August 8, 2019
It has been quite some time since I have written an update on the Global Track. Because this may be an introduction for some, I will try to include a short history, our evolution and how we view the future. The Global Track/China Focus began with the signing of an agreement for a dual degree program with College of Architecture and Urban Planning (CAUP) Tongji University (Master of Architecture) and the School of Architecture (Doctor of Architecture) in the fall of 2011. In the summer of 2012 our first UHM cohort traveled to Shanghai and entered a practicum experience with the Tongji Design Institute. In the fall, the UHM students joined a cohort of Tongji graduate students in architecture to study at Tongji University. After completion of two academic semesters at Tongji, the students gained additional practice experience either in the USA (for Tongji students) or in Asia/Pacific (for UHM students) before enrolling in their final year of study at UHM in Honolulu. Students who completed all required course work in the initial class (GT1) earned both a M. Arch. from Tongji and a D. Arch. from UHM.
The following year, the UHM School of Architecture signed a MOU with China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd. (CSCEC) allowing our students to intern within their offices and to engage in joint research/education with the School of Architecture. CSCEC is the largest construction company in the world and serves as the Design Institute in China where the UHM students spend a 3 month practicum for one summer. While the majority of the students are in Beijing, some students are able to consider other cities within China as well. In the summer of 2019, nine of the GT8 (the 8th Global Track cohort) were placed with CSCEC and one with the Tongji Design Institute in Shanghai.
In the fall of 2019, there will be a total of 15 GT8 students at Tongji. The class has 10 from UHM and 5 from Tongji. In the future, the total enrollment of GT cohort will be limited to 10-12 students. Therefore, beginning in 2019, UHM will admit no more than 6 students each academic year to the Global Track. The GT9 class beginning in fall of 2019 has reached its limit of 6 students. The students from Tongji will be interviewing for placement in December and January of this academic year for placement in the GT9 class beginning in summer, 2020 in Shanghai.
The GT8 class is completing the practical experience this summer. UHM students are in placed with SAA Architects in Singapore and the Tongji students are placed with Perkins-Eastman in New York City. They return to Honolulu to complete their final two semesters of study for the D. Arch.
Though these are turbulent times within the global context, we must embrace collaboration and multilateral connections to address the challenges and ever increasing complexity of our environment. The Global Track was created to allow students to study within the two largest construction and design economies in the world. The graduate experience is designed to gain, create and share knowledge that can be applied to address the provocations and opportunities that will confront our graduates over the decades to come. Rather than approach the world through classical methodologies, the Global Track engages, integrates and builds upon being centrally located between Asia and the Americas. Asia is not viewed as the Far East where one traverses through Europe, but rather, our closest neighbor to the West. Situated in the middle of the “Blue Continent” of the Pacific, the Global Track does not view itself as a travel program or an opportunity to study abroad. Instead, it is an integrated and collaborative graduate program that positions its graduates to engage the global future with a NBAA accredited Master of Architecture or Master of Engineering in Architectural Design and Theory from Tongji University in Shanghai, China and a NAAB accredited Doctor of Architecture from the University of Hawaii.
We look forward to learning with you at the global level and experiencing the unique growth that The Global Track Program delivers to all parties involved.