Leaders of Iowa State University and Fu Jen Catholic University sign an agreement that will create new opportunities for apparel, merchandising, and design students. Photo by Ryan Riley.

New agreement sets up exchange with Taiwan university

Iowa State University will have new opportunities for students in apparel, merchandising, and design to study in Taiwan and to learn from Taiwanese students who will travel here, under a new agreement with Fu Jen Catholic University.

Leaders of the textiles and apparel programs from the two universities met on the Iowa State campus Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 to formalize the scholarly exchange agreement with a five-year memorandum of agreement.

“This agreement with Fu Jen Catholic University adds to our global reach and provides both graduate and undergraduate students with an opportunity to study in Taiwan, a dynamic location that embraces creativity and innovation,” said Ann Marie Fiore, a University Professor who’s director of graduate education and associate chair of apparel, events, and hospitality management.

This is the first exchange program for graduate students in apparel, merchandising, and design to study abroad. Other agreements facilitated international students coming to Iowa State.

“Fu Jen has well-developed programs that will enrich our students' understanding of brand management and design from an Asian perspective,” Fiore said.

Exchange, dual degree, accelerated master’s degree

The agreement between the two universities includes:

—Both graduate and undergraduate exchanges.

—A dual master’s degree for apparel, merchandising, and design that will result in degrees being awarded to successful candidates by both institutions.

—A “4+1” accelerated degree program that will allow students in hospitality management to earn a master’s degree at Iowa State three semesters after completing a bachelor’s degree at Fu Jen.

“Believing in the critical importance of students gaining an understanding of the interdependence of all peoples of the world, Fu Jen and Iowa State agree to the establishment of a reciprocal exchange of students between their respective cooperating institutions,” the memorandum states.

The initial exchange would include up to two undergraduates and two graduates going to Taiwan each academic year, and the same number of students coming to Iowa State. The memorandum also includes the possibility of expanding the agreement to include faculty and staff exchanges, and joint research and activities of interest to both universities.

Ching-Yi Cheng and Yu-Lien Lee of Fu Jen Catholic University came to Iowa State this week for the signing of the agreement. Cheng, an associate professor, is a 2000 Iowa State alumna who said she learned so much while working toward her doctorate in textiles and clothing.

“I feel so grateful and nostalgic,” Cheng said during her visit to Ames. “If students come here, they can have the same experience that I had and broaden their horizons.”

Several Iowa State faculty and staff members in apparel — Fiore, academic adviser Ann Thye, and Eulanda Sanders, the Donna R. Danielson Professor in Textiles and Clothing — visited Fu Jen Catholic University a little more than a year ago. Professor emeritus Mary Lynn Damhorst and assistant professor Telin “Doreen” Chung also went there as visiting scholars.

“Since so much of apparel production is done in Asia, it is important for our students to have experience and knowledge in that part of the world,” said Thye, who’s also an internship coordinator in apparel, merchandising, and design. “The apparel industry is one of the most international of all.”

An international institution with a global outlook

Iowa State University has more than 400 memorandums of understanding with universities abroad, according to the provost’s office. Jonathan Wickert, Iowa State’s senior vice president and provost, said the university aims to have multi-dimensional relationships when it forms international partnerships.

The College of Human Sciences has similar agreements and partnerships with the University Putra Malaysia, the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and three universities in China: Donghua University, Wuhan Textile University, and Henan Normal University.

“Programs and agreements like the one with Fu Jen make us a more international institution with a global outlook,” said Linda Serra Hagedorn, the College of Human Sciences’ associate dean for undergraduate programs; international affairs; diversity, equity, and community; and student services.

Fiore said the Department of Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management is dedicated to building mutually beneficial relationships with top universities around the world.

“We have agreements or exchange programs with top programs in China, India, Italy, Malaysia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom,” she said. “These partnerships expand the development and impact of AESHM faculty. The partnerships also enrich the classroom experience by including more diverse perspectives and help our students studying abroad gain a global perspective of the apparel and hospitality industries while experiencing the joy of immersion in a different culture.”  

During the three-day visit to Iowa, Ching-Yi Cheng and Yu-Lian Lee of Fu Jen Catholic University were hosted by Fiore and Thye, along with Damhorst and academic adviser Chris Wise.

They met with Laura Jolly, dean and Dean’s Chair of the College of Human Sciences; associate dean Hagedorn; Bob Bosselman, professor and chair of apparel, events, and hospitality management; faculty members Sanders and Elena Karpova; international programs staff members Erin French and Karen Williams, and others.