Sheridan College president gets engineering deal in China

File: Dr. Jeff Zabudsky, president of Sheridan College, poses on campus. (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star)

Sheridan College president Jeff Zabudsky has come back from China with an academic co-operation deal with one of China’s big engineering schools.

Last week, Zabudsky signed a memorandum of understanding with Shenyan Instiutute of Engineering, a school that has other international partnership in Canada and abroad.

As well, plans for a four-year joint-degree program with Chengdu University of Information Technology are progressing.

“We continue to build our profile in China and build these intra-institutional partnerships,” Zabudsky told YourMississaugaBiz.com.

Shenyan has about 30,000 students and more than 1,200 teachers. It is expanding its foreign exchange and co-operation with other schools and has set up interscholastic relationships with 15 universities and educational institutions, including Red River College in Winnipeg, and the British Columbia Institute of Technology, France’s Adiut and Murdoch University in Australia.

Zabudsky’s trip was part of a trade mission organized by the Confederation of Greater Toronto Chinese Business Association and included about a dozen Mississauga businesses  — from seafood importers and manufacturers to financial advisers — seeking closer trade and investment ties with China.

Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell and Oakville Mayor Rob Burton also attended the trip. Both cities have major Sheridan College Campuses with thousands of students.

“I was also able to bring Mayor Burton from Oakville with me,” Zabudsky said, “And it’s always helpful when the leadership from your own communities can support you.”

“It’s that kind of demonstration that your government leaders are behind you that is supportive and helpful to advancing the project.”

With a few years of planning still to go, Sheridan has already determined these Chinese-Canadian joint-degree programs would have students spending two years studying in China and then two years in Canada at Sheridan.

The college has been growing rapidly in recent years and Asian students are becoming an increasingly important part of the student population.

Zabudsky said this arrangement would actually save many Chinese students a lot of time, because many currently need to take five to six years to complete their Sheridan courses due to a gap created by non-transferable credits.

He also noted Sheridan is attracting a large number of international students from India.

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