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Asian Studies Program





The International Studies Program and the Department of History have been awarded a three-year $158,000 grant from the US Department of Education under its Undergraduate International Education and Foreign Language Program to develop and expand ECU's Asian Studies Program. Dr. Sylvie Debevec Henning, Director of International Programs for the Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and Dr. John Tucker, Professor of Asian History and Director of the Asian Studies Minor serve as the program's co-directors.

Asia is a dynamic force in the emerging world culture. Its economic and political impact is significant. Now, as it has been for centuries in the past, it is a source of innovative ideas and products. Consequently, understanding its contributions to global culture is imperative. Recognizing the appeal of Asian cultures and their global importance, East Carolina University (ECU) proposes to create a multidisciplinary Asian Studies Program. This program will explore, from the perspectives of various disciplines, a variety of Asian cultures using a three pronged approach.

Curriculum Enhancement

The offerings in Japanese language will be stabilized by the hiring of a full-time faculty member in Japanese. This year the grant made possible the hiring of two part-time instructors of Japanese. This has enabled us to increase the number of sections of beginning Japanese and therefore the number of students enrolled in Japanese has doubled.

We have begun to establish a stable program in Chinese by the hiring of a part-time faculty member in Chinese language who teaches first year Chinese. We hope to tie this language instruction to an intensive Chinese language program in Chinese, for example at the China Agricultural University in Beijing, so that students can continue their Chinese language studies in an immersion setting. Once we have sufficient enrollment on the ECU campus for second year Chinese, students can use the intensive program for further language study and cultural enrichment.  The regular offering of Japanese and Chinese language courses through the intermediate level will allow us to require Asian Studies minors to fulfill their foreign language requirement for the BA with two years of Japanese or Chinese language.

An interdisciplinary minor in Asian Studies was established two years ago. The minor in Asian studies is an interdisciplinary program, offered through the Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, requiring a minimum of 24 s.h. The minor offers courses from a range of disciplines, focusing on Asian civilizations and cultures. Students are encouraged to study available Asian languages, and to take advantage of appropriate study abroad opportunities. The expansion of Asian content courses or courses with Asian Studies units made possible through this grant project will enhance this minor by adding greater flexibility and range

ECU makes possible the designing of majors comprising a number of disciplines through its Multidisciplinary Studies Program. A template is being prepared for an Asian Studies major with a variety of concentrations.T he Asian Studies program will most likely require two years of Japanese or Chinese language as well as areas studies courses in Asian anthropology, art, geography, history, philosophy, politics, or religion.  It will also include two required multidisciplinary courses. In addition to these required courses, students electing the Asian Studies multidisciplinary major will have to select six courses from a list of appropriate courses. Part of the curriculum enhancement component of this grant project is to increase the number of Asian content courses as well as the number of related courses with an Asian Studies component. These additions will expand the range of options available to students. With the addition of courses from the professional schools, students will be able to tailor their major more to their career interests and needs while maintaining a core of Asian Studies courses

Faculty members from a wide range of disciples will be designing new Asian Studies units or modules for existing courses in the College of Arts and Sciences as well as several of the professional colleges, including the College of Business, College of Human Ecology, and the College of Fine Arts and Communication. These revised courses will greatly expand the number of options for the multidisciplinary majors and minors in Asian Studies

Faculty Development

Another aspect of the project is a two-week curriculum development trip to an Asian country for faculty. This year faculty are competing for four travel grants that will fund the 2007 summer trips. We expect to fund at least four more such trips for summer 2008. These trips will help participating faculty develop new Asian Studies content courses as well as modify existing courses to include Asian Studies modules

Joyner Library has committed funds for Asian Studies related research and instructional materials to be added to the library's collections.

Co-curricular activities/Outreach Activities

The final aspect of the grant involves community outreach. A film series, an Asian Studies Forum featuring ECU faculty and Fulbright Scholars, an Asian Studies web site, a collection of digital images and workshops with Pitt County Schools will expand the program.

The Asian Studies Program supports several of the university's initiatives, including internationalization and the promotion of interdisciplinary studies, while it strengthens the Asian language and literature program in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.