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DePaul launches joint education program with Hainan Normal University

Hainan Normal University
Students at Hainan Normal University celebrated their school's convocation earlier this fall to kick off the start of their academic year. (Image courtesy of Hui Lin)
​​This fall, the university launched its inaugural cohort for the early childhood education joint program between DePaul and Hainan Normal University in Haikou, China. This initial cohort includes 90 students, who began their academic year began a few weeks ago.

Two years in the making and approved by the Ministry of Education in China, the early childhood education joint program utilizes a 3+1 model. Students spend the first three years in China taking classes at HNU. Several of those classes are taught by DePaul faculty during the students' second and third year. Students then have the opportunity to travel to Chicago for their fourth year to finish a degree at DePaul. Upon completion, the students will receive a Bachelor's of Science in early childhood education from both HNU and DePaul. 

“Early childhood education has gone through some major changes and development over the last decade in China," says Hui Lin, an associate professor in the Driehaus College of Business and DePaul's associate director for regional initiatives – China.

“There is an increasing need for qualified educators in pre- and elementary schools. DePaul's ECE program will help prepare the Chinese students to become urban, multicultural, professional early childhood educators," she says.

The College of Education has a long history of preparing students to become multicultural educators and counselors. Beyond providing a Blue Demon education for Chinese students, the program serves as an additional opportunity to attract international students to campus.

“This partnership shows how we continue to place students' needs first and provide a high quality and accessible educational experience to all DePaul students," Lin says. “This program reinforces the international reputation and recognition DePaul has received globally over the years. It also will add to the list of international partnerships at the university and enhance our presence in China."

In the years to come, Lin and other program developers anticipate admitting around 100 students per cohort.

“We're excited to welcome the Hainan students to Lincoln Park campus in a few years," says Marie Donovan, director of the program. “Working alongside each other, focused on our shared passion for teaching young children while sharing our cultural perspectives, will be the learning and growing opportunity of a lifetime."​