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The University of Wyoming, for years now, has enjoyed a collaborative, productive and mutually beneficial relationship with Shanghai University in China.
Credit Yarong Ashley, a graduate of both universities who has worked tirelessly to foster the partnership which annually includes an exchange of students and faculty between the two schools.
"I know of no one on campus," says Michael E. Harkin, professor and chair in the UW Department of Anthropology, "who has done more to promote internationalization."
Yarong's work to bridge cultural and language barriers has earned her the 2010 Faculty Award for Internationalization. The award was established in 2001 by the UW International Board of Advisers to recognize excellence in promoting international activities at the university.
An associate lecturer in the International Studies Program (ISP), Yarong has become a role model for other faculty in an "increasingly globalized society," says Jean A. Garrison, ISP director.
"Through her almost single-handed efforts, UW has a rich mutual faculty exchange and a newly developing student exchange," Garrison says.
Last year, UW and Shanghai University created a student exchange agreement that will lead to semester- or year-long stays for students at both schools. Four students from Shanghai University are in residence at UW this year and four UW students will attend Shanghai University next year.
Doug Guoli, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Shanghai University, calls Yarong "a real emissary not only between the University of Wyoming and Shanghai University but also between American and Chinese culture."
Adds Tao Feiya, executive director of the Liberal Arts College at Shanghai University, "I think Yarong is like a cultural bridge-builder . I have great admiration for her initiative, flexibility and perseverance which helps her and us to overcome many obstacles to move forward to the aim of the internationalization of the college education."
In addition to overseeing the UW-Shanghai exchange, Yarong has developed a host of new courses, including China and Globalization and Development in East Asia, both of which help UW to meet mandated educational requirements, says Garrison.
"I think Dr. Yarong Ashley is most deserving the recognition for her extraordinary work," says YanQuan, vice director of the Center for Taiwan Studies at Shanghai University. "In the eyes of all my colleagues, Yarong has already won our deep respect and admiration. However, this reward will give her the public recognition she deserves."
Yarong is a graduate of Shanghai University (B.A., sociology, '83) and UW (Ph.D, education, '93 and M.A., sociology, '95).