Recently, I was able to travel to China, thanks to NMU support and invitations from two Chinese universities and a research institute. The purpose of the trip was to present a series of lectures on the sociology of American families, and on higher education in the United States. To say that it was the trip of a lifetime is an understatement. We found our Chinese hosts to be gracious, generous, engaging and enthusiastic. My wife Barbara and I simply could not have asked for more.

My invitation to visit China was initiated by Professor Wang Jiashi, Dean of the College of Foreign Languages at the East China University of Political Science and Law (the fourth top law school in China). Professor Wang went overboard at every step to make sure that we were comfortable, and that the plans went smoothly. While at ECUPL, I had the opportunity to give lectures in English, sociology and social work classes. Gaining admission to Chinese universities is extremely competitive, and these students are among the very best and brightest in China. It was a privilege to spend some time with them and the faculty. All of my university lectures were in English, without any translator. The college students I met have been studying English for many, many years, and they speak extremely well. I don’t think that any of them would have a single problem if they came to an American university to study. They are smart, hard working and articulate. The only difference I really noticed is that Chinese students were shyer than American students about speaking up in class. Even with this, however, they still asked questions, responded to questions, and laughed (a lot). I had a wonderful time and, frankly, wanted to bring them all back to NMU. While in Shanghai I also had the opportunity to give a seminar for senior scholars and graduate students at the Shanghai Academy for Social Sciences-a type of “think tank” for that region of China. The SASS  has several institutes, including Sociology (of course) as well as Economics, World Economy, Eurasian Studies, Religious studies, and History, to cite just a few.

We spent the most time in Shanghai and the surrounding area, and then five days in Beijing, where I lectured to graduate students at the China University of Political Science and Law. CUPL is the top law school in China and graduate students who attended came from a diversity of professional areas. I was honored to be invited, and was impressed by their questions. Dr. Liang Yongia, Assistant Dean of the School of Sociology, was my host at CUPL.