their visit, they toured Mason Middle School and Mason High School.

A delegation from the UC College of Education will travel to China in September to explore how Western counselors can become responsive to the needs and values of other cultures. The delegation includes Robert Conyne, director of the UC Counseling Program, Glenn Markle, professor of teacher education, Mei Tang, coordinator of the UC School Counseling Program, Amy Bernard, associate professor of health promotion, Renee Groenemann and Laurie Walker, both students in the counseling master's degree program, Mary Beth Neenan and Christina Rosen, students in the doctoral program, and Amanda Leszcuk, a school counselor at Mason High School and an alumna of the counseling program.

Funding for this year's collaboration is divided between the College of Education and the Institute for Global Studies and Affairs.

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