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Pieces of Eight


 
ECU professor Peng Yu pronounces Chinese language characters for students in Chinese 1001, a first year course made possible this year by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant allows expansion of ECU’s Asian Students Program. The expanded program will include additional offerings of Asian language instruction. (Photo by Joy Holster)

Grant Expands Asian Studies

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded East Carolina University a $158,000 grant to develop and expand the university’s Asian Studies program.

The two-year award allows for development and expansion in three main areas: curriculum, faculty research and community outreach.

The grant began this fall and is overseen by Sylvie Debevec Henning, director of International Programs for Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and John A. Tucker, professor of Asian History and Director of the Interdisciplinary Asian Studies Program housed in the Harriot College of Arts and Sciences.

The grant will enable the university to expand Asian language instruction at ECU. The Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education are providing funds for a full-time position in Japanese language and cultures. This year additional sections of beginning Japanese are being offered. Currently 60 students are enrolled in Japanese language classes.

The grant has also made is possible for ECU to offer first year Chinese language instruction after a long hiatus. These students will have a chance to continue to study Chinese in China either during the summer at China Agriculture University in Beijing or during the next academic year through one of the available exchange programs.

The grant will enhance the interdisciplinary minor in Asian Studies, which debuted two years ago. Several new curricular projects will be developed as part of the program. These include a template for an Asian Studies concentration for the Multidisciplinary Studies major, new Asian Studies content courses, new modules for existing courses and additional study abroad opportunities.

The University Honors Program will be an important contributor to the project with two new courses with Asian Studies content as well as opportunities for Honors students to meet visiting scholars.

Another aspect of the Department of Education’s Asian Studies project is a two-week curriculum development trip to a country or region of Asia. Faculty will compete for four travel grants for spring/summer 2007. An additional four grants will be available for 2008.

The grant will also allow for the procurement of research and instructional materials for the language lab and library. The final aspect of the grant involves community outreach.

A film series, an Asian Studies Forum, an Asian Studies web site and workshops with Pitt County Schools will expand the program.

8/2/10
This page originally appeared in the Oct. 6, 2006 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at http://www.ecu.edu/news/poe/Arch.cfm.