Mercer and East-West Center’s Asian Studies Development Program
Partner to Create Asian Studies Minor at Mercer

December 7, 2010

Media Contact: Mark Vanderhoek, (478) 301-4037 or vanderhoek_m@mercer.edu

MACON — Mercer University is part of a five-school consortium from around the country that will add an Asian Studies minor through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. The East-West Center, in collaboration with the five schools, will help them to add minors over three years and is part of the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language grant program.

As part of the consortium, Mercer will add two years of Chinese instruction to its College of Liberal Arts foreign language curriculum, commit faculty to participate in training and develop a minor in Asian Studies. The consortium focuses specifically on Chinese language and culture, but Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts has had a multi-year Asia initiative under way for four years to help infuse Asian Studies into its curriculum. This grant will enable the initiative to a result in a fully developed minor in Asian Studies in three years, said Dr. Leona Kanter, associate professor of sociology and campus coordinator for the grant.

“We’ve been working hard to internationalize our curriculum through a variety of faculty development workshops, activities, and events. This grant will help us to add a full academic piece to the effort,” Dr. Kanter said. “It is important that we study Asia given the globalization of our economy.  Our future as a vibrant economy and world power necessitates that we understand and interact with the powerful emerging economies of India and China.”

In addition to Mercer, institutions in the consortium include the University of North Carolina-Asheville, University of Texas-El Paso, Portland Community College in Oregon and Johnson County Community College in Kansas.

Over the next three years, Mercer will send 12 faculty members to seminars and workshops funded by the Department of Education grant. The schedule includes three faculty development workshops at the East-West Center and workshops at each of the five colleges.  Chinese language teaching faculty, project directors from the respective colleges, and the directors of the East-West Center’s Asian Studies Development Program will meet for the first workshop on Mercer’s Atlanta campus from Feb. 25-27.

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,200 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.
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