Last week my wife Fran and I visited Shanghai Normal University. I provided a keynote address for the Family, Society, and Education Summit on the role of evaluation in preschool programs. The summit was sponsored by the university’s Early Childhood Education Department. My contact there is Washington State University alumna Dr. Huihua He (Ph.D. ’07). Some of you will remember Huihua from her time as an educational psychology doctoral student. She was a graduate research assistant and postdoctoral research associate for me.
In addition to the presentation, I had several meetings with students, faculty, and administrators to discuss the possibility of partnerships and research collaborations. Shanghai Normal is eager to collaborate with universities from the West as its leaders further develop its university system. International collaboration is a WSU priority, so a connection to Shanghai could play well for the College of Education.
According to our hosts, Shanghai has a population of 27 million people. Half of the people, referred to as immigrants, are from rural China and other provinces who have come to Shanghai to find work. Given the expense of living in the city, many have come without their children. These children are referred to as “left behinds.” they are raised by anyone in their previous community who is willing to provide care, a situation that poses a significant social challenge for China. China sees education as a key factor in addressing that challenge.
Our hosts were gracious, the food delicious, and the city of Shanghai interesting. Should anyone be interested in establishing collaborative work with Shanghai Normal University or any other international university, particularly from a developing country, please contact me. I will try to find ways to support your work.