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Visiting scholar from China spends longer than expected at Georgia Southern, returns home with wealth of knowledge for students with disabilities

Xiaoying Jiang, Ph.D.
Xiaoying Jiang, Ph.D.

In March 2019, Georgia Southern University’s College of Education (COE) welcomed a visiting scholar from Southwest University in Chongqing, China. Xiaoying Jiang, Ph.D., an associate professor of special education, partnered with COE’s Kymberly Harris, Ph.D., associate professor of special education, to examine educational methodology using children’s literature and making those practices accessible to students with disabilities.

While at Georgia Southern, Jiang collaborated in education courses including classroom management, social studies education and reading education. She also visited COE senior special education majors working within regional school placements while completing their internships as teacher candidates. Collaborations were hosted by Harris, special education instructor Courtney Toledo and reading faculty members Sally Brown, Ph.D., and Elizabeth Prosser, Ph.D.

Jiang’s intentions were to study at Georgia Southern for a year and return home to begin using new found practices and research collaborations. However, as the COVID-19 outbreak accelerated by March, Jiang realized she nor her son Leo, who had traveled with her, were going to get to go home as planned.

“I was supposed to return to China at the end of March, but the Chinese government issued a flight restriction policy, and for a long time, I couldn’t get a flight back to China,” she said.

Over the next six months, Jiang purchased several tickets to fly home, only to receive cancellations every time. Chinese officials announced in September that Jiang could travel home. 

After reuniting with her family, Jiang is again focused on her students and plans to continue collaborations with her colleagues at Georgia Southern.

“I have already shared teaching strategies for reading in special education classes in the U.S. with teachers from Beijing,” said Jiang. “There are so many things we can learn from reading education at Georgia Southern. I will also work hard with teachers to make a difference for children with special needs.”

Harris said that she and Jiang also plan to work on publishing research together.

“This partnership continues to support our longstanding relationship with various universities in China,” said Harris. “An invitation to return to China has been extended to me again for Summer 2021, when Jiang’s university is sponsoring a conference and teaching opportunity for students with disabilities.”


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