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Campus news: Confucius Institute becomes HSK testing center; Keeling lectures at Denver

Here is a listing of recent news from WKU programs:

Confucius Institute: Official HSK testing center opens 

Three special moments for the Chinese language programs at WKU occurred on April 20.

First, the Confucius Institute at WKU became an official testing center to administer HSK/HSKK tests, located in the Chinese Learning Center’s Computer lab at Helm Library. The HSK, which is the acronym for the Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì, translated as Chinese Proficiency Test, is China’s national standardized test designed and developed by the HSK Center of Beijing Language and Culture University to assess the Chinese language proficiency of non-native speakers (including foreigners, overseas Chinese and students from Chinese national minorities).

The Confucius Institute at WKU has become an official testing center to administer HSK/HSKK tests.

The Confucius Institute at WKU has become an official testing center to administer HSK/HSKK tests.

Second, 14 WKU students from the Chinese Flagship program and the Department of Modern Languages Chinese major/minor students were the first cohort to take either the HSKK (oral test) or the HSK test. The students were tested on their listening, reading and writing. “The students who attended the test found it both challenging and rewarding,” said Dr. Peng Ke, assistant professor of Chinese. “It is challenging in the sense that they felt they have more to learn; on the other hand, to be able to complete the HSK or HSKK tests after learning Chinese for one or two years, gives the students a sense of accomplishment.”

Third, HSK testing is not only important to the programs that are developing and growing, specifically as it relates to China, but to the students. With the increasing enrollment within departments such as the Chinese Flagship Program, the Chinese major/minor within the Department of Modern Language, and the growth of the Confucius Institute at WKU, the tests provide many opportunities for students. For students wishing to study in China and apply for nationally competitive scholarships, the tests are mandatory.

While the Confucius Institute at WKU spearheaded the initiative, it was the coordination of the CI at WKU’s Hanban Teacher Yang Xiaoye (Lydia) and the support of Dr. Peng Ke and Dr. Jianjun He, who developed and successfully implemented the HSK and HSKK assessment process.

The CI at WKU and Hanban, China’s Ministry of Education, work to promote understanding of the Chinese language and culture through children’s programming, training courses, cultural workshops and community events. Together, these organizations have Introduced fully articulated K-16 instruction in Modern Standard Chinese into local school systems, serve as a regional center for Chinese teacher training and Chinese curriculum development, and build connections and partnerships between Kentucky and China.

Contact: Betty Yu, (270) 745-2836; or Terrill Martin (270) 745-2530.

Geography and Geology: Department head lectures as Marsico Scholar

Dr. David Keeling

Dr. David Keeling

Dr. David Keeling, Geography and Geology Department Head and University Distinguished Professor, gave several lectures at the University of Denver last week as the 2013 Marsico Visiting Scholar.

Visiting scholars engage both students and faculty in a variety of settings, such as classes, workshops, research projects, seminars, roundtables, performances, etc., all of which are designed to contribute to the intellectual vitality of the University of Denver. Dr. Keeling lectured to an introductory human geography class on transportation and cultural identity in South America, followed by a roundtable discussion with geography graduate students about conducting research in Latin America.

He then presented “Life and Death in Medellín, Colombia: Geopolitics, Geonarcotics, and Cablecars in Comuna 13” in the Department of Geography and the Environment’s Spring Colloquium series. In the evening, he met with a group of undergraduates who had study abroad and research interests in Latin America. Dr. Keeling’s final presentation was in a graduate urban geography seminar, where he contributed to a roundtable discussion on doing fieldwork in Latin America.

“Scholarly exchanges like the Marsico Visiting Scholar program are wonderful experiences because they facilitate an exchange of ideas that derive from very different cultural perspectives,” said Dr. Keeling. “As a private institution, the University of Denver offers an educational experience that is quite different from one found at a public university. The visit to Denver to discuss Latin American research with a broad spectrum of students, from undergraduates to doctoral candidates, proved enlightening and stimulating in a number of ways.”

Contact: David Keeling, (270) 745-4555.

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