Two of Australia’s oldest and most prestigious universities, The University of Western Australia and the University of Tasmania, have joined forces with western China’s highly regarded Southwest University to form a Sino-Australian college.
Professor Zhang Weiguo, President of Southwest University in China will visit Perth in the coming months to announce the new Westa College (in Mandarin “Xi-Ta”; xi=west; ta=Tasmania).
The tripartite program will be the first undergraduate joint school including an Australian university approved by China’s Ministry of Education and the first in China involving two Australian university partners working together.
Teaching will start in September 2016 with more than 200 students expected to enrol at the purpose-built campus in Chongqing.
UWA’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson said the collaboration highlighted the strong commitment of the two Australian universities to cooperate with high quality partners in China.
“It utilises the strengths of all three research-intensive universities to provide an exceptional educational experience for top-level Chinese students, who will receive degrees from both China and Australia based on mutual two-way credit arrangements,” Professor Johnson said.
There are already more than 200 students studying at SWU towards the UWA Master of Professional Engineering (Electrical and Electronic) pathway under a separate agreement signed in 2014.
UWA and UTAS will offer several majors, including economics and biotechnology at UWA; and Electronic Information Engineering and Food Safety at UTAS, with all programs taught in English. The partnership also encompasses teaching, learning and research opportunities.
Professor Johnson said the unique collaboration embodied the university’s international strategy.
“It demonstrates the highly significant role that education plays in bridging cultures and promoting diversity while giving graduates a global advantage and deepening China and Australia’s relationship through education,” he said.
“We see this as the beginning of a broad and sustainable relationship and are fully committed to delivering a high quality education experience for Westa students.”
Caption: Students from The University of Western Australia on a study tour in Chongqing, China.