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Expanding Collaborations with Tsinghua University
March 16, 2010, Volume 56, No. 25

The University of Pennsylvania and Tsinghua University announced agreements to build upon research and academic collaborations between the two schools. In particular, the universities reaffirmed their commitment to environmental sustainability, through the work of the Penn-Tsinghua T.C. Chan Center for Building Simulation and Energy Studies, founded in 2006. These efforts build on formal agreements between Penn’s School of Design, Law School and School of Engineering and Applied Science and their Tsinghua counterparts.

“New challenges in a rapidly changing global economy make higher education more important than ever before,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said. “The challenges facing us demand not only expertise but also creativity and flexibility. American and Chinese institutions of higher education will play an essential role in helping the world meet these challenges, and we are proud to partner with Tsinghua University.”

The T.C. Chan Center for Building Simulation and Energy Studies, which is home to most of the schools’ joint energy and sustainability work, is one of the only centers in the world devoted solely to sustainable building models and research. Penn’s School of Design partners with Tsinghua for the exchange of students and faculty, the exchange of learning resources, joint research projects and the development and expansion of the T.C. Chan Center, which has locations on both the Penn and Tsinghua campuses.

“By supporting innovation, building partnerships and developing practical solutions, our two universities can encourage other institutions to address the challenge of sustainable development,” Dr. Gutmann said. “The approach of the T.C. Chan Center translates understanding into socially responsible, effective and efficient action—a skill that Penn and Tsinghua must continue to foster if we hope to lead a green revolution.”

In July, Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and Tsinghua will launch a new Global Technology Entrepreneurship Program, an opportunity for Penn undergraduate students to work closely with students from Tsinghua on team projects focused on technology innovations in energy and sustainability. As part of the program, students will spend two weeks in Beijing and two weeks in Philadelphia.  The program will include case studies of major technology industries, visits to leading companies and hands-on work with corporate clients, better preparing students for jobs in cutting-edge green-technology fields.

Faculty members from Penn and Tsinghua are convening discussions on US-Chinese collaboration on reducing energy consumption, sustainability and resource management, engineering and designing sustainable energy systems. The scholars were joined by representatives from the US Embassy’s Office of Environment, Science, Technology and Health and China’s Office of the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission in China.

Penn and Tsinghua committed also to increasing study abroad between their law schools. This is the first formal program permitting international students to study Chinese law in China through English-language courses.

Tsinghua University was established in 1911, originally under the name Tsinghua Xuetang. The school was renamed Tsinghua School in 1912. The university section was founded in 1925. The name National Tsinghua University was adopted in 1928. At present, the University has 14 schools and 56 departments with faculties in science, engineering, humanities, law, medicine, history, philosophy, economics, management, education and art. The University has more than 25,900 students, including 13,100 undergraduates and 12,800 graduate students.  The educational philosophy of Tsinghua is to “train students with integrity.” Among over 120,000 students who have graduated from Tsinghua since its founding are many outstanding scholars, eminent entrepreneurs and great statesmen remembered and respected by their fellow Chinese citizens. As one of China’s most renowned universities, Tsinghua has become an important institution for fostering talent and scientific research.  

Almanac - March 16, 2010, Volume 56, No. 25