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Law Prof to Explain U.S. Economy
to Future Chinese Businessmen
September 13, 1999

As China's economy shifts from one that is government-controlled to one that values entrepreneurial spirit, business people there are eager to learn more about how America's market-based economy has thrived.

Robert Googins, adjunct professor at the School of Law, left last week for China, to teach a course designed to offer insight into the functioning of the U.S. economy.

Googins will teach a two-credit class this fall on regulation of the financial services industry at the University of International Business and Economics, or UIBE, in Beijing.

"They're very anxious to learn about how we regulate the financial services industry," Googins said.

Forty students have already signed up for the seven-week class, which Googins developed especially for the university. In addition, Chinese insurance executives may audit the class. Googins will teach his course in English, as all UIBE's students must be proficient in the language.

Googins' students will benefit from his broad knowledge about America's financial services industry. From 1990 to 1994, Googins served as insurance commissioner of the state of Connecticut. In addition, he was an executive with an insurance company for nearly 30 years.

During the course, Googins intends to compare the fully developed U.S. system to one that's just developing. By analyzing our system, those who are part of an emerging system may be able to avoid some of our miscues and profit from our successes, he said.

"They can learn from some of the mistakes we've made that we can't easily undo," Googins said.

UIBE, formerly known as Beijing Institute of Foreign Trade, was founded in 1954. The university, which has an enrollment of more than 17,000 students, offers programs of study and research in international business, economics, law, management and languages.

UIBE and UConn's law school have a sister university relationship, Googins said. The dean of the university has visited Connecticut and several professors from the university have received their master's of law degrees from UConn's law school.

Seven UConn law school faculty members, including Dean Hugh Macgill, have taught at UIBE. Googins will be the first to teach a full-semester course there, however, and the first American to teach a full course on the financial services industry at the university.

The university offers highly specialized and rigorous training for students preparing for policy positions, Macgill said. Because many of the university's students later take jobs that require them to interact with foreign business people, Americans can also benefit from the university's unique offerings, he added.

"The university is training the people most useful for Americans seeking to do business in China to know," Macgill said.

Googins said he hopes his trip will prove valuable to UConn's law school as well. He plans to tell students in China about the law school's many programs, including its one-of-a-kind advanced degree in insurance law, and will encourage them to come here. In addition, Googins expects to learn from the people he meets.

"All the contacts we have broaden the information base that we have," he said.

This is not Googins' first overseas experience. He is currently a consultant to the Kazakhstan government as part of the United States' program for aid to developing countries. Under that arrangement, Googins is helping the government there understand how to regulate private industry.

Googins has taught at UConn's law school since 1964 and was the founding director of the school's Insurance Law Center. He was also executive director of the Insurance Marketing Standards Association, an organization designed to encourage insurance companies to adopt a code of ethics, from 1997 to 1999.

Allison Thompson