CCU faculty and staff honored for contributions to academic exchanges with China

Several Coastal Carolina University administrators, faculty, and staff were honored at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Sino-American Cooperation in Higher Education and Professional Development (CHEPD) 1+2+1 Transfer Articulation Program, which was broadcast virtually from Beijing, China, on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. The annual meeting and graduation ceremony, coordinated through the China Center for International Educational Exchange (CCIEE) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), are typically held annually in June but was delayed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the event, CCU President David A. DeCenzo received an Outstanding Leadership Award. He has participated in the annual meetings and graduation ceremonies since 2010, serving many times as a featured speaker at the annual Presidents’ Forum for the CCIEE-AASCU and presenting diplomas alongside the presidents of Chinese universities to students earning degrees from both institutions. DeCenzo, who instrumental in supporting CCU’s initial joining of the program in 2007, also has hosted delegations of university presidents from China on the CCU campus.

CCU was one of 22 universities to receive an Active Participation Award, which recognizes student mobility, faculty exchange, hosting of delegations, and other collaboration.

Darla Domke-Damonte, CCU’s associate provost for global initiatives, was recognized with an Outstanding Contribution Award. She served as the University’s inaugural coordinator of the program, developing the models of student exchange and faculty mobility, advancing international cohort programs, developing collaborative summer exchange programs, and managing delegation visits.

John King, the University’s CHEPD coordinator since November 2019, received a Special Appreciation Award for the exceptional support he provided to students and the program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Steve Earnest, a CCU professor of theatre, served as the honorary speaker representing the more than 500 U.S. professors who have taught at Chinese universities through this program. He made a special presentation about the arc of his multiple experiences in teaching theatre in China, beginning as a guest professor in Xi’an, Lanzhou, and Nanjing, and building up to a Fulbright Scholar award to collaborate in the development of the English-language theatre program at Nanjing Normal University in 2019-20, which was interrupted in January 2020 by COVID-19.

The annual meeting brings together the 126 Chinese universities and 40 U.S. AASCU-member universities that jointly participate in the Sino-American 1+2+1 Cooperation on Higher Education and Professional Development Program, which supports transfer articulation programs at both the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. During the past 20 years, more than 6,000 Chinese students have participated in the program, including over 222 students who graduated this year. Since 2009, more than 86 students have participated in the program at CCU, including 10 who graduated this year.

For more information about the program, please contact Domke-Damonte at or 843-349-2129.

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