After successfully completing five programs last summer, the Confucius Institute at WKU will support seven Chinese language and cultural summer programs in 2015. The CI at WKU is continuing to create programs that are focused on providing more learning opportunities for students.
This year’s first program took place April 2-12 as 32 individuals (22 junior high/high school students, seven parents and three chaperones) participated in the “2015 Spring Chinese Intensive Language Program.” In 2014, the CI at WKU opened eight Confucius Classrooms in new school districts. Two of those classrooms were with St. Francis High School in downtown Louisville and St. Francis elementary and middle school in Goshen. The CI at WKU’s focus on Chinese proficiency is aimed at ensuring more than 3,000 students take the YCT/HSK/HSKK/BCT testing throughout the state each year. Thus, the CI at WKU collaborated with St. Francis to create a “Spring Intensive Language Program,” in which the participants (parents included) took the YCT (Youth Chinese Test – offered to foreigners to gauge Chinese proficiency) “Pre-Trip” test to get a baseline. Then, the students traveled to China for a five-day intensive language program. Upon the completion of the five-day program, the students were tested again, in which the student pass rate more than doubled. In fact, students doubled the rate at one advanced level higher.
The second program, a partnership with the Gatton Academy, began in December 2014 when WKU President Gary Ransdell visited Tsinghua High School. The summer program, scheduled for May 17-28, is a “Research Intensive Program” centered on China’s High-Speed Rail System. The trip will consist of 16 Gatton students, Dr. Lynette Breedlove and Derick Strode, and potentially set up a program with Tsinghua High School, which is one of China’s premier high schools, as the Gatton Academy is in the U.S. The trip is fully funded by Hanban/Confucius Institute, and will potentially yield results that would ensure this is an annual opportunity for the Gatton students.
Last year, the CI at WKU led a group of school superintendents, principals and teachers on a program titled “Understanding China – Classroom Leadership Strategies.” Based on the positive results from last year’s trip, the CI at WKU has been approved for the second annual “Understanding China – Business & Medical Leadership.” A total of 20 individuals, consisting of local business leaders/professionals, WKU professors, superintendents, medical professionals and banking professionals, will travel to Beijing and Shanghai June 4-15.
In 2013, the CI at WKU partnered with the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences and Kentucky’s Education Professional Standards Board to create an alternate route to obtaining certification for Chinese Hanban teachers. Since then, the CI at WKU has sent two professors from the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences to China to train incoming teachers on the Kentucky Teaching Standards. This year, the CI at WKU will send Dr. Lynn Hines and Dr. Martha Day to China from May 23-31. To date, the College of Education & Behavioral Sciences has assisted 38 of the CI’s teachers in obtaining Kentucky’s five-year, Rank 1 certification.
Dr. Sam Evans, dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, has taken the lead in obtaining additional avenues for obtaining certification for Chinese teachers by signing agreements with Beijing Language and Culture University and Minzu University to create a 1+2 program. In the fall of 2014, the first cohort of six teachers arrived on the WKU campus. In the fall of 2016, the program is anticipating 13 students coming to WKU. Dr. Evans visits China at least once per year to expand the 1+2 program. He will sign an agreement with Beijing Normal University and speak to more than 30 candidates at a one-day seminar on May 25.
In April 2013, the CI at WKU became an official testing center for the YCT/HSK/HSKK/BCT tests. In 2014, the official Chinese major/minor was officially approved, and the program has grown in such a short period of time. More than 17 students have received HSK scholarships to study in China for either one-full semester or one-year depending on results. This year, the CI at WKU is the first program selected to receive four-week scholarships. Based on the results from the recent HSK testing session, 16 Chinese Major/Minor students (Department of Modern Languages) have been selected to receive these scholarships to further their Chinese language proficiency. The camp will take place from May 20 to June 17.
This is the fifth year that the CI at WKU will lead high school students to China. A total of 50 students, including 20 in 2014, have toured China as part of the “High School China Bridge Program.” This year, the CI at WKU will lead 19 students to China on July 15. The group of 20 individuals (19 students and one chaperone) is a diverse group from Dallas, Texas (eight); Housing Authority of Bowling Green (six); and Gatton Academy (five). The group will visit Beijing and Guanxi.
In conclusion, the CI at WKU’s summer programs seeks to be more language, culture and research focused. The CI at WKU is a conduit of all that is China. These partnerships are far reaching that will not only create or advance research opportunities for faculty/staff, but offer research and internship opportunities for WKU students. Anyone interested in furthering research, creating study abroad programs or seeking internship opportunities as it relates to China should contact Terrill Martin (270) 745-2530.
Contact: Terrill Martin, (270) 745-2530