|ACS Program in Chinese Studies|
Welcome to the Collaborative Program in Chinese Studies
Having moved to the top priority level in the Associated Colleges of the South, Chinese Studies has been the centerpiece of numerous discussions among the faculty and staff in the consortium. Emerging from those extensive discussions is a plan for a dramatic increase in programs and opportunities made available in Chinese Studies by the 16 member institutions of ACS. Working together through the consortium, the institutions will shape new programs and refine current efforts to make an impact on Chinese Studies that would not be possible if institutions were working on an individual basis.
The consortium is determined to increase language and non-language courses that are related to China, provide new opportunities for students and faculty outside the classroom, expand the number of faculty teaching and leading our Chinese efforts, and heighten the number the students studying Chinese language and culture and learning about the Chinese experience firsthand.
Curriculum and faculty enhancement
The consortium proposes a thorough and comprehensive review of the curriculum, pointing towards possible linkages between and among institutions. Joint seminars and workshops will be considered along with Chinese language and culture courses made available during the academic year and in short terms as well.
Opportunities for faculty will be numerous under the new plan, with a centerpiece being an exchange of faculty between the ACS institutions and their Chinese partners. Both individuals and groups will be afforded opportunities to visit and study in China, taking part in special faculty development workshops and conducting field studies as well. A further opportunity for ACS faculty will be to teach on the campuses of the partner institutions in China. These latter opportunities will be an extension of the intensive Chinese language program offered in the summer of 2007 and the three institutes anticipated for the summer of 2008.
Chinese Studies faculty will be encouraged to participate in the ACS micro-teaching and learning workshop held each summer. This is an exceedingly intense week-long workshop in which effective faculty attempt to become even better. They participate in classroom-like settings with other faculty and receive immediate feedback – helpful responses to the various teaching approaches with which they are experimenting. In small groups of four or five faculty, with two leaders or facilitators, they engage in a very intense and lively intellectual exchange.
Workshops will be open to faculty who wish to add a Chinese dimension to their courses, seminars and tutorials. Faculty may want to incorporate Chinese history into a world history course or the Chinese political tradition into a course on world politics or Chinese economic development into an international economics course. Anticipated are a number of modules on China that faculty would want to develop in order to broaden the courses being offered.
The consortium is also contemplating serving another level of faculty in the workshops, namely, those faculty with limited background on China who would like to learn more about the language or the non-language aspects of the Middle Kingdom (with the idea of introducing Chinese concepts into courses at some point in their teaching careers).
The proposed on-line journal is another opportunity created for faculty, providing a vehicle through which they will be stimulated to publish research findings and engage in professional dialogue with their peers around the consortium and beyond.
A special opportunity for faculty will be made available in the form of workshops on special topics, most likely to be held in the US. These will be workshops, conferences, and colloquies to bring faculty together to focus on key topics of interest such as regional security issues, environment and economic development, and confronting terrorism.
How will faculty be encouraged and enticed to take part in these activities? The answer is in publicizing the opportunities, broadening partnerships that have already been established, funding the expenses involved, providing vehicles for publishing the results of various experiences and research, offering recognition for tasks particularly well performed, and providing opportunities to interact with Chinese faculty (creating networks in which faculty can work together in the future). The consortium will also provide demonstration models of success, that is, experiences that have been particularly helpful to faculty such as valuable workshops, opportunities to strengthen their teaching connections, and linkages established with Chinese peers.
While the emphasis here has been on American faculty, similar opportunities will be made available to faculty from China. They will be invited to teach on the ACS campuses, learning more about America in the process. They will also be invited to participate actively in topical workshops and conferences, and field trips will also be organized, (particularly geared to those Chinese faculty less familiar with the U.S). They will be invited to publish articles in the online journal, sharing their expertise with ACS faculty and the wider audiences to which the journal will be exposed.
Student programs will be central to the overall initiative. Chinese students from partner institutions will be invited to ACS campuses for a fall or winter term, the full year, or the summer. Opportunities will be made available for them to take regular, ongoing courses at ACS institutions and enroll in tutorials created especially for them. The tutorials will be geared to different levels of background and experience with the U.S. and its issues. The consortium will even explore arrangements under which Chinese students could stay for a longer time and receive academic credit and a degree.
Without overburdening the visiting students, the colleges want to involve them in various phases of campus life. That will include asking them to share their histories and stories with various groups on the campus, including other students, faculty and staff. Institutions want to pay special attention to the visitors and learn from them during their visits.
For ACS students, the consortium will create learning opportunities in China, including the language institutes mentioned earlier (which will be open to non-ACS students in addition) and other courses. Like their counterparts, the American students will enjoy opportunities for semesters or terms, the full year or a summer. The consortium will locate programs on partner campuses, and the courses and special programs will involve language and a cultural dimension of China. Service learning and internship opportunities will also be explored, opening up the possibilities of linking the ACS students to members of broader Chinese communities (much like connections made for Chinese students with local communities near the ACS colleges and universities). The consortium plans to explore broadening the Furman University program in China, through which enrolled freshmen students go to China in the summer before their school year starts in the Fall. At Furman, these students must make a commitment to study Chinese for at least one year upon their return from China.
A special workshop will be scheduled for students each year, affording them an opportunity to present the results of their research.
Irrespective of when students go to China, the consortium will stress preparation for the experience overseas – much as preparation will be encouraged for faculty as well. Readings will be recommended, faculty will work with students on their campuses, and an online consortium-wide tutorial will be required. The plan is to develop a model pre-departure and orientation tutorial that may be used by a variety of institutions.
The consortium is also aiming at a distinctive program for students after they return to their home campuses. This will involve bringing them together, asking them to share their knowledge and experience with other students, particularly those contemplating a China experience of their own. Envisioned are forums for discussion, classroom and out-of-classroom presentations, and articles solicited for the ACS newsletter on Chinese Studies.
Special mention should be made of the consortium’s plan to evaluate the student experiences overseas. ACS plans to utilize new instruments assessing the outcomes of the educational experience such as the intercultural competency acquired by students. These results will accompany faculty and student-reported responses to the program and the specific grades for individual courses. With funding from the Teagle Foundation, the consortium has been working with two other consortia to devise instruments that can be particularly valuable in identifying the impact of the study abroad experience; now, we will put these instruments to effective use.
A number of workshops and seminars are anticipated as ways of confronting issues of common interest to faculty and students. The consortium plans an annual faculty workshop with a two-fold purpose: first, to exchange information on the teaching of Chinese, and second, to focus on topics of immediate interest. Such a workshop will enable faculty to compare notes on their China experience and share their reviews of the specific ACS programs being offered. Faculty will identify the special topics – items so far include security in the region, economic and environmental development, responding to terrorism and other topics.
The consortium has extensive experience with faculty workshops over seventeen years, covering numerous academic areas. Faculty attendance has ranged from about ten to two hundred faculty per workshop. Meanwhile, students will have an opportunity to present results of undergraduate research activity related to Chinese Studies. The consortium will follow the pattern of ACS student workshops in classics, gender studies, environmental studies, education, Latin American Studies, and British Studies. Selected reports will be disseminated on the ACS website and possibly in the electronic newsletter as well. Chinese participation will be invited in both faculty and student workshops in the US. Workshops are also foreseen for China.
The consortium is also exploring a capstone Chinese study experience for seniors majoring in the field, collaborating once again with its Chinese partners.
The leaders of this new initiative envision a creative and extensive use of technology to enhance courses, strengthen teaching and expand learning for students. On the horizon are joint courses team-taught online, for example. Using technology in creative ways will enable the institutions to offer a richer array of courses taught by people of various backgrounds and experiences. Professors will be able to teach courses in areas of their special knowledge and expertise that have not been previously taught (the student numbers on an individual campus simply were not sufficient). In taking the 16 sixteen ACS institutions together, the critical mass will be present to justify a number of stimulating and important courses.
The group is following the splendid model provided by the consortium in the area of classics in which it has created a virtual department drawing on approximately 30 faculty members. As in the case of classics, when the entire group of Chinese Studies faculty are grouped together, it becomes an extremely formidable and impressive department. Working together, the faculty can expand the scope of study and draw deeply on the expertise of a very substantial number of faculty from the 16 institutions. Joined together, the consortium offers students a faculty of 40 as against the few faculty typically available on an individual campus.
Using the email list, the website, chat rooms and other devices, the group will focus on curriculum and also on pedagogy. As mentioned earlier, the group foresees special training opportunities for faculty to learn about making effective use of technology in the teaching process. In this connection, the consortium would participate in the activities and services provided by the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE) of which all the ACS institutions are members.
An ACS China Center
A consortial center will be a key coordinating mechanism for this initiative. It will be located at a Chinese partner institution and probably will rotate over time. The director of the overall program will oversee the Center, working with a coordinator located on the campus of the Chinese institution.
The center will serve the following roles:
Organization and Evaluation
The organizational focal point for the new program will be a coordinating committee consisting of Academic Deans and Chinese Studies faculty. The group will work very closely with the ACS program director and other ACS staff. Regular reports will be shared with the full council of ACS Academic Deans as well as with the ACS Presidents.
The coordinating committee will be responsible for further program planning, oversight of the entire program and evaluation of activities taking place. That evaluation, it should be added, will be a formative one in which regular feedback is supplied as the project unfolds. In this way, necessary adjustments can be made as the project develops rather than waiting for changes at the end of the year or at the end of the project. Outside evaluators will also be used in determining the extent to which actions are fulfilling the overall objectives of the initiative.
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|This page updated on 1/3/08|
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