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Hong Kong Professors Visit K for Civic Engagement

Though the two institutions are 8,000 miles apart, Hong Kong’s only liberal arts school, Lingnan University, might not be all that different from Kalamazoo College. President Leonard Cheng said Lingnan aims to create students who can tackle human issues from a global perspective and gain both a breadth and depth of vision.

On June 4, 17 Lingnan faculty members visited K to learn about liberal arts education in general, and civic engagement in particular. They spent a full day with small panels of K faculty and administrators, including Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement Director Alison Geist and Provost Mickey McDonald.

All sessions revolved around civic engagement, peer-to-peer mentorship, and finding research opportunities for students.

McDonald said Lingnan University “is looking to make civic engagement more ubiquitous.” While these professors visited various schools in the Great Lakes College Association during their 11 days in the United States, both Michigan State University and K hold a more prominent history in civic engagement.

Geist emphasized that K focuses on social justice leadership rather than volunteer service. “The focus is on social change, not charity,” Geist said, noting that the College’s philosophy rests on “students as colleagues” and giving students leadership positions to tackle complex tasks.

Despite the distance, the goals of both K and Lingnan are not so different after all. Lingnan’s motto is “Education for Service,” and President Cheng said “an education promotes a capacity to build a better world by engaging with society and those in need.” After visiting K, Lingnan aims to better connect experience with education and leadership with civics. Article by Colin Smith ’15

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