Candace Warner, Columbia State's Assistant Professor of Sociology, traveled to both Beijing and Dalian, China for three weeks during May and June. Candace is completing her Ph.D. in Public Administration from the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs at Tennessee State University. Although Warner completed all required course work, as well as doctoral preliminary exams during the spring 2009 semester, she decided to enroll in a summer course—Comparative Studies in Sino-U.S. Public Administration—for the opportunity to study economic development and governance in China.
“I could not pass up this opportunity," said Warner. "I have always wanted to travel to China and because we would be studying China’s economic and government systems—my major areas of doctoral research—it was truly the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m very thankful to several of my Columbia State colleagues for making it possible for me to travel to China in the first place—specifically, Dr. Barry Gidcomb, Gene Humphrys, and Cecelia Johnson.”
After a week of preliminary classes and preparation, a group of 11 students--3 doctoral students, 4 master’s students, and 4 undergraduate students, along with two professors—Dr. Minzi Su, who organized the trip, and Dr. Ann-Marie Rizzo from Tennessee State University left for Beijing, China on May 22, 2009. The group spent two days in Beijing touring various scenic sites, such as Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace, Forbidden City, and the Great Wall of China.
“I loved seeing Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China--those were my favorite tourist spots, but my favorite part of China was the interaction with the people. The Chinese people were so friendly, and so intrigued by America and Americans. But for me, learning more about their lives and culture was the most fascinating aspect of the trip. There are so many cultural experiences, as well as elements of China’s economic and governance structure that I am so excited to share with my sociology students here at Columbia State.”
After touring Beijing and the surrounding countryside areas of Dalian, the group arrived at Dongbei University of Finance and Economics where they stayed for two weeks in the international student dormitory. The group took classes with professors from Dongbei University during the morning, sometimes all day, and on other days visited various international businesses and government agencies in the city of Dalian, an international port city with rapidly developing economic areas.
“Before we left for China, we studied the economic disparities between the rural and urban areas of China, but when we traveled to the countryside outside of Dalian, I was struck by the economic conditions in the rural areas—no journal article on poverty could have prepared me for that. Because poverty and social welfare policies are my major research interests, the trip has definitely inspired me to further explore poverty, economic development, and social welfare policy issues in China, and hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to return to China one day.”