Humanities program looks to Far East

In News

While China is rapidly becoming a major economic and political power in the modern world, Cal State Fullerton’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences is keeping pace with these advances with the expansion of the Chinese Language Program.

The program attracts record numbers of heritage and non-native students.

Some of the 200 students enrolled are heritage students, who grew up speaking Chinese with limited competence in reading and writing Chinese, and other students have no previous exposure to the language. The fundamental language courses develop their competence in spoken and written Chinese.

“New courses, Chinese 203 and Chinese 204, aimed at the non-native speakers are a priority in the Chinese program,” said Thomas Klammer, dean of Humanities and Social Sciences.

During the Sept. 14 “Pizza with the Dean” meeting, Klammer said the program adapted to meet those needs.

Program growth includes the addition of full-time faculty members.

Jack Liu, the new coordinator of the Chinese Language Program, has a doctorate in foreign language education from Purdue University and received his certification from Purdue’s Krannert Graduate School of Business.

“Bringing Dr. Liu on as a fulltime faculty member was a big step and shows our commitment to growth,” said Janet Eyring, modern language and literatures department chair.

Liu teaches courses in Chinese civilization and contemporary culture. He also teaches a series of business courses in Chinese. These require at least two years of prior Chinese instruction. Liu hopes to guide students with no prior experience along this business track.

Many students combine language study and work focused on East Asian society and culture, with a minor in Asian studies. But that may soon change. There are plans to develop a Chinese minor.

A Chinese language club called the Chinese Studies Association is in the works. They plan to host a Chinese film festival for the public. Visiting business leaders and scholars will participate in workshops. The club will publish students’ case studies, consult with internship students and track student job placement.

Liu plans to offer a Chinese film class to teach China’s rich and diverse culture. Students will have opportunities to study abroad and take internship courses in China. He also proposed shared distance-learning courses in Chinese with the University of Hawaii.

“Cal State Fullerton had the space for developing a Chinese program,” Liu said. “It fits my background in language, business and administration.”

A summer institute in Chinese is scheduled for either in 2006 or 2007 at Cal State Long Beach, Klammer said. He described it as a program funded by a Chinese grant that would last eight to 10 weeks. It may become a pilot for a broader program; California State Universities at Fullerton, San Bernardino, Northridge, Long Beach, and Los Angeles may participate.

Klammer said he requested federal funding for workshops in the strategic languages, including Chinese. He said skills are needed in international business and diplomacy to promote world understanding and peace.


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