NIU, Nankai sign historic joint college venture

NIU President Doug Baker and Nankai University President Gong Ke sign the NNIC agreement as representatives from each institution look on.
NIU President Doug Baker and Nankai University President Gong Ke sign the NNIC agreement as representatives from each institution look on.

Leaders from Northern Illinois University and Nankai University signed a historic agreement between the two institutions in Tianjin, China, NIU announced. The agreement forms Nankai-NIU International College (NNIC) and will provide an opportunity for top students throughout China to earn degrees from both Nankai and NIU.

“Our focus is student career success in a global economy. This partnership will enhance our ability to do that,” NIU President Doug Baker says. “Nankai University is one of the top Chinese universities and is among the best in the world, so we’re very excited to have this opportunity to partner with them in bringing excellent students to the International College and to our DeKalb campus.”

Nankai offers comprehensive academic programs that cover almost every area including humanities, natural sciences, technology, life sciences, medical sciences and the arts. Nankai has 22 colleges and schools and offers 79 bachelor’s degree programs, 231 master’s degree programs and 172 Ph.D. programs. In the CWTS Leiden Ranking 2013, it was ranked 53rd among world universities and No. 1 in China. Nankai was ranked 83rd among world universities and seventh in China in the Nature Index Global 2014.

Nankai University has established broad international exchanges and collaborative relationships with more than 200 universities and academic institutions. With a total enrollment of approximately 12,000 undergraduate students and 11,000 graduate students, 10 percent are international students from different countries around the world.

NIU President Doug Baker with Nankai University President Gong Ke.
NIU President Doug Baker with Nankai University President Gong Ke.

However, the NIU relationship is unique in that the proposal is for a joint college. The initial degrees to be offered by the NNIC involve existing NIU degrees in political science—one in international politics and the second in public administration and service—and in economics. Additional academic programs of common interest between the two universities may be added in the future.

“Now that we’ve completed our agreements, we’re looking forward to bringing those agreements to life,” says NIU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Dean Christopher McCord. “Even as we’re preparing to submit the proposal for final regulatory approval, we’re starting to work on the implementation stage. If our proposal is approved, our goal is to admit the first students to the International College next year and welcome them to the NIU campus in 2018.”

The agreement for the development of the NNIC is being reviewed by the Chinese Ministry of Education and the U.S. Higher Learning Commission for final approval. The Board of Trustees of NIU approved the collaboration with Nankai for a joint international college at its March 12 meeting.

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