Once every three years a group of students ventures out into the world for nine months of rigorous academic and personal inquiry. Visiting eight Asian nations, the group engages in a vast multicultural experience that forces them to confront novel systems of culture, economics, politics, religion, and philosophy…
The Asian Studies Program provides courses on Asian cultures, civilizations, and societies, in a broad range that includes East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, as electives for all students. The underlying assumption of all aspects of the Asian Studies Program is that the vast region labeled "Asia" is complex and diverse and that varied Asian peoples and institutions have greatly influenced, and continue to influence, human experience throughout the world. Faculty members with Asian language and area expertise are members of many different departments, and the Asian Studies Program brings together courses from multiple departments and programs for interdisciplinary engagement. In the subsidiary program of Asian Languages and Cultures (see below), students may major or minor in Japanese, Chinese, or major in East Asian Languages. The program also offers the university's unique Pacific Rim/Asia Study-Travel Program (see below).
The Asian Studies Program also offers a curricular concentration on Asia as a designation on the transcript upon graduation for students in any major who choose this concentration. The designation Interdisciplinary Emphasis in Asian Studies reflects the program's multidisciplinary content and interdisciplinary effect. The designation in Asian Studies is not a major or a minor but functions as an enhancement of, or a complement to, any major of a student's choice. (For example, a student majoring in economics or biology could pursue an interest in Asia by fulfilling the requirements and adding the designation.) Fundamental to the program is its invitation to a student who chooses the designation to cultivate her or his intellectual autonomy by exercising flexible choice of courses and participating in co-curricular events. Students in the designation who demonstrate academic excellence and complete a one-semester senior thesis will achieve the added designation Robert Trimble Distinguished Asia Scholar.
Students who graduate with the Interdisciplinary Emphasis in Asian Studies will be able to:
Demonstrate familiarity with the cultural traditions and contemporary societies of Asia, and understand those cultures and societies within the Asian and world contexts;
Analyze, understand, and discuss coherently difficult texts about those Asian cultures and societies;
Formulate abstract ideas and write logically and clearly in English about those Asian cultures;
Demonstrate at least an elementary understanding of at least one Asian language;
Make informed judgments about a world of many cultures and about their own society as viewed by others.
Asian Languages and Cultures Program
The Asian Languages & Cultures Program (ALC) offers majors in Chinese Language and Culture, Japanese Language and Culture, Japanese Language and Literature, and East Asian Languages, as well as minors in Chinese and Japanese. The goals of the language curriculum are based on the proficiency guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Each major is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in the disciplines of language and culture through intensive language training and broad exposure to the humanistic traditions of China and Japan. The curriculum systematically prepares students through highly structured and interactive classroom instruction and a wide variety of learning opportunities outside of the classroom.
Students who graduate from the Asian Language & Cultures Program will be able to:
Communicate effectively with native speakers of Chinese and/or Japanese in a variety of situations using culturally appropriate language.
Read and understand the gist of authentic materials, such as news summaries and short essays, with the aid of dictionaries and other resources.
Write expository and expressive essays in the target language on a variety of topics.
Implement tools to become independent, self-sufficient learners of the target language beyond the classroom.
Acquire fundamental knowledge of the literary and cultural traditions of China and/or Japan, and understand those traditions within the East Asian and world contexts.
Analyze and discuss coherently Chinese and/or Japanese literary and cultural works.
Write logically and clearly in English about Chinese and/or Japanese literary and cultural traditions.
Apply critical thinking, research and learning skills to be successful in their academic, professional and personal lives after graduation.
The Pacific Rim/Asia Study-Travel Program (PacRim) is scheduled every three years (next in Asia 2014-2015), and offers a full academic year of courses taught in different locations in Asia. Approximately 25 students participate in the program through a process of formal application; selection is by the university's Study Abroad Selection Committee. Participants prepare in advance of the scheduled study-travel year by passing specified prerequisite courses in the Asian Studies Program and a non-credit course taught by the PacRim Directors.
In addition to Asian Languages and Cultures and PacRim, the Asian Studies Program offers special opportunities for all students, including Charles Garnet Trimble Scholarships for selected entering students and Trimble scholarship grants for study abroad in Asia. Furthermore, the program provides a context for the Miki Fellowship for a postgraduate year in Japan and offers a postgraduate English-instructorship at Hwa Nan Women's College in Fuzhou, China. For students seeking the designation in Asian Studies, Trimble Scholarships for continuing upper division students are available. For students seeking the distinguished designation, Trimble summer research grants prior to the senior thesis are also available.