For Rigoberto Lopez and Adam Rabinowitz, travelling the globe is becoming second nature. Lopez, head of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE) and long an international ambassador for the College and his department, and Assistant Research Professor Rabinowitz recently returned from China, where they met with faculty and administrators to finalize an agreement that brings together ARE and Shandong University’s School of Management in a program leading to an MS degree in applied and resource economics.
The department has agreements are pending with China’s prestigious Renmin University’s School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development and Capital University of Economics and Business to offer double master’s degrees. Graduates will receive a master’s degree from their own institution and an MS in applied and resource economics from ARE. The College has signed multiple agreements with Chinese universities since 2010 that continue to drive internationalization of the College.
ARE has a long history of recruiting and educating international students. Lopez says that ARE’s program has an international reputation for excellence, and a number of graduates are employed in prominent positions in research, teaching and business. Recent alumni employed in China include faculty members at top-ranked Renmin, Wuhan University and China Agricultural University, and the dean of the College of Economics and Management at Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University. He notes that in China professors have an especially important role in the lives of their students and enjoyed seeing that “Dr. Rabinowitz was treated like a rock star” by the ARE alumni.
In expanding the program to Shandong and Capital University, ARE is forming new partnerships. Three years ago the first group of Renmin students arrived at UConn to complete a master’s degree in applied and resource economics. Rabinowitz has been advisor to the majority of these students.
“The relationships with our alumni in China are continuing to mature. Alumni from our program have received PhDs and hold academic positions in a number of Chinese institutions of higher education. In addition to recruiting students, we are building faculty research collaborations. When we were visiting, I continued work on a paper with a PhD student and discussed potential research projects and funding opportunities with faculty. No matter where we went, former students and their family invited us to see their cities and welcomed us warmly,” says Rabinowitz.
Beyond the bounds of academic interests, Lopez, Rabinowitz and former ARE students share a mutual enthusiasm for ice cream, which they indulged at at a popular spot in Beijing. Through personal and professional connections seeded at the graduate training stage, the interchange of students and faculty among Chinese universities and ARE promises to lead to further collaboration and opportunities for personal and professional growth.
By Nancy Weiss