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With a history dating back more than 175 years, UT’s College of Engineering is no stranger to bringing new ideas and concepts to all of its students and visitors.

What makes a current group of college visitors somewhat different is that they are faculty from another university—Southeast University in China.

“Three members of their faculty have come here to learn about our teaching styles and techniques as part of a new agreement between UT and SEU,” said Masood Parang, associate dean for academic and student affairs in the college. “It’s a good opportunity to not only show what we can do, but to share ideas with colleagues from another area that can bring a different perspective.”

Founded in 1902, SEU has its main campus in Nanjing, a city of more than eight million people. The university enrolls almost 32,000 students and has a particular focus on engineering, with a national reputation in that area.

Biomedical and transportation engineering, in particular, are two areas in which the university places first nationally in China, while electrical engineering, civil engineering, communications engineering, power engineering, and instrument science and technology are all in the top five.

In other words, it’s a partnership that is beneficial to UT as well as to Southeastern.

“Certainly, it’s a relationship that can have benefit to both institutions,” said Parang, who noted that the SEU faculty will spend time with UT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering.

UT faculty members hosting the visitors include Professors Robert Bond and Mark Barker from MABE and Professors Syed Islam and Nicole McFarlane from EECS. They agreed to allow the SEU faculty members—Yu Hong and Li Zhu in EECS and Pewei Zhang in MABE—to attend their classes for the fall semester and talk to them about how the College of Engineering conducts its classes and designs curricula.

Additional faculty members from SEU come to Knoxville in the spring.

It’s not the first time the two universities have worked together.

The Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and SEU have what is called a “2+2” program, where students in China attend two years at SEU before coming to UT for the final two years, at which point they earn a bachelor’s degree from both institutions.

The Confucius Institute, managed through the Center for International Education, is an important university-wide collaboration with SEU to bring Chinese language and cultural knowledge to students.

Additionally, Pia Wood, associate provost and director of CIE, and Tyvi Small, director of the Office of Diversity and Community Relations in UT’s Haslam College of Business, led a group to a camp held in Nanjing. The “Southeast University and University of Tennessee English Summer Camp” brought together students and faculty from both institutions for an exchange of culture and language and to foster a spirit of international friendship.


David Goddard (865-974-0683,