On October 13, the 2014 Council Meeting of the Confucius Institute at Michigan State University was held at Henry Conference Center of Michigan State University. Via the video conferencing system, council members from China and America took part in the summit together to summarize the work completed in 2013 and 2014 and discuss their working plan for 2015.

The conference was chaired by Richard Prawat, the Dean of the US side. The vice dean of the US side and dean of Chinese side provided reports on the work completed in 2013 and 2014. The council was very satisfied with the general situation as told by the working reports and indicated that the focus in the future should turn from the vast construction of online teaching resources to the study and application of distance education, which will be able to carry out more teaching innovations with the support of education technology and information technology. In regards to the aspect of innovation, the deans of both sides proposed higher expectations towards the working team of the Confucius Institute in that it not only molds the Confucius Institute into a platform for distance Chinese teaching, but is also able to become a teaching tool for both institutes, a window of communication and understanding between teachers and students. 

At the same time, the Open University of China (OUC) sent 28 teachers to receive training at the College of Education at Michigan State University. This is in conjunction with the cooperation and exchange in professional fields launched on the basis of the cooperation with the Confucius Institute of the two universities. Via video, Yang Zhijian, President of the OUC, encouraged teachers to learn, broaden their horizons, and to make more contributions to the construction of the OUC. President Lou Anna K. Simon of Michigan State University and the council members visited teachers and encouraged them to learn and be more innovative. President Simon expressed that the learning activity was an example of how to further enlarge cooperation in other fields between the two universities. 

All of the council members and deans for both the Chinese and American sides participated in this conference. The US members consisted of Chairman Lou Anna K. Simon, President of Michigan State University, council member Donald Heller, Dean of the College of Education, council member Steven Hansen, Director of International Research Department, council member William Schmidt, distinguished professor, Richard Prawat, Dean of the US side of the Confucius Institute, Nancy Roming, Vice Dean of the US side of the Confucius Institute, Ni Ruhui and Li Jiaxing, Assistant to the Dean. The Chinese members were Vice Chairman Yang Zhijian, President of the OUC, council member Zhang Shaogang, Vice President of the OUC, council member Yang Yongbo, Director of the OUC International Cooperation and Exchange Department, and Li Fujia, Dean of the Chinese side of the Confucius Institute.

With agreement on the future of the Open University of China (China Central Radio and Television University at the time), Michigan State University, and Hanban, the Confucius Institute at Michigan State University was established in May 2006. The terms of the cooperation were set at 10 years. With the effective cooperation of the cooperative model that of a “storefront and factory,” the results have developed a large Chinese and Chinese cultural online teaching resources. With online education featured, the Chinese teaching services of the institute have spread to 22 states in America and been honoured for three consecutive years as an “Advanced Confucius Institute.”

By Li Fujia and Yang Yongbo, the OUC