Pitt, Chinese University Partner on Education Innovation

Issue Date: 
May 30, 2016

The University of Pittsburgh and Central China Normal University have signed a memorandum of understanding to promote international collaborations in innovative educational research between Pitt’s Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) and the Chinese university’s National Engineering Research Center for E-Learning (NERCEL).

Established by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, NERCEL is China’s only national research center in the field of education. Its strength is the development of digital technology for use across schools in China. Pitt’s LRDC specializes not only in learning technology but also in the sciences of learning and education.

“We are honored to be collaborating with Central China Normal University to advance the development of new and effective learning tools,” said Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson. “This partnership demonstrates our focus on amplifying our impact by embracing a global perspective.”

Central China Normal University is located in Wuhan, an industrial base and major hub of transportation and communication in Central China. The university’s chancellor, Ma Min, visited Pitt on May 5 to sign the memorandum with Beeson.

The genesis of the collaboration began in late 2014 when LRDC Director Charles Perfetti visited NERCEL and gave a presentation on LRDC’s “Innovative Technology in Learning and Teaching.” In late 2015, a small group of NERCEL faculty visited the LRDC. It became apparent to both Perfetti and the NERCEL group that a research collaboration could result in the development of educational interventions with applications to international educational science.

The partnership may enable longer-term international projects and lay the groundwork for joint research with other schools at Central China Normal University such as its School of Psychology.

James Cook, acting director of the Asian Studies Center, played an instrumental role in moving the collaboration forward and will continue to provide his expertise as the collaboration develops. Moreover, the Chinese university may broaden its relationship to other parts of Pitt—such as the exchange of materials with Pitt’s East Asian Library and student exchanges in a number of departments, including sociology and history.