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NTNU and PSU Join Forces Again to Sign Collaboration Agreement for Taiwan Huayu Best Program

National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) and its strategic partner of  Pennsylvania State University (PSU) signed a collaboration agreement for “Taiwan Hauyu BEST program” on November 1, 2021 to promote Chinese language instruction and learning through academic cooperation and exchange of visiting scholars and students supported by NTNU Overseas Mandarin Training Center. NTNU will annually send two Chinese language instructors on exchange to PSU, while PSU students come to NTNU for in-depth Chinese language study and to provide English language tutorials to local elementary schools in New Taipei City.

NTNU President Cheng-Chih Wu stated that NTNU and PSU already have many years of close collaborations and exchanges in areas such as research, teaching, and administration. The Huayu BEST program is a new milestone in the collaborative relationship between the two universities. With the help of NTNU's world-renowned reputation in Chinese language acquisition and its innovative Chinese language digital tools, NTNU Overseas Mandarin Training Center collaborates with PSU, which will not only be the best learning channel for Chinese language learners in the Pennsylvania area, but also provide training courses remotely for local teachers who wish to become qualified Chinese language instructors.

On behalf of NTNU, President Cheng-Chih Wu signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU), while the Vice President for International Affairs Chun-Chi Lin signed the collaboration agreement  (CA). Also present at the ceremony were NTNU Executive Vice President Yao-Ting Sung, Executive Vice President Frank Ying, Associate Vice President for OIA Nikky Lin, Director Chung-Chiang Hsiao and Associate Director Chao-Mei Du of the Mandarin Training Center, and Chair of the Department of Chinese as a Second Language Ya-Hsun Tsai. On behalf of PSU, President Eric J. Barron signed the MOU, while Head of the Department of Asian Studies Erica F. Brindley signed the CA. PSU Vice Provost for Global Programs Roger Brindley, Assistant Vice Provost for Global Learning Brian Brubaker, Director for Global Operations and Learning Mel White, Global Collaborations Manager Vlad Likholetov were also in attendance. Honorary members of the State of Pennsylvania (PA) invited to the ceremony included Deputy Secretary of Postsecondary and Higher Education of the PA Department of Education Dr. Tanya Garcia, PA Senator Gene Yaw, and PA House Representative David Rowe. On behalf of TECO-NY, which served as the witness for the signing ceremony, Director General and Ambassador James K. J. Lee, Director of the Education Division Ming-Ling Yang, and Director of the Political Division Jacqueline Kuan were also present. 

Founded in 1855, Pennsylvania State University is one of the ten largest public universities in the United States with nearly 90,000 students. Owing to its quality academic reputation, it has been dubbed a “Public Ivy.” PSU and NTNU share a longstanding and deep history; the relationship was memorialized on December 20, 1983, when NTNU signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Penn State. The original signed document of the “Academic Cooperation Agreement between National Taiwan Normal University and Pennsylvania State University" is still well-preserved, testifying to this international friendship that has spanned nearly 40 years. In 2013, the two universities collaborated to establish the Institute for Research Excellence in Learning Sciences (IRELS) to jointly promote international research in the learning sciences; in the same year, the two schools also initiated a benchmarking agreement regarding best practices of university operations. Since 2016, the two universities have participated in the "International Talent Education Co-Development Program" to direct Taiwanese doctoral students in completing academic training from both schools. In 2019, the two universities also co-launched a brand new "Collaboration Development Fund" in which 14 professors from both universities collaborated to complete seven academic research projects.

Recently, NTNU has built upon its abundant academic resources and innovative research and development technologies by producing user-friendly online digital tools and an automated diagnostic platform for listening, speaking, reading, and writing of Chinese -- providing Chinese language learners with a more scientific and objective learning process that enhances learning results. Meanwhile, the Department of Chinese as a Second Language, the Mandarin Training Center, and the Center for Psychological and Educational Testing partnered to establish a special unit for the Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL), bolstering the promotion and research of Chinese language proficiency testing so as to cultivate and improve the operations of Taiwan’s Chinese language acquisition and evaluation industries. Based on NTNU’s solid expertise in the fundamentals of Chinese language acquisition, it was awarded the Taiwan Huayu Best Program this year by the Ministry of Education in line with the government’s plan for the global Chinese language learning market. In the program’s first year, NTNU has successfully commenced various Chinese language programs with the world-renowned Pennsylvania State University and the University of California, Los Angeles.