Leaders from a Chinese university visited The University of Texas-Pan American to learn more about the institution and expand their partnership.

UTPA and Hengyang Normal University, located in Hengyang in the Hunan province of China, have been working on an agreement that will allow students and faculty members from both institutions to study and conduct research at each others’ institutions. The agreement was signed in summer 2009.

On Oct. 21 the president and other high-ranking officials from Hengyang Normal University visited UTPA, where they met with President Robert S. Nelsen, college deans and other University officials. They also received a tour of the campus and its facilities.

The trip by Chinese university officials to UTPA was to begin planning future projects, said Dr. Yvonne Quintanilla, director of international programs for UTPA.

“These university collaborations are of great importance because they provide opportunities for research, teaching and projects for both our instructors and students,” Quintanilla said.

Officials from Hengyang Normal University said they were pleased with what they saw at UTPA.

“The University gave me a deep impression,” said Dr. Liu Peilin, president of Hengyang Normal University through translator Professor Roger Zhao, director of the International Exchange Office at Hengyang Normal University. “The people here are very friendly and kind. The conditions of the University are very good; it has good facilities.”

Liu said he is looking forward to expanding his university’s relationship with UTPA.

“We think this exchange helps us understand higher education in the United States and UTPA understand higher education in China,” he said.

Likewise, Professor Kuang Daizhi, vice president for foreign affairs of the Chinese university, said UTPA offers many of the same academic programs Hengyang Normal offers, which will benefit the faculty members and students who come from China to study in the United States.

“This aspect of sending teachers here to study specific items, I think it is a good thing for our university,” Kuang said.