On a recent trip to China to participate in graduation ceremonies at Shanghai Second Polytechnic University, Russell McCaffery got a chance to mix business with pleasure when he unexpectedly crossed paths with some familiar faces from Broward College campuses in South Florida.

“These types of trips tend to be pretty frenetic because I’m trying to cram as much as possible in to make the best use of my time,” said McCaffery, the Broward College dean who oversees Aviation, Automotive, MarineSupply Chain Management, Manufacturing, and Building Construction programs. “To run into Broward College students and faculty from Fort Lauderdale was a nice collateral benefit to be sure.”

McCaffery was visiting China’s largest city and financial hub to congratulate the 57 Chinese nationals who earned Broward College associate degrees while taking courses at Shanghai Second Polytechnic University under a joint agreement between the schools. The Broward College students from Florida were in the midst of a one-month cultural exchange at  Shanghai Second Polytechnic University while the faculty were on campus to teach courses in Supply Chain Management and Web Design.

Expanding International Appeal

Broward College students
Russell McCaffery (center) with Broward College faculty and students in Shanghai, China

In addition to conferring degrees, McCaffery was cultivating new and existing academic collaborations with China’s universities while bolstering Broward College’s international appeal.

“There are tremendous international opportunities for Broward College, but specifically in China,” said McCaffery. “A lot of Chinese students value a western education. It gives them an edge on their resumes to earn a diploma from Broward College and the United States.”

McCaffery said an associate degree from Broward College also provides a pathway for Chinese students to transfer to four-year universities. The dean is working to extend that international model to the Civil Aviation Flight University of China, located in Sichuan and considered the largest flight training institute in the world.

One of the goals is to have Chinese students come to the United States to study for two years in any one of Broward College’s aviation programs before returning to Civil Aviation Flight University to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Foreign Affairs at Work

Another plan under discussion is for Chinese students to earn an associate degree from Broward College at Chengdu Aeronautic Polytechnic. Broward College faculty would collaborate with Chengdu professors to teach courses in English. The Chinese students would be no different than their Broward College peers with one exception: they would not have to set foot on U.S. soil.

McCaffery said partnerships with Chinese universities are a win-win for Broward College. Not only do international students increase exposure to diverse cultures in the classroom, but they also pay higher out-of-state tuitions that help the College’s operations.

“Our international programs continue to grow,” said McCaffery. “The fact that Broward College can play a bigger role, not just in Broward County but on the world stage, is a feather in our cap.”

Students with lofty aspirations can earn associate and bachelor’s degrees and industry certifications through the Emil Buehler Aviation Institute at Broward College. Learn how your career can take off.