Chancellor Shields earns international award

December 23, 2016
Confucius Institute Conference
Confucius Institute Conference
Confucius Institute Conference

PLATTEVILLE, Wis – University of Wisconsin-Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields earned the prestigious 2016 Confucius Institute/Confucius Classroom Individual Performance Excellence Award for his outstanding work in promoting international education.

He was one of 30 educators from around the world who were honored with the award on Dec. 10 at the 11th Confucius Institute Headquarters' Global Conference in Kunming City in Yunnan Province, China. The Global Conference was hosted by Yunnan provincial government with Vice Premier Madam Liu giving the opening remarks and Vice Minister of Education Dr. Hao Ping closing the conference. More than 2,000 educators participated in the annual conference, with 517 Confucius Institutes competing for the highest honor.

Confucius Institutes worldwide are sponsored by Hanban, the Chinese Language Council International, in Beijing, China. Hanban attaches great importance to the promotion of Chinese language throughout the world that enhances understanding and friendship, promoting economic and trade cooperation and developing a scientific, technical, and cultural exchange, and is affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education.

Chancellor Shields has been a staunch proponent of the university’s Confucius Institute since his arrival at UW-Platteville in 2010.

“As chair of the Confucius Institute advisory board at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Chancellor Dennis J. Shields strongly supports the work of the Confucius Institute,” said Dr. Mei Reeder, director of the UW-Platteville Confucius Institute. “Under his support, the Confucius Institute completes various large-scale celebration activities such as Chinese Spring Festival and CI’s five-year anniversary celebration with guests from Chinese Consulate in Chicago and South-Central University for Nationalities, our partner university from Wuhan, China.”

UW-Platteville’s Confucius Institute opened in 2008 as a key element between the university, SCUN and China. It is the only Confucius Institute in the state and promotes exchanges of faculty, students and resources to share each country’s culture. It provides instructors teaching credit-bearing courses that include Chinese I, II, and Taichi, in addition to faculty exchange and collaboration, summer China delegations trip, non-credit language classes, workshops, coordinate on-site language training classes and make outreach visits to K-12 schools in Wisconsin.

“Chancellor Shields attaches great importance to relations with China,” Reeder said. “He supports all the work of the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago and actively promotes the exchanges and cooperation in the higher education field between Chinese and American universities. With his effort, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville joined the 1 + 2 + 1 Education Partnership Program of the American Association of State Universities and the China International Center for Economic Exchanges. He continues to pay close attention to and promote the expansion of the cooperation between the university and our Chinese partner university, SCUN. Because of Chancellor Shields’ proactive approach, the two universities have reached a new high by increasing opportunities for faculty and student exchanges utilizing CI as a platform.”

Chancellor Shields’ commitment to the institute mirrors his dedication to broadening diversity at the university.

Recognizing a need, the chancellor established a chief diversity officer position in 2012, along with a new Division of Diversity and Inclusion. Since 2012, the division has overseen a number of initiatives to support an inclusive community, such as establishing the University Bias Incident Team, founding the Wright Center for Non-Traditional and Veteran Students, re-envisioning the Patricia A. Doyle Center for Gender and Sexuality, and providing pre-college programs to students from at-risk populations.

Chancellor Shields has been actively involved in the national dialogue around diversity and inclusion in higher education. He currently serves as chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group of the National Collegiate Athletics Association, Division III.

The racial and ethnic diversity of students at UW-Platteville more than doubled from 2005-2015. In 2015, racial/ethnic minorities made up nearly 9 percent of the student body, compared to 4 percent in 2005. In addition, the profile of racially and ethnically diverse students has shifted from being primarily African-American to include a higher proportion of people who identify as Hispanic or Asian.

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