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Rural and ecological education a primary focus for professor

November 22, 2011

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilary Dickinson at or 608-363-2849

Doing research in a small Chinese village is what sparked one Beloit professor’s interest in rural education

Jingjing Lou, an associate professor of education and youth studies, originally conducted the research as part of her dissertation at Indiana University at Bloomington. Even though her dissertation is complete, she still returns to the Shaanxi Province in northwestern China every summer to continue her research, which has led to the publication of several articles on rural youth and rural education.  Most recently, Lou has published two articles on rural middle school education in China: one focusing on rural youths’ resistance to ‘townization’ and schooling and the other on ‘suzhi’ (quality-oriented) education in rural China. She is also currently co-editing a book on the changing ecology of rural schooling in China.

Lou’s research discoveries on the changing ecology of education in rural middle schools in China have influenced her teaching, in particular the First-Year Initiatives course she is currently teaching.  The FYI, titled “From Beijing to Beloit:  Ecology, Development, and Education,” teaches students about the changing ecology of both nature and society in China due to the rapid industrialization.  They then use it to examine the nature and community in Beloit. Recent rapid development has devastated the environment of China, altered people’s lifestyles, and disturbed traditional cultural values.

The course discusses the possibility to foster a new philosophy of sustainable development, one that marries scientific understanding of ecology and development with a renewed appreciation for traditional cultural values such as harmony and interdependence that are key to many Asian religions and philosophies.  Enlightened by a global perspective, students explore the ecological agendas in the local community of Beloit, especially in various schools and educational sites, as their term project. Studying the ecology of education in China, which is 60 percent rural, can help students understand the ecology of education in Beloit, as well. The issues that the students studied in China apply to other places as well, Lou said.

“Working on the issue of rural education (in China) helped develop my interest in the ecology of education,” Lou said. “In particular, I am interested in how urbanization and globalization have altered the ecology of rural schooling and rural society.”

Source:  Jingjing Lou is an associate professor of education and youth studies.  She teaches courses on East Asian education, multicultural education, and other courses in the education and youth studies department.  She also has research interests in international education and the internationalization of U.S. public schools and higher education. Lou has done research and published on the financing and privatization of higher education in Russia, U.S. and China. She has also researched on girls’ education, migrant children’s education, and rural youth’s education and identity development in China. Currently, she is particularly interested in townization and migration and its impact on rural Chinese youth and their education.  In addition to teaching and research, Jingjing has also served as a research consultant for a few international and domestic NGOs.  Her CV can be accessed from the following site:  She can serve as a media contact for topics related to her research and teaching.