U-M’s partnership in China wins award for excellence, innovation


The University of Michigan’s biggest global partnership has won the Andrew Heiskell Award — one of the highest honors in international higher education, officials said Monday.

The award went to the University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute in the category for best practices in international partnerships. It was presented by the Institute of International Education, a New York-based private nonprofit organization.

Founded in 2006, the Joint Institute is located on the campus of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, one of China’s leading universities. More than 1,000 undergraduates study mechanical or electrical and computer engineering at the JI. All courses are taught in English by more than 20 full-time faculty members.

One of the key goals of the Chinese was to use the JI to learn about new ways of teaching and organizing research and faculty.  More than 30 U-M faculty members have been engaged with the JI through teaching, course design or joint research projects.

For U-M, the JI has been an excellent place for College of Engineering students to study in China and become immersed in the country, a major force in the global economy, said James Holloway, vice provost for global and engaged education.

“Nearly 300 U-M students have participated in the JI program, and they consistently described the experience as transformative,” Holloway said.

The JI has also been a solid pipeline for highly qualified Chinese students who have transferred to U-M through dual-degree programs.

“Over 500 Chinese students have benefitted from the dual-degree program since the JI was established, helping us develop the next generation of student leaders who will bring a global perspective to their professional work and understand the potential for Sino-U.S. collaboration,” U-M President Mary Sue Coleman said. 

Research is another important component of the partnership.

“The JI partnership serves as a springboard for joint research collaborations in fields of critical interest to the U.S. and China, including renewable energy, sustainable transportation and biotechnology,” Holloway said.  

The IIE Andrew Heiskell Awards were named after Andrew Heiskell, a former chairman of Time Inc. and a longtime member of the Executive Committee of IIE’s Board of Trustees. Heiskell was a renowned international and cultural philanthropist and a dedicated supporter of international education.

More than 1,200 higher education institutions are members of IIE. Over the past 13 years, the organization has given Heiskell Awards to more than 100 initiatives. Previous winners include Georgetown University Law Center and the California Institute of Technology.


  1. Fran Striker
    on January 28, 2014 at 8:12 am

    I am a very proud UM graduate in 1988 (BSIE). I have recently moved to Shanghai for job – 2 to 3 years. I can offer short term (<3 weeks) accomodations to UM visitors or students. I have a 2BR apartment in Pudong financial district - pls contact me at strikerfran@gmail.com is this could be helpful. Would love to get involved in this program – open to suggestions. GO BLUE!!!!!

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