Mal-U takes "proactive approach" to attract new international students

February 13, 2007 - 4:00pm

Malaspina University-College is taking “a proactive approach” to attract new international students to the Nanaimo campus by developing formal relationships with reputable foreign institutions.

Edwin Deas, Malaspina’s vice-president, administration and bursar, recently signed three new transfer agreements with post-secondary institutions in China.

Not only will the agreements help maintain enrolment targets for international students and instructional work for faculty, “they will pump millions of dollars  into the local economy and the surrounding region,” said Deas. “In addition, they will create new spaces and study abroad opportunities for Canadian students.”

The new agreements will result in over 100 new students from China coming to Malaspinato complete their degrees, starting in 2009.  

“That represents about half-a-million dollars for Malaspina in tuition fees alone, plus each student brings approximately $20,000 in spending money,” said Deas. “We’re talking about a sizeable economic injection into the region.”

Malaspina’s infrastructure relies on having international students study here, Deas added. Right now, 70 faculty and staff are paid directly by revenues from International Education. Approximately one-third of students in Malaspina’s Faculty of Management are international, and they account for over $14-million in direct spending in the Nanaimo community.  “That converts into approximately $40-million when you add the multiplier effect,” Deas said. 

Malaspina, like most post-secondary institutions across Canada, has experienced declining enrolments in International Education for the past three years, particularly in English as-a-Second Language programs. The drop is due to increased competition, and because more developing countries are offering international programs in their own countries.

“When we identified the trend of declining enrolments, we started researching this issue and possible solutions,” said Bronwyn Jenkins-Deas, Malaspina’s dean of International Education. “We knew that we had to come up with proactive strategies to identify opportunities to establish new partnerships with institutions overseas to keep our international education enrolments up.”

Agreements have now been finalized with three Chinese institutions including:

  • Shandong Institute of Business and Technology – over 90 students from business and computer science departments will apply for degree completion at Malaspina’s Nanaimo campus, starting in 2009. “They will complete their first two years in China taking courses in marketing, accounting and computer science, and then will transfer to Malaspina to complete their third and fourth years. “We expect many of these students will go on to complete our new dual Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Sciencein International Business (MScIB) ,” said Jenkins-Deas.

  • Shanghai Lixin University in Shanghai - one of the most prestigious accounting universities in China, will send 30 accounting students to Malaspina per year, starting in 2009. The university will send its first delegation to Malaspina in April, including their president and vice-president.

  • Qingdao University of Science and Technology – students will complete a three year diploma program in China in various business areas, and transfer to Malaspina for degree completion and an MBA.

“The three new agreements ensure that we’ll have stable numbers of international students coming to Malaspina in the next few years,” Deas said. “Some of the revenues from tuition fees paid by these international students will also help pay off the brand new Faculty of Management building that opened at the Nanaimo campus in December 2006.”

Meanwhile, Malaspina is working closely with all three Chinese institutions to help them develop courses that will transfer nicely into Malaspina programs.

“Our goal is to ensure that the Chinese students will be well prepared when they arrive to study at Malaspina,” added Jenkins-Deas. "The Chinese institutions, acknowledge Malaspina's growing global reputation and feel that their students will benefit greatly by Malaspina's advanced curriculum, particularly in the field of business programs.”

Starting next year, there will be opportunities for faculty exchange trips between Malaspina and the Chinese institutions. Malaspina faculty will travel to China to teach some of the first and second year courses offered by three of the four institutions, while Chinese faculty will visit Malaspina.

“The exchanges will foster good working relationships between the institutions,” added  Mike Mann, dean of the Faculty of Management. “Our business faculty look forward to teaching in China as well as having their Chinese counterparts visit us in Nanaimo.”

Graduates from Malaspina’s Education program and other areas will also have opportunities to teach English at the four Chinese institutions. “We hope to develop opportunities for field schools and internships for Canadian students," said Deas. "China is one of the super powers of the world, so it's important we expose our students to their culture and way of life.”

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