UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — It took just 10 days in Shanghai in May 2016 for Vivian Yenika-Agbaw to learn that having a global impact on students can make a world of difference, particularly when a little over a year later one of her scholars opted to venture far to the west to a part of the academic world called Penn State.
A professor of language and literacy in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in Penn State’s College of Education, Yenika-Agbaw was asked by a former classmate at Penn State and professor at Virginia Commonwealth University to teach an Introduction to Qualitative Research class to 15 of the top scholars in China at East China Normal University. At least another couple of dozen students joined the class in an audit-only capacity.
One of them was Rong Xiang, whose American name is Jessy. Xiang, who wants to be a university-level teacher upon her return to China, said her time in the United States will definitely aid that ambition.
“The (Penn State) College of Education is very powerful in the U.S. and I think I will get lots of knowledge from auditing the lectures and communicating with the professors,” Xiang said. “Research methodology and how to do real research is very important to me; I will benefit from the valuable experience.”
She said the benefit from auditing the class at East China Normal University in Shanghai was not only learning about qualitative research but also learning about Yenika-Agbaw as well.
“I think the thing that attracted me first and most is Vivian’s knowledge and lecturing style about qualitative research,” Xiang said. “I think she has great knowledge about this research method and has her own style to teach students, like connecting theory and practice very well.”