The dean said $7,800 remains in his office's travel budget.
By JoANNE VIVIANO
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A Youngstown State University dean said the cost of sending several YSU representatives to China last month was about half the amount originally expected.
Dr. George McCloud, dean of YSU's College of Fine and Performing Arts, said initial travel vouchers that estimated costs for the nine-member group provided only a record of what costs could have been.
"It reflects all conceivable possible costs," McCloud said. "The actual reconciled amounts will be nowhere near the $25,000. They will be approximately $13,000 because the bulk of our expenditures were covered by our hosts in China."
McCloud was in China from May 15 to May 30 with Dr. Phillip Ginnetti, dean of the Beeghly College of Education, five faculty members from the Dana School of Music and two faculty members from the art department. McCloud said two others on the trip paid their own way.
A university spokesman had said costs of the trip were estimated at $2,980 for McCloud and $2,880 for each of the eight others who were funded by YSU. The Vindicator reported those figures in a May story.
Housing, transportation and food costs were subsidized by the Hangzhou Normal University and the Nanjing Art Institute because YSU has developed exchange relationships with both universities, McCloud said. The schools also performed concerts and gave classes.
"When you do the math per person, it is very comparable to, and probably less than, what a professional conference would have cost," McCloud said.
Further, the dean added, the travel budget for his office, set at about $25,000 annually, will end this fiscal year -- ending June 30 -- with a surplus of $7,800.
Such a budget ensures that faculty members have the opportunity to attend professional conferences.
McCloud said it is important for YSU to pursue international relationships because of the United States' increasing interdependence with other nations.
Importance of China
"University educators have to include a much more sophisticated introduction to the rest of the world for students," he said. "China, as one instance, is a particularly important one.
"It is the oldest continuously functioning civilization in the history of humankind. ... Second, China is likely to be one of the most influential countries in the world in the foreseeable future."
While the gross national product of the United States has risen by about 5 percent annually, China's has risen by close to 10 percent, he said. And while the United States' industrial output has grown by 7 percent to 8 percent over the past several weeks, China's has grown by 17 percent to 23 percent.
"There's no doubt China has arrived as an international superpower," McCloud said. "This is an instance where we are doing the right thing and will continue to do the right thing."