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Senior Lecturer John Hess with students from Shaanxi Normal University
August 11, 2016

UMass Boston group returns to China for Summer Institute


  • Boston

For the second consecutive summer, a group of UMass Boston staff and faculty led by Senior Lecturer John Hess spent two weeks at Shaanxi Normal University in Xi-an, northwest China, teaching courses in English for graduate students there.

More than 500 students were enrolled in Shaanxi Normal's Summer Institute. The UMass Boston contingent taught learning "salons" on a variety of topics, and also ran a seminar for recent Shaanxi Normal graduates who have moved on to teach elementary and middle school.

Hess was joined by six UMass Boston colleagues: Felicia Wilczenski, interim dean of the College of Education and Human Development; Assistant Professor of Education Gerardo Blanco-Ramirez; lecturers Victoria Kingsley and Tracy Wallach; and reference librarians Teresa Maceira and Danitta Wong.

Hess, who has taught at several institutes of higher education in China, first organized a group last year when UMass Boston was asked to step in for another university that had to curtail its involvement. Hess says a bond has developed quickly in Xi’an. 

“Now the administration refers to me as ‘old friend,’ which is quite an honor in China and shows how much they appreciate our teaching there,” Hess said.

Given the success of the partnership, Hess expects to return in 2017. He says there is a great need for science and mathematics faculty to join the trip next year.

Shaanxi Normal also sends exchange students and visiting scholars to UMass Boston each year through a partnership with the Office of Global Programs.