Cal State Northridge graduate student Bernard Forster - a former Canadian network television producer and broadcast executive - has been chosen as one of only two students in California this year to receive a special Chinese government scholarship to study in that country.
The scholarship was awarded through the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles by the China Scholarship Council of China's Ministry of Education. Xuewen E, education consul at the Chinese Consulate, said China looked to CSUN because the university's China Institute "has done a lot in promoting educational programs and establishing academic contacts with universities in China."
Forster, who is studying in CSUN's educational leadership and policy studies master's program, is the second CSUN student in two years to receive the scholarship. He recently left for Shanghai and will study during this school year at the Shanghai Teachers University. The other California student to receive the Chinese government scholarship this year attends UC San Diego.
During his time abroad, Forster plans to conduct research on China's television university network, and explore Jewish experiences in Shanghai during World War II. "I am not your traditional college student," he said. Forster's last experience as full-time student was more than 25 years ago as an undergraduate at Concordia University in Montreal.
"I have spent most of my professional life working in network television," Forster said, "which has afforded me the opportunity to travel around the world as a producer and journalist, as well as a private citizen to see first-hand the diverse nature of the planet's cultures and social systems.
"My one unfulfilled quest has been to thoroughly explore China," he said. "I am encouraged that the award encourages the recipient to travel throughout China to gain a diverse experience of the country, its regions, people, cuisine and traditions."
In addition to receiving the Chinese government scholarship, Forster also was awarded Cal State Northridge's Mildred Z. Mininberg Memorial Fund Award in the amount of $1,000. The award is offered in conjunction with the scholarship to support the recipient's expenses abroad.
Harold Giedt, who served on CSUN's scholarship selection committee and is a former director of CSUN's China Institute, added, "I was impressed by Mr. Forster's successful career in broadcasting and his transitioning to a second career focusing on distance learning. He's definitely a self-starter."
"China, by virtue of its huge population, has already organized a network of 'television universities' to educate en masse," Forster said. "I believe China has developed some solutions that can be adapted here in the United States."
Forster hopes to apply his experience to higher education by integrating information, entertainment and production values into tele-web courses and classrooms. After returning to CSUN, he plans to share his research with campus academic areas such as education, communication, business and extended learning.
The CSUN graduate student who won the Chinese government scholarship last year ? Angus McNelis of CSUN's Radio-TV-Film Department ? is still studying during the fall semester at the prestigious Beijing Film Academy where he is finishing a documentary on the new generation of Chinese filmmakers.
The China Institute at Cal State Northridge, since its founding in 1982, has hosted hundreds of Chinese scholars at the university and been influential in arranging many educational and cultural exchange programs between China and the United States.
Cal State Northridge, with more than 28,000 students and a 353-acre campus, is the only public university located in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley. The area, if incorporated, would be the fifth largest city in the United States with about 1.6 million residents. The university graduates nearly 5,000 students annually in a wide array of bachelor's and master's degree programs.
| Public Affairs Offices/Campus News
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