Dr. Aimin Li, Associate Professor in the Institute of Higher Education at Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, China, spent from April to June, 2011 as a visiting scholar in Higher Education program in the School of Education. His area of expertise is higher education policy and administration.
During his stay, he audited a graduate course in organization and governance of higher education to obtain a better perspective of college operations in the United States.
On June 13, 2011, Dr. Aimin conducted a presentation titled, Higher Education of China on its Way of Development: The Past and the Future. The standing-room only audience consisted of faculty, students, and staff members from across campus. Participants commented on their desire to know more about the Chinese system of higher education to support efforts on campus towards internationalization. Pointedly, Chinese students will comprise the majority of incoming international students at William and Mary for the 2011-12 academic year. Knowing more about the system of education in China can enhance understanding of how best to help these international students acclimate to the university.
Dr. Li also spent his time on campus conducting research. The focus of his research was on how college culture helps create a campus's identity. He did archival research on the College of William and Mary, interviewed key informants on campus, and partook in a variety of campus rituals. Graduation provided a unique opportunity to see how the rites and passage of this ceremony contribute to the creation of campus culture and identity. Dr. Li was able to walk through campus with the graduates, witness the ringing of the bell in Wren Hall, and to participate in the first ever School of Education graduation ceremony at new building. The walk over from William and Mary Hall signified the start of a new tradition as a volunteer group of fife and drum players led the procession.
In addition to connecting with a variety of campus members during his stay, Dr. Li also served as a resource for a current higher education master's student, Bronwen Watts. Watts is participating in a summer travel trip to China and wanted to enhance the tour. Dr. Li was able to put Ms. Watts in touch with several of his colleagues who helped to set up a series of university meetings in China during her stay. Watts will have an insider view of higher education in China due to the assistance provided by Dr. Li. When asked to reflect on his experiences at the College of William and Mary, Li said,
The College of William and Mary is a wonderful place for learning and research. I am very grateful that the SOE offered me useful facilities and a good study environment. I utilized several of the academic resources at the College of William and Mary and I benefited from the active and open campus activities. The aid of my co-supervisor, Dr. Pamela Eddy, and other learned scholars, helped my research process. All the people I have met here are zealous and friendly. The Reves center also offered very good services. During my time on campus, I met many people and learned and experienced a great deal. I was very happy! I will remember the days of my visiting here as the precious days in my life.
Dr. Li was hosted by Dr. Pamela Eddy, Associate Professor of Higher Education in the SOE. He joined Bihong Li, another visiting scholar in the area, who is a faculty member at Hunan University in China.