University of Minnesota, Crookston - Zhejiang Economic and Trade Polytechnic

American Culture Center



The University of Minnesota Crookston and Zhejiang Economic and Trade Polytechnic began their partnership in 2005. In 2012, the relationship was strengthened through the grant to develop an American Culture Center at Zhejiang Economic and Trade Polytechnic.  

The UMC – ZJETP American Culture Center has two components. One is a dedicated reading room housed in the ESL portion of campus. The second component is comprised of a 3-D immersion lab. The purpose of this lab is to work with faculty and students at both UMC and ZJETP in developing software for the 3-D immersion lab. The intent is to open the lab to university students, faculty, staff, and public and to share US historical sites such as Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon, and Niagara Falls. Additionally, students from both institutions will work on 3-D projects at their home institution and meet at the 3-D immersion lab at the UMC – ZJETP American Culture Center to present their works and collaborate on projects, leading to a student-to-student interaction.

 One of the long-term goals for the American Cultural Center at ZJETP is to use it as a bridge to universities, businesses, industries, governmental and non-governmental agencies in the United States and Zhejiang province and the Yangtze River Delta of China, including Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. 

2015-2016 Programming Highlights


UMC has hired a new faculty member, Dr. Sameer Abufardeh, who is in charge of the software engineering program and will oversee the 3-D immersion lab and work on the student-to-student programs involving the 3-D lab.


Opened a reading lab (English as a Second Language) on campus


Signature project: Mount Rushmore in 3-D collaborated with Engineering Department


A kiosk was delivered to ZJETP from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

  • Students in China will be able to use the lab to demonstrate American historical scenes and visit sites in the U.S. including universities, national landmarks, and other places of interest. 
  • The lab combines the most recent computer technology, sensor technology, and visual technology to allow users to "immerse" themselves in a virtual environment and interact with that environment. Along with the 3-D immersive lab, the American Cultural Center at ZJETP will include a multimedia conference room and theater, a reading room, and an e-reading room.


Zhejiang Economic and Trade Polytechnic

Coming soon.


University of Minnesota, Crookston

Dr. Gillette has been a professional in the field of international education for 20 years.   She began as the International Scholar Advisor at the University of Arizona.  After a few years, she moved back to her home state of Minnesota and took on the position of Assistant Director for International Programs at Minnesota State University Moorhead.  Currently, she serves as Director of International Programs at the University of Minnesota Crookston.  Throughout her tenure, Dr. Gillette has worked with and overseen various aspects of international education including international scholars, international students (undergraduate and Master's level), Education Abroad, ESL programs, international student recruitment & admissions, foreign credential evaluation, Confucius Institute Satellite Office, international articulation agreements, international partnerships, faculty-led programs, and faculty development on internationalization of curriculum and campus.

Dr. Gillette earned her BA in French from St. Olaf College, her MA in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University, and her PhD in Educational Leadership from the University of North Dakota. Her research was on first term experiences of international students at higher education institutions in the US.

She serves on the executive committee for the Chancellor and the strategic planning committee for the campus. In this capacity, she is able to use her skills and knowledge of international education and intercultural communication to strengthen the University in reaching its goals of educating students for the global world. She believes in providing resources, support, and encouragement for faculty, staff and students in the pursuit of international and intercultural learning.

Dr. Kimberly Gillette

International Programs Office

University of Minnesota, Crookston