A Chinese studies program involving several academic fields is planned at the University of Central Arkansas, paid for in part with a federal grant, university officials say.
The $166,000 grant from the federal Education Department will support faculty members who are developing China-related courses across various academic disciplines, as well as students who will travel to Shanghai to study in a Chinese-language immersion program at East China Normal University.
“This project, the first of its kind in Arkansas, will meet urgent student and state needs in cross-cultural understanding and communication, demanded by the world economy and politics increasingly connected to China,” said Hui Wu, UCA associate professor of writing, who submitted the proposal for the grant.
“We will add a Chinese language minor and eventually a major in Chinese studies to the existing Asian studies program at UCA,” she said.
Wu’s proposal for the grant was entitled, “Improving the Asian Studies Curriculum through a Focus on China.”
The two-year funding period calls for development of an interdisciplinary Chinese studies curriculum through an inter-college consortium, the development of a Chinese minor enriched by language immersion, and art activities to reach out to schools and enhance UCA students’ exposure to Chinese culture.
By the end of the funding period, UCA will have a Chinese-language minor to support Chinese studies as an integral part of the Asian studies curriculum and will begin to develop Chinese studies into a major, to provide Arkansas schools with Chinese-language teachers within five years.
The program will involve 11 faculty members from four colleges: the College of Fine Arts and Communication, the College of Liberal Arts, the Honors College and the College of Business.
The grant includes $5,000 to help pay for an upcoming performance of “Shaolin Warriors” at UCA, as well as underwriting for UCA faculty and students to take a half-semester course, “Survival Chinese for Travelers,” next spring.
Information from: Log Cabin Democrat, http://www.thecabin.net
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