The School of Kinesiology has been slowly rolling out a degree program that is paving the way for Chinese and U.S. students to engage in a unique educational experience. The Dual Degree M.Ed. program in Sport Management, now in its second year, is a collaboration between Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) and the U of M School of Kinesiology. The program was developed by Dr. Li Li Ji and Rayla Allison, J.D., former director and associate director of the School of Kinesiology, along with Professor Kun Wang, the U’s partner at SJTU.
This fall’s new students, Shulin Li and Yue Xue, arrived in the Twin Cities in June to begin their studies for the 2017-18 academic year. Both took courses over the summer, and will have completed a minimum of 18 credits by the time they return home at the end of next spring/summer semester. They will complete their final defense at SJTU. When they graduate, they will have earned an M.Ed. in Sport Management from both Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Minnesota.
Shulin received her undergraduate degree from Cheng Du Sport University with a dual major in Sport Management and Public Affairs of Sport. “I heard about the U of M program from a professor at SJTU,” she said. “He encouraged me to take the TOEFL and apply.” When she finishes her master’s degree, she plans to apply to a doctoral program at a Chinese university that will prepare her to work with college students who are dealing with depression. “I’d like to do sport intervention for depression,” she says. She believes involvement in sports can help people improve both their physical and mental health.
Yue attended Donghua University in Shanghai for her undergraduate degree in Fashion Design and Engineering, where she learned how to create functional apparel for groups such as firefighters and astronauts. She also plans to apply for a doctoral degree after completing the Dual Degree M.Ed.
Both students say they are experiencing cultural differences in the way their college courses are taught. “I have the opportunity here to be involved with more students,” says Yue. Group projects are common in the classes she took over the summer, and interaction between students and the professor was expected. “That’s a big cultural difference,” she says, “but the professors and students are kind and helpful.” Yue also finds U of M resources such as Moodle courses and University of Minnesota Libraries to be invaluable aids.
Nina Wang, Kinesiology’s graduate studies coordinator and M.Ed. adviser, is advising Shulin and Yue, and a Kinesiology faculty member will work with them on a master’s project as the year progresses.
The Dual Degree M.Ed. program is reciprocal for Chinese and U.S. students, and Yue and Shulin advise interested students to take time to research the application requirements and steps. “It can take longer than you expect,” says Yue.
What do they like best about living in the Twin Cities? Shulin likes the community parks and spaces close by the University. “I really enjoy playing basketball and tennis outside,” she says. Yue enjoys working out at the RecWell Center across from Cooke Hall. “I’m taking yoga and zumba classes,” she says. “Those are not easy to find, and are expensive as well in China.”
“The dual degree program has worked really well with students who can take advantage of the strengths of both institutions,” says Wang. “I am very much looking forward to seeing how much progress the students will make during their study here.”