UAlbany Confucius Institute Promotes Faculty Exchange and Research Collaboration between UAlbany and SWUFE

The UAlbany Confucius Institute (CI), led by Prof. Youqin Huang in Geography and Planning, aims to promote a better understanding of China through an array of cultural and academic programs and student and faculty exchanges. In June 2017, UAlbany CI for the first time organized a group of UA faculty to visit its partner university Southwestern University of Finance and Economics (SWUFE) in Chengdu, China.

Professor Zai Liang, Department of Sociology, UAlbany, visited Center for Western China Studies, Population Research Center, and School of International Business at SWUFE. On June 1, 2017, Professor Liang gave a talk entitled “From Chinatown to Every Town: New Patterns of Employment for Low-skilled Chinese Immigrants in the United States.” Professor Liang’s presentation reveals a profound change in settlement patterns of low skilled Chinese immigrants: moving away from traditional Chinatowns in major American cities toward non-gateway destinations and rural areas.  Contrary to predictions from ethnic economy and mainstream economic perspectives, Chinese restaurant jobs tend not to be located in places with high concentration of Chinese immigrants, but rather in places with high proportion of non-Hispanic whites. Prof. Liang discussed implications of this fundamental change for re-conceptualization of immigrant labor market and immigrant socioeconomic mobility in American society. Prof. Liang currently has a collaborative project with colleagues at SWUFE. Funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, this project studies education and health consequences for left behind children in Sichuan province. The project will collect rich information on 5th grade students in selected locations in Sichuan.

Prof. Rui Li from UAlbany Department of Geography and Planning, visited School of Economic Information Engineering at SWUFE. On June 2nd, 2017, Prof. Li gave a research presentation titled “Where Spatial Information Science and Cognitive Science Meet: A Design Of Mobile Navigation System”. Because of the specialization of the school on economic and commercial information engineering, this presentation was tailored to the audience with potential ways of integrating commercial information on top of the major navigation function. Dr. Li elaborated the technical and cognitive background of this project, followed by the results and current progress in Albany. The location-based serviced addressed in the presentation related to the audience’s research interests. Audience was very engaged and active in bringing up questions at the end for further discussion. This presentation was featured in SWUFE’s Guang Hua Forum. Dr. Li also met Associated Dean Dr. Qing Li and faculty Dr. Xubin Luo on future collaborations between SWUFE and UAlbany.

The Executive Director of UAlbany CI, Dr. Youqin Huang, also visited SWUFE in late June for two weeks. She met leaders in the Office of International Exchange and Cooperation, Director Ting Liang and Associate Director Xuan Gu. She also met Associate Dean of School of Public Administration Wenbing Zang, Dean of School of International Business Yu Wang, Director of China Household Finance Survey (CHFS) Center Dr. Li Gan, and many faculty, to talk about potential collaborations between UAlbany and SWUFE. A visit to UAlbany by Dean and Associated Dean of School of Public Administration was scheduled to further the discussion on collaboration and student exchange programs. Dr. Huang also launched a research collaboration with Dr. Gan at CHFS Center to allow scholars from both universities and beyond to utilize their survey dataset for collaborative research.

Dr. Huang also gave two presentations at SWUFE on her own research on housing and migration. One is titled “Affordable Housing and Social Sustainability in China”, and the other is on “Migration, Family Arrangement and Children’s Education in China”. These two presentations address two pressing issues in China, housing affordability and the wellbeing of millions of migrants and their children, thus generated tremendous interests and discussion among faculty and students.

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