Whittle School & Studios and Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute announce pioneering partnership, sign MOU

SHENZHEN, China, Oct. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Whittle School & Studios and Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute (TBSI) announced a groundbreaking partnership and signed an MOU on TBSI's Shenzhen campus on Monday. The partnership aspires to advance the learning of Whittle and TSBI's students and faculty by capitalizing on the many synergies that exist between the two organizations. It will strive to develop a new type of cooperation between K-12 and higher education with an enduring global impact.

Whittle School & Studios and Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute announce pioneering partnership, sign MOU
Whittle School & Studios and Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute announce pioneering partnership, sign MOU

Professor Nick Dirks from Whittle and Professor Zhang Lin from TBSI signed the MOU on behalf of their respective organizations. In their remarks to the audience, Professors Dirks and Lin emphasized that the missions and pedagogies of Whittle and TBSI are closely aligned. Whittle's high-school program is forward-thinking, technologically innovative, and committed to fostering a cross-disciplinary approach to STEM and maker culture, while TBSI is an international graduate school committed to breaking down the walls between disciplines in advanced study in the sciences. The partnership will benefit the Whittle Shenzhen campus, the Center of Excellence (C.O.E.) program and TBSI, they said.

The C.O.E. program is one of Whittle's foremost educational innovations. Each Whittle school will have a C.O.E. based on an expertise specific to the campus's location. Under the guidance of experienced mentors, students will have the chance to refine their skills in an area of their interest. In its C.O.E. focused on engineering and design, Whittle's Shenzhen campus will leverage the city's strengths as a hotbed of technological innovation. It will provide students with unique project-based learning opportunities in fields such as scientific research, robotics, artificial intelligence, engineering entrepreneurship, design and the arts.

At the same time, C.O.E. course and fieldwork are designed to foster global leadership skills in students. For that reason, Whittle's C.O.E. themes of inquiry are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Global Goals. Portfolio projects will offer students the chance to consider specific U.N. goals. Given the C.O.E. focus on affecting positive change in the world, TBSI is an ideal partner: a world-class research institute known for its strong interdisciplinary approach and integration with industry.

Under the MOU, Whittle students will be able to do their C.O.E. internships in TBSI labs and in exceptional cases can take specific TBSI courses. TBSI faculty and visiting professors will serve as C.O.E. mentors and give lectures to the Whittle community. In turn, Whittle will provide TBSI graduate students interested in pursuing careers in K-12 education with internship opportunities at its Shenzhen C.O.E. as well as professional development and preferential training.

Looking ahead, Whittle and TBSI plan to establish an innovative model of cooperation between K-12 and higher education. This collaboration model will provide rich growth opportunities to students of diverse age groups and help develop best teaching practices. As both institutions expand globally, their partnership will extend well beyond Shenzhen.

About Whittle School & Studios

Founded by Chris Whittle, an American education entrepreneur who led the U.S.'s charter school movement, Whittle School & Studios aims to be the world's first truly modern and global school. Whittle will draw on its deep knowledge of best education practices to provide personalized learning to children from ages 3 to 18. At the same time, Whittle will work with local partners to build campuses in the world's most vibrant cities. Its first two campuses, located in Shenzhen, China and Washington D.C., will open in September 2019.

About Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute

Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute (TBSI) is jointly established by Tsinghua University and University of California, Berkeley with the support of the Shenzhen Municipal Government. It is committed to exploring the "university-government-enterprise" tripartite cooperation approach with its interdisciplinary international philosophy. TBSI pays close attention to the development needs of Shenzhen and has set up three major interdisciplinary research centers in environmental sciences and new energy technologies, data science and information technology, precision medicine and public health.

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