UISFL 2016-2019 Enhancing Undergraduate Chinese Language and Culture Studies:  Integrating Faculty and Curriculum Development
Hosted by Asian Studies Development Program
The China Project

Enhancing Undergraduate Chinese Language and Culture Studies:
Integrating Faculty and Curriculum Development
UIS

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University of Central Oklahoma

Founded in 1890 and located in Edmond, the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) is the oldest institution of higher learning in Oklahoma and the state’s third largest school. According to US News and World Report, UCO is ranked among the top public regional universities in the nation. UCO primarily serves the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, enrolling over 14,016 undergraduates and nearly 2000 graduate students in 116 undergraduate majors and 70 graduate programs. The UCO student body is quite diverse. Slightly over 60% of the students are Caucasian, 9.3% African-American, 7.6% International, 6.2% Hispanic, 5.0% two or more mixed races, 4.0% Native Americans, 3.0% Asian.

 

The University’s academic concept revolves around six central themes and activities, known as the Central Six: disciplinary knowledge, service, research, leadership, wellness and, most importantly for this grant, global competency. Each aspect of the Central Six plays a role in the institution’s embrace of “transformative learning”, a campus-wide initiative to offer our students gripping, effective learning opportunities through classwork, campus organizations, community service, internships and many more structured activities to integrate student learning with personal practice. Significantly, the Department of Education has endorsed this concept with a $1,700,000 five year grant to UCO. In terms of this proposal, UCO has sponsored semester-long programs and short-term study tours, primarily in Europe. It seeks to extend its engagement with the international community through invitations to Fulbright recipients and academic guests from overseas partner institutions. It is seeking extensive curricular changes that will extend a language requirement across all disciplines.

 

UCO’s Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultural Studies offers majors in French, German, and Spanish, and minors in those languages and Asian Studies. Coursework ranges from elementary language courses to advanced study of cultural and literary topics—usually in the target language. The department also serves as a catalyst for the creation of community events and activities to promote cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary understanding, communication, and analysis. UCO has long supported the study of China and continues to build a foundation for this through a Confucius Classroom and through recently hosting two national faculty workshops with ASDP and the Confucius Institute. Over 80 students start the study of Mandarin Chinese every year, of which roughly 20 continue into the second year. These students would be the ideal core constituency for an interdisciplinary Chinese minor or major. A well-structured interdisciplinary Chinese studies program will afford UCO students a clear academic destination for their China-related studies and ambitions.