What’s the deal with Kean University’s China Campus?

By Christy Petillo

Kean University and the Chinese Government made huge strides when they came to the conclusion to build Kean’s first foreign campus at Wenzhou University in Zhejiang Province.

Branching Kean University to China has been an aspiration of President Dawood Farahi for some time. In 2006, Kean officials had begun working towards establishing a campus in Wenzhou.

It is intended that by 2016, the China campus will enroll 5,000 full-time Chinese students who will earn Kean University degrees. Kean has already begun hiring faculty members to work in China and a pilot program with about 200 Chinese students was set to begin this fall.

The groundbreaking ceremony at Kean’s China campus.
Photo Credit: Kean University

“We have just begun a 2 year pilot program between Wenzhou University and Kean University. 208 students are enrolled in the program this year,” said Matthew Caruso, director of University Relations. “If the program receives the necessary approvals by both countries (Ministry of Education in China and the Middle States Commission here), plans will proceed on a full Wenzhou-Kean University.”

However, Kean has never sought accreditation for the Chinese campus from the Middle States Commission. According to spokesman for the Middle States Commission, Richard Pokrass, as stated in The Star-Ledger, “The University has not requested approval for this project, as is required for any “substantive change” to an accredited school.”

On top of that, Kean’s campus in New Jersey is already in hot water with Middle States after the university was placed on probation and could possibly lose accreditation. Without the approval of the Middle States Commission, the plans to build in China could be stopped dead in their tracks.

One of Kean’s major selling points to the Chinese Government was that the university would be accredited.

The Middle States Commission has taken note that construction in China has begun, as well as a newly appointed board of directors for the Wenzhou-Kean University campus.

According to Caruso, as stated in The Star-Ledger, “The University does not need to apply for approval of the China campus until the program is more established and students are earning more than 50 percent of their credits toward a degree in Wenzhou.”

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