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University of Iowa News Release

 

March 29, 2007

Belin-Blank Partnership Enables Gifted Chinese Students To Attend UI

Some of the most academically gifted students from China will attend the University of Iowa, thanks to a recently signed partnership between the UI College of Education's Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development and a consulting company in Hangzhou, China.

A cooperative agreement was signed with the Hangzhou Harvest Consulting Company Ltd. to recruit Chinese students for the Belin-Blank Center through an academic talent search. Hangzhou is a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China and the capital of Zhejiang province.

The new collaborative program, the China Belin Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search (BESTS) Program, is a first-of-its-kind program in China that will help the country establish programs for its gifted students and eventually for teachers, according to Belin-Blank Center Director Nicholas Colangelo.

These students will be chosen based on ACT test scores, English language proficiency and their level of maturity and motivation, Colangelo said.

"The concept of gifted education is relatively new in China, and it will be an honor to be chosen to participate in this program," Colangelo said. He noted that Belin-Blank was approached to participate in this program after the consulting company officials looked into a number of different prestigious U.S. universities with whom to partner.

The goal of the program is to test approximately 2,500 top academic students in 11th grade from China and provide an individualized academic profile on each one of these students. These profiles will then be used by their high schools to provide appropriate curriculum, Colangelo said.

From this pool of test takers, 50 of the top-scoring students will be identified to come to the UI in the summer of 2008. These students will be evaluated for academic and social readiness and will then attend a three-week summer residential program for gifted students at the Belin-Blank Center in summer 2008. The program will include not only classroom instruction but also extracurricular activities that will give the students a true taste of life at a U.S. university, Colangelo said.

Of that group, 25 students will be chosen for early admission to the UI so they will be admitted while still in their junior year of high school, Colangelo said. These students will return home to China at the end of summer, finish their senior year in high school and prepare to come to the UI by taking more English intensive classes.

These top 25 students who are most likely to succeed will come to the UI as undergraduates beginning in fall 2009. These students will live in Daum, the Honors Residence Hall, and be part of the UI Honors Program. Initially, the program will continue for a five-year period. This is especially important, Colangelo said, since the UI has had more success in attracting international graduate (as opposed to undergraduate) students, but part of the UI strategic plan is to enhance the number of undergraduate international students at the UI.

This partnership is made possible, Colangelo said, thanks to involvement and support from many areas of campus including the following: the UI College of Education, of which the Belin-Blank Center is a part; International Programs; UI Admissions; the UI Honors Program, and the Office of the Provost as well the national testing company, ACT.

Colangelo said that this partnership is significant for many reasons, especially the fact that the province where the consulting company will focus its recruitment efforts has a population of more than 47 million people, bigger than California.

"This will get the word out about gifted education and the University of Iowa to millions of people who might not otherwise know about our center and university," Colangelo said.

College of Education Dean Sandra Damico said that the China BESTS Program is a testament to the UI's international reputation of excellence.

"This is an innovative program that will help draw top-notch undergraduate students to our university from a variety of fields," Damico said. "This is a wonderful example of collaboration that will benefit everyone involved."

William Reisinger, associate provost and dean of UI International Programs, said the China BESTS Program would strengthen relationships with a part of the world where the UI already has many successful linkages and connections.

"My staff and I look forward to welcoming these outstanding students, whose presence is certain to enrich our campus and community," Reisinger said. "We will work to ensure that they have the best experiences possible."

Of the 2,300 international students and scholars currently enrolled at the UI, 537 are from China, representing the largest national representations on campus. Of that number, only 47 students are undergraduates, according to the UI Office of International Students and Scholars fall 2006 statistics, the most recent available.

This partnership is one of several that Belin-Blank has with other countries including Australia, Canada, Chile, Israel, Mexico and South Korea.

For more information on the Belin-Blank Cetnter, visit: http://www.education.uiowa.edu/belinblank/

For more information, contact Colangelo at 319-335-6148 or nicholas-colangelo@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lois J. Gray, 319-384-0077, lois-gray@uiowa.edu; Program: Nicholas Colangelo, 319-335-6148, nicholas-colangelo@uiowa.edu.