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George Vlahakis
University Communications

Janet Donley
Center for Chinese Language Pedagogy

Last modified: Wednesday, September 17, 2008

IU Chinese language center receives $1 million federal grant

Sept. 17, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind -- The Indiana University Center for Chinese Language Pedagogy (CCLP) has received a $1 million grant over three years from The Language Flagship, an initiative of the National Security Education Program (NSEP) within the U.S. Department of Defense.

The grant, made through the Flagship's Diffusion of Innovation program, recognizes IU as a national leader in Chinese language instruction, curricular innovation and teacher training. Mandarin Chinese is becoming one of the fastest growing languages for students in secondary schools and colleges nationwide. For example, at IU there has been a 33 percent increase in Chinese language enrollment over the last three years.

The CCLP is supported by IU's College of Arts and Sciences, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and the East Asian Studies Center and led by Jennifer Liu, associate professor of East Asian languages and cultures.

"I am very excited that Indiana University has received this funding to enhance and advance the teaching of Chinese," said Patrick O'Meara, IU vice president for international affairs. "Given China's significant influence on the U.S. and Hoosier economies, we urgently need to equip our students at both the collegiate and pre-collegiate levels with the language skills necessary to compete in a global economy. This funding is a recognition of IU's prominence in Chinese language pedagogy."

Liu said the project, "Developing Global Professionals with Superior Mandarin Proficiency: Creating a Flagship Model at Indiana University," will emphasize simultaneous and integrated development of all aspects of language teaching and learning.

Typically, due to the evolution of curriculum and limited resources, changes in Chinese language pedagogy occur incrementally. Liu said project participating faculty will assess student needs, research strategies and tools, develop a curriculum (including materials and experiences) based on the best current research understandings, train teachers to manage curricular innovation, regularly assess effectiveness at all levels of learning and further enhance the articulation of college and pre-college Chinese programs.

Liu said the project will draw on the best resources at IU, including outstanding faculty in language pedagogy, China and East Asian studies; an emphasis on interdisciplinary study; top professional schools and a deep-rooted program in international studies that includes overseas study.

"We expect to enrich our upper-level language curriculum, encourage the collaboration among language and culture study faculty and create overseas and internship opportunities for undergraduate students," she said. "We also will provide enhanced teaching opportunities for graduate students, exert an impact on pre-college programs and instruction in Indiana, and further enhance the reputation of the Language Flagship and IU as national leaders and innovators in Chinese language education."

This grant represents the first major project of the center, whose mission is to enhance and promote the teaching, learning, and research of Chinese language at all levels and to provide leadership, scholarship, and service in Chinese language education to all sectors of society. IU becomes one of only seven universities nationally in the Chinese Flagship program.

"The ultimate test of any educational program is the proficiency and success of its students," Liu added. " The greatest benefit we anticipate for students during the Flagship program is their superior language and leadership skills in addressing international issues facing today's global realities."

The CCLP will receive $500,000 in the first year, followed by $250,000 in each of the last two years of the grant.