Enhancing Undergraduate Chinese Language and Culture Studies: Integrating Faculty and Curriculum Development is a 3-year consortium project designed and coordinated by the Asian Studies Development Program, funded through a U.S. Department of Education Title VI Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) grant. The project aims to establish and accelerate the integrated development of undergraduate Chinese area and language studies at two community colleges, a small liberal arts college and a mid-sized state university that are representative of American, undergraduate-focused higher education.
This project draws on Asian Studies Development Program (ASDP)’s quarter century of experience making use of interdisciplinary and cutting edge methods in educational pedagogy to foster faculty, curriculum, and institutional development in Asian areas studies. Two features in particular make the ASDP model both distinctive and highly effective. First, in contrast with top-down internationalization efforts and “one size fits all” approaches to curriculum development, ASDP assists higher education teachers and administrators in mobilizing existing resources to bring about the conditions for sustained curricular innovation across the social sciences and humanities. Secondly, ASDP offers programs for institutional teams, including both teaching faculty and administrators, which work collaboratively to develop both course curricula and institution-specific strategic plans. This team approach has proved to be much more effective than programs for individual faculty members in galvanizing rapid and sustained Asian studies initiatives.
A crucial conviction of the project is that a “diversity dividend” can be realized in interdisciplinary collaborations within and among colleges and universities when differences are engaged as the basis of mutual contribution. In keeping with this conviction, the project is built around activities that enable 6-member teams from each consortium school to work together developing self-sustaining and campus-specific Chinese studies programs, informed by the benefits of sharing insights and lessons learned by other teams. The project aims to serve as a nationally-applicable model for “fast-tracking” the development of integrally related language and culture studies programs.