New college from international partnership between universities

Three years of cooperative effort have paid off, with the University of Auckland today joining forces with Northeast Forestry University (NEFU) in China, to partner in a new college approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education.

Stuart McCutcheon at Aulin College launch
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Stuart McCutcheon at the launch of Aulin College in China.

Aulin College (the name combines the first syllable of ‘Auckland’ with the first syllable of ‘Linye’ – ‘forestry’ in Chinese) will deliver courses at bachelors and masters level in Biotechnology, Chemistry, Computer Science and Technology – Big Data, and Ecology. The two universities have also agreed to develop a joint PhD programme.

The first cohort of undergraduate students will enrol in Aulin College September 2019, taught in part by University of Auckland academic staff on NEFU’s Harbin campus, then transfer to Auckland in July 2022. Eventually, up to 1,200 students could be studying at the college.

NEFU, founded in 1952 and located in Harbin city, is the largest forestry university in China and an important institution within China’s ‘Double First-Class University Plan’. This strategic initiative aims to develop a group of elite Chinese universities and departments into world-class universities and disciplines by the end of 2050.

University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon said that the partnership has been in the making since 2015 and is firmly based on a reciprocated respect between Auckland and NEFU.

“China and New Zealand have a strong and mutually beneficial relationship in the tertiary education and research sectors. The University of Auckland’s first Professor of Chinese language was appointed more than 50 years ago, and such early associations and strong relationships have led to deep collaborations established over many years,” he said.

“We look forward to this joint college as the next phase of our academic relationship with China, in which we anticipate significant mutual benefits to our universities and stronger links between our two countries. This initiative will broaden the channel of global exchange for teachers and students and enhance the international development of staff.”

We look forward to this joint college as the next phase of our academic relationship with China, in which we anticipate significant mutual benefits to our universities and stronger links between our two countries. 

Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon University of Auckland

Professor McCutcheon joined NEFU President Li Bin for the September 4 launch. President Li highlighted the importance Northeast Forestry University places on international education and cooperation.

“In recent years, NEFU has invited more than 300 academics from over thirty countries to teach, conduct research and tour our university,” he said. “Aulin College will help us cultivate international talents with global vision, innovative spirit and practical capabilities, and aid the development of Heilongjiang province.”

New Zealand Ambassador to China, Clare Fearnley, said that New Zealand placed great importance on its education relationship with China, and congratulated both universities on the initiative. “This is a ‘Strategic Education Partnership’ that is based on complementary strengths and mutual interests,” she said.

Aulin College undergraduate students can complete three years of bachelors study at NEFU, then move to New Zealand for two years of postgraduate study to receive a Master of Science degree from the University of Auckland. Postgraduate students will complete a three-year masters programme, with the middle year spent doing research or a taught masters programme at the University of Auckland to earn dual masters degrees from both universities.

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