Illinois State University this past month welcomed a delegation from Shanghai Normal University Tianhua College in Shanghai, China. Illinois State’s College of Fine Arts and the Office of International Studies and Programs have been working with administrators from Tianhua to create a new international opportunity in the School of Art’s graphic design program.

Under the new arrangement, students at Tianhua will take their first three years of education on the Shanghai campus. During this time, Tianhua faculty will instruct these students utilizing a curriculum co-developed by faculty in Tianhua College and Illinois State. ISU faculty will also travel to Shanghai to instruct these students over the winter and summer break periods. The students will then come to Illinois State to complete their final 36 credits to qualify them for a degree in the College of Fine Arts.

Jean Miller, the dean of the College of Fine Arts, and Michael Wille, the director of the School of Art, accompanied Luis Canales, the director of the Office of International Studies and Programs, and Yimin Wang, OISP’s associate director, on a trip to Shanghai Normal University Tianhua in early April. Staff members were extremely impressed with the Tianhua campus in Shanghai and feel that the prospects for collaboration are very exciting.

“I am proud that Dr. Canales and Dr. Wang invited the College of Fine Arts to this transformational partnership,” says Miller. “The School of Art and Shanghai Normal University Tianhua College both have top art faculty and students who recognize that relevant art and design programs require a global perspective and an international creative community. ISU’s School of Art director, Michael Wille, and the graphic design faculty will lead this opportunity and provide insight as the College of Fine Arts pursues other international partnerships.”

President Larry Dietz signed the agreement with Tianhua College’s president, Caifu Ye, on April 27. A memorandum of understanding was also signed, paving the way for future projects and partnerships between the two institutions.