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Profile of the University of Washington

Founded in 1861, the University of Washington is one of the foremost institutions of higher education in the United States, richly combining its research, instructional and public service missions.

Q:   How large is the University of Washington?

The UW student body at its three campuses in Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma totals about 49,000, with an undergraduate enrollment of nearly 34,000 and a graduate and professional student enrollment of approximately 15,000. UW Educational Outreach, extending the resources of the UW domestically and internationally, enrolls over 48,000 students a year in hundreds of courses and certificate and degree programs. The UW is a leader of distance education among research institutions in the U.S., offering significant distance learning programs with an annual enrollment of 12,300.

The new Leadership MBA Program located in Bellevue has a strong connection to technology companies in Bellevue and the surrounding area.

Instruction and research at Washington are supported by a library system that is one of the most extensive in the nation, consisting of five major units and 18 branches, as well as libraries at UW Tacoma and UW Bothell, together housing more than five million volumes. In addition to offering instruction in more than 100 academic disciplines, the university offers a spectrum of continuing education courses that advance technical and professional skills and provide opportunities for personal growth and enrichment.

Q:  What are some of the University’s distinguishing accomplishments?

A:  UW is the top recipient among U.S. public universities of federal government funds for research. According to a recent ranking by Shanghai Jiao Tong University published in the Economist, UW ranks as the 16th best research university in the world.

The UW faculty has 6 Nobel Prize winners, 68 members in the National Academy of Sciences, 68 members in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 51 members in the Institute of Medicine, 18 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 10 recipients of the Gairdner International Award, 5 Albert Lasker Medical Research Award recipients, 4 National Medal of Science Winners, and 14 MacArthur Fellows. Washington is part of an elite group of research universities whose contributions to American life are unique because they generate the basic knowledge upon which practical innovations are based.

For over 40 years, the university has been among the country’s top five institutions in the dollar value of federal research grants and contracts awarded to its faculty.  Each year since 1974, the University has been the top public university in America in receipt of federal awards for research and training. Total grant and contract activity for 2011 was more than $1.5 billion. Seventy percent of the university’s grant and contract funds come from federal agencies. Research contributes directly to the educational goals of graduate and professional students, as well as to those of undergraduates.

Q: Does the UW have any existing programs or relationships with China?

A: The University of Washington has many existing programs and relationships with China. Some of these programs exist on the UW campuses as well as at universities and institutions throughout China.

Currently the UW has 26 exchange student and scholar programs, many with the top institutions in China such as Peking University in Beijing, Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, Fudan University in Shanghai and Tsinghua University in Beijing. These exchange programs help facilitate cultural understanding as well as create lasting bonds between our institutions, scholars, and programs. This often leads to future collaborations in teaching and other curriculum endeavors.

The UW also has a particularly close relationship with Sichuan University in Chengdu, due to the fact that State of Washington and Sichuan Province are sister states. The UW College of Built Environment and Department of Landscape Architecture have worked with Sichuan University to develop more ecologically friendly buildings, cultural preservation, watershed management and sustainable tourism.

Since 2003, the UW has also collaborated with several institutions such as China’s Center for Disease Control in addressing HIV/AIDS and the sharing of resources and information for early identification and control of outbreaks of infectious diseases.

There are also many programs here at the UW that help foster and develop opportunities with China. The UW has a world-class China Studies Program that is designed to give students a broad knowledge of the history, sociology, politics, and language of China. The China Studies Program is also recognized as one of the best in the country, with a strong faculty and is enhanced by the collection at the East Asia Library at the UW.

The East Asia Library has received numerous donations from the National Library of China under the “Window to China” program, which has donated more than 5,000 books since 2006. Due to the collaborative culture of our state, the UW in cooperation with the Seattle Public schools, and Hanban, a Chinese nonprofit group affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education, established the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington in 2010. The Confucius Institute is devoted to facilitating greater cultural understanding and Chinese language skills as well as strengthening educational and cultural exchange cooperation between China and educational institutions.

Located at the University’s main campus, the Masters in Digital Media Communications Department (MDMC) specializes in the new arts of communications in a technology-driven world.  MDMC is a sponsor-partner in BellevueCN.com, providing a key role in determining the social media and search engine strategy for global markets, particularly China.


Please contact us at www.washington.edu.  Please also see the Cover Story interview with UW President Michael Young on BellevueCN.com.

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  1. Pingback: Michael Young, University of Washington President (Q&A)

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