National Taiwan University (NTU) President Chung-Ming Kuan, Ph.D., and Executive Vice President Chiapei Chou, Ph.D., visited Indiana University on June 3 to discuss the institutions’ recently expanded partnership, and their new focus on Chinese language education. In Fall 2021, a $70,000 grant from the Taiwanese Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education allowed NTU and IU to strengthen Chinese language education within the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. The grant is the first of a three-year award totaling over $210,000 from the Ministries, under the Taiwan Huayu Bilingual Exchanges of Selected Talent (BEST) Program.
While at IU, the NTU delegation visited President Whitten, Hannah Buxbaum, Vice President for International Affairs, and leadership across the University to discuss the grant and other opportunities for partnership.
The grant and focus on language education broadens IU and NTU’s long-standing relationship. Funding will support increased Chinese language instruction, resources, programming and scholarships for IU students, plus professional development for IU faculty and staff.
The grant-supported scholarships allow students to study at the NTU Chinese intensive language programs in Taipei, Taiwan.
“The partnership provides unusually attractive opportunities to study Chinese in Taiwan with generous scholarships,” said Ethan Michelson, Chair of the IU Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. “Both this overseas study program and the visiting lecturer from NTU support regular Chinese language students who do not have access to the Chinese Flagship Program opportunities and resources.”
To enrich IU’s Chinese language instruction, NTU has provided two instructors and a program manager on an administrative staff exchange. In fall 2021, Visiting Lecturer, Zi Jun Shen, joined IU to teach additional sections of Chinese language courses, including a course on Chinese culture, and fourth-year Chinese. Teaching Assistant, Yi-Chun Kuo, tutors Chinese Flagship program students and assisted with Chinese Flagship co-curricular activities. Victoria Cheng, program manager, is working with IU faculty and the Office of International Partnerships within the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs to develop new channels for research and collaboration between the two universities.
In addition, the grant will help support many academic and cultural activities, including an annual Taiwan Day at IU that will celebrate Taiwanese culture and history. In April 2022, the East Asian Languages and Cultures department held the inaugural event, with additional support from the NTU Huayu BEST Fund. The event featured Mr. Martin Tzou, board member of the Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy Association, who gave a talk titled “Becoming a Gay Parent in Taiwan,” and also included a community outreach event with a documentary screening and discussion of “Taiwan Equals Love.” In the 2022-23 academic year, Taiwan Day will grow to include a conference.
This new grant strengthens IU’s more than 30-year relationship with NTU. A partnership between the IU Maurer School of Law and the NTU School of Law began the Universities’ collaboration, which has since extended to other units. Among various collaborations, the Universities currently have an agreement that allows NTU College of Law students to earn law degrees from both institutions concurrently.
Nearly 200 students from Taiwan attend IU, and IU students, mostly from the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and the Chinese Flagship Program, study abroad in Taiwan each year.