Faculty members from across the campus are encouraged to explore the possibility of adding units or modules on any region or country in Asia to existing undergraduate courses or to develop new undergraduate courses. The Asian Studies Program has funding for faculty travel leading to course enhancement or development.
Sloane Christine Burke (Department of Health Education and Promotion, College of Health and Human Performance)
According to the World Health Organization, China is a priority country of public health importance and challenges due to emerging diseases in that nation such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and neonatal conditions and existing health issues including stomach, liver, and lung cancers and heart disease (WHO, 2006). International public health is a growing area in the field of health, and one that is important to expand in our department. The Asian Studies course development grant would provide me the opportunity to travel to Beijing, China for three weeks during Summer I (June) of 2009 to develop partnerships with key health professionals and health organizations for international course enhancement. My visits and interviews with key contacts at universities and clinics in Beijing will provide me with information, photographs, and videos that will be used to create a new version of the Global Health (HLTH 3520) course which will focus on health education and health care practices in Asia. In addition, these contacts and resources that I acquire via my travel project will also be used to develop a module focusing on health issues in China for my existing Health Disparities course (HLTH 3020), as one of the three modules on global health disparities.
This travel project will also be used to create academic partnerships with universities and health agencies working in community and public health in Beijing. In my visit to China, I would focus more narrowly on public health - to form partnerships with contacts that will provide qualitative dialogue on current health issues, feedback on curriculum design, and an opportunity to conference via technology video links and online chats with students in the Global Health and Health Disparities courses.
The key organizations where I will pursue my contacts include Peking University Health Science Center, School of Public Health; Capital University of Medical Sciences, and Tsinghua University; China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (CATCM); the Beijing United Family Hospital and Clinics (BJU); and the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention. These contacts will provide important insights into health issues, health disparities, and health education and prevention strategies that exist in both the urban and rural Chinese population served by these organizations.
Cindy Elmore (Department of Communications, College of Fine Arts and Communications)
In my International News Communication course (COMM 3390), I teach about numerous issues related to the mass media throughout the world. One of the issues I am interested in further understanding, updating and developing for my course relates to government control of the media in Singapore. Singapore has long and traditionally held strong authoritarian control over the news media. The government is highly sensitive to criticism in the media. When accusations are made in the news media there against the government or its officials, the government is quick to sue for libel or to crack down in other ways. Yet the country itself is not draconian – it is a modern, capitalistic, strongly globalized and wealthy country. So several things make its control over the media unique: 1) Singapore is home to one of Asia’s greatest concentrations of international media, whose reporters, as noncitizens, are not entitled to Singapore’s “constitutionally protected” freedoms of speech and expression. I want to learn more about how the international press located in Singapore does its job in the face of such restrictions, and to learn about what repercussions have occurred. 2) The entire country is wired for cable and Internet access, which would, on its face, make Internet restrictions extremely difficult. Yet, apparently, Singapore has found a unique way to do so. Instead of regulating the Internet itself, my review of the literature states that it instead regulates political speech about Singapore on the Web, effectively precluding its use by opposition parties who fear backlash. All political web sites must be registered with the state, and sponsors of the sites are legally liable for the content on the sites, making them easy to monitor. I would like to meet with media scholars in Singapore, and possibly with opposition groups or government officials with whom I could discuss the ramifications and techniques involved in Internet monitoring.
Calvin Mercer (Religious Studies Program, Harriot College of Arts and Sciences)
Most of my professional training is focused on Christian studies, and my travels have provided the most exposure to the Middle East where I have studied various aspects of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. I have a particular interest in monasticism and have a good deal of retreat experience in the Christian monastic tradition, especially Roman Catholic Trappist houses in America and Israel.
In our small ECU Religious Studies Program, it is necessary that I teach outside my Christian studies specialty. I developed the course “Mysticism” (PHIL 3698) with the ultimate goal of addressing mysticism across religions. I have found that the course needs development in two ways. First, because of my background and training, it is too heavily focused on the Christian mystical tradition. Second, I found that the course works much better when I combine the study of mysticism with monasticism. Most mystics lived and worked in a monastery of some sort, and emphasizing the monastic context enables students to better understand and appreciate the sometimes esoteric mystics and their writings.
On my own, with regard to several of my courses that move outside my specialty, I have tried to provide a corrective to my dependence on the Christian material. One area, however, where I have very little knowledge and exposure is Theravada Buddhism. With this grant, my plan is to spend between 2-3 weeks in Thailand in May, 2009 and focus on Theravada Buddhism. I anticipate that most of my time could be most productively spent in and around Bangkok and Chiang Mai. However, I would like to keep open the option of visiting other cities and of an excursion into Laos, should my pre-travel research indicate that these centers would provide a deeper understanding of Buddhism in that part of the world.
William Obenour (Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies) College of Health and Human Performance)
First, I will present some background information on the course which will be improved by traveling to Asia. The RCLS 4121 Tourism Planning and Development course provides a teaching and learning opportunity to integrate global understanding through the study of tourism. Many of the resources used in the course are international because of the complex and dramatic impact tourism has on countries around the world. The textbook for the course reflects a global perspective on tourism and presents many case studies on tourism impacts. Unfortunately, the textbook case studies explain and describe tourism issues in a narrative form that is concise and visually lacking for the students of 2008 and beyond. The global issues relevant to tourism planning and development become difficult to comprehend for the students who are the future tourism marketers and planners. The profession requires more tourism marketers and planners who are cognizant of the ramifications for transporting tourists around the globe and truly have a framework for understanding the environment, social institutions such as family structures and religions and economy of various cultures.
Traveling to the Asia and specifically the country of Cambodia will enable the construction of a video and text based case study of tourism centered on the International Heritage Site of Angkor Wat. I am seeking funding to travel to Cambodia and complete the case study. Traveling to Angkor Wat and visually capturing images for students provides a context for the complex tourism issues associated with a World Heritage Site in an Asian country such as Cambodia. My sources of documentation will comprise observation and video recording, and discussion with tourism leaders and local leaders. In addition, I will analyze the destination image of this site as seen in global media outlets. This is an excellent site for a case study to learn of the contradictory mix of conservation and exploitation, scholarship and commerce, and preservation and development that may arise from tourism.
Lester Zeager (Department of Economics, Harriot College of Arts and Sciences)
I have taught ECON 3353 (Development Economics) at ECU for twenty-three years running…
Over 23 years a great deal has changed in the field of development economics, and the most spectacular changes have occurred in Asia… I have often wished that I could visit the region first-hand and develop relationships with Asian economists so that I could offer more vivid impressions of these developments to students.
Development economics covers a wide range of topics: poverty & inequality, environmental concerns, population, investments in education and health, international trade, agriculture, financial intermediation, foreign aid, institutions, and governance. My proposal involves
· Preparing materials (PowerPoint slides, short articles, and lecture examples) that illustrate five of these topics from Asian countries.
· Replacing my long popular, but now rather dated, supplemental text about sub-Saharan Africa with one that features lessons from Asian development experience.
· Supplementing the video clips in my lectures with ones from the Asian Development Bank
I am envisioning a total trip of approximately two weeks, with one week in Malaysia and another in Taiwan. In both countries, I would exchange ideas with Asian economists about the Asian development experience and gather materials for the changes to ECON 3353described above.