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University of Wisconsin System Visits NTNU, Seeks Teacher Education Talent
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Dr. Johannes Britz, University of Wisconsin System’s Interim Senior Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs, and Dr. Tracy Davidson, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, visited National Taiwan Normal University on October 11th. They were received by NTNU Executive Vice President Frank Ying, Vice President for International Affairs Yi-De Liu, and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Yeu-Ting Liu. A potential collaboration between the teacher education programs of the University of Wisconsin System and NTNU was a main topic of discussion.

Dr. Britz commended NTNU's excellent School of Education and teacher education expertise. Currently, the University of Wisconsin System in the United States is experiencing a serious teacher shortage. In the meantime, Dr. Ying pointed out the cumbersome U.S. requirement that Taiwanese teachers who wish to teach in the U.S. must already have two years of cumulative teaching experience; however, teachers in Taiwan who meet this prerequisite are usually unwilling to give up their local teaching positions to teach in the U.S. Second, U.S. immigration laws currently make it difficult to obtain work visas, which hinders Taiwanese students' ability to teach in the US. Third, U.S. students are not motivated to come to Taiwan to study, making it difficult for them to access Taiwan's teacher education programs.

The visiting delegates responded that some flexible measures could be given to Taiwanese students, such as adopting a 3+1 system for bachelor's degree programs, so that, for example, an NTNU education undergraduate’s last year of study would be in the University of Wisconsin System. Master's degree students could use 3+1 or 4+1 to obtain US teacher qualifications. The UW System could also consider recognizing the academic programs of NTNU so that academic credits earned by NTNU students can be directly transferred. To address the difficulties of work visas for students from Taiwan and other regions abroad, the University of Wisconsin System is also currently helping private companies to understand visas types and plans to expand this service to include education administrators.

Dr. Yue-Ting Liu said that NTNU could provide short-term exchanges, such as the Mandarin Training Center summer program, so that US students only need to devote a few weeks rather than a whole semester to experience life in Taiwan, which might be effective in increasing their willingness to study in Taiwan. In a previous 2+2 week-long program with a Japanese university, the Japanese students first spent two weeks at NTNU to experience the program and then collaborated with NTNU students to design a lesson; in the following two weeks, the NTNU students went to the Japanese university to study in the latter’s program and implement their jointly designed lesson. This approach proved to be not only time-effective but also popular among the students. For US students unable to travel to Taiwan, NTNU can also offer online Mandarin courses to attract students' interest and generate connections.

Dr. Ying recommended the Office of International Affairs as the most efficient point of contact for the University of Wisconsin System in developing active cooperation and in fact for establishing faculty education cooperation for all universities in Taiwan due to NTNU’s leadership in education. The University of Wisconsin System also mentioned interest in NTNU's engineering-related programs, and hopes to have opportunities for collaborative teaching and research in these areas as well.

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