Four UCA faculty members were invited to attend the International Philosophy Conference with the theme of “Chinese Culture Cognitive Dimension” held by the Department of Philosophy at East China Normal University (ECNU) on June 22 and June 23. During the two-day conference, the UCA delegation, which included Dr. Jim Shelton, Dr. Clayton Crockett and Dr. Nicolas Brasovan from Department of Philosophy and Religion and Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang, Director of Confucius Institute, gave paper presentations on the theme from different perspectives. Their unique insights and comparative perspectives on Chinese and Western philosophy aroused a heated discussion among the colleagues from both China and America.
Apart from the presentations at the international conference, Dr. Jim Shelton and Dr. Clayton Crockett were invited to give lectures to ECNU faculty and students during their visit in Shanghai.
With UCACI as a bridge, the academic exchanges between UCA and ECNU are greatly strengthened. As Dr. Zhenhua Yu, Chair of the Department of Philosophy at ECNU puts it: The international conference provides a very good opportunity for ECNU scholars to meet with UCA scholars and to exchange ideas on the common issues. It is just a beginning, and we hope there will be more exchanges in the field of liberal arts.
On June 9, 2013, Dr. Maurice Lee, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts visited East China Normal University (ECNU). As the Chair of the World Short Story Conference, his main purpose is to seek the collaboration with ECNU to host the 14th International Conference on the Short Story in Shanghai in 2016. During his visit in Shanghai, Dean Lee met with Dr. Youqun Ren, Vice President of ECNU and Deans of the School of Liberal Arts, the School of Foreign Languages, the School of Fine Arts, Directors of International Exchange Affairs. At the meeting, Vice President Dr. Youqun Ren expressed ECNU’s strong support in collaboration with UCA to host the 14th International Conference on the Short Story in Shanghai. He also introduced to Dean Lee the prominent work of the scholars and writers at ECNU on literary criticism and creative writing
Accompanied by Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang and Ms. Lucy Xiaohong Lu, directors of UCACI, Dean Lee also visited and examined the conference venues and hotels for the 14th International Conference on the Short Story. On his visit, he was also invited by the School of Foreign Languages to give a lecture to students and faculty at ECNU on African-American literature.
On June 7, 2013, a group of Arkansas educators led by Ms. Lucy Xiaohong Lu, Deputy Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas (UCACI) arrived in Shanghai to begin their 10 day Chinese Bridge —China Tour program. This program is sponsored by Confucius Institute Headquarters, and co-organized by UCACI and East China Normal University (ECNU),UCA’s partner University in Shanghai.
During their 10-day program, the Arkansas Educator Group participates in a variety of cultural activities, including visiting two schools in Nanjing, observing classes, talking with the Director of Education Bureau and principals in Nanjing to get better knowledge of Chinese education and to explore the possibilities of exchange program between American high schools and Chinese high schools. They watch live acrobats, take Pujiang River Cruise, visit Shanghai Museum, Silk Museum, Chinese traditional gardens, etc. They also have some hands on activities like practicing Chinese calligraphy and making dumplings.
This China Tour program has enriched their overseas experience, expanded their global horizon, and deepened their understanding of Chinese culture and its people. As Dr. Karen Morton, Director of Data Analysis from Bentonville School District puts it: “This program provides an extraordinary opportunity to see China. I cannot imagine a more educational and meaningful time (than this).” Mr. Donald Ward, former Mayor of Beebe, and Chair of Social Studies at Beebe High School expresses the similar idea in his feedback. He says that this China Tour program has helped him to understand both past and present China better, and he now has more vivid details to share with his students about Chinese culture and its people. He is greatly amazed by what he actually sees and hears in China.
May 25, 2013, 1:00pm, nine students from Hot Spring High School, Bentonville High School, Arkansas School for Math, Science, and the Arts, and Conway High School, led by the chaperone Ms. Kimberly Rowan from Bentonville High participated in the Pre-Departure Orientation of the Chinese Bridge – China Tour Summer Camp for American High School. This orientation was organized by the Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas (UCACI). Dr. Gou-ou Zhuang, Director of UCACI, and Mrs. Lucy Xiaohong Lu, Deputy Director of UCACI gave summer campers a brief introduction of current Chinese situation, summer camp program, safety issue, travel tips, etc. Dr. Zhuang and Mrs. Lu answered various questions from students and their parents.
This summer camp is sponsored by Chinese Confucius Institute Headquarters, starting from July 10 to July 25. During the ten-day camp, students will visit the places of interests in Beijing and Tianjin, experience Chinese culture, learn Chinese language, and also have the opportunities to stay with the local Chinese families and have in-depth communication with Chinese peers.
Nanchang University Performance Group consists of highly talented singers and performers, including the National first level Erhu player, the National first level Chinese flute player, the first prize winner in the Chinese Drama Award, the first prize winner in the Golden International Vocal Competition in the United States, and the national level choreographer. This Group has toured and performed extensively in recent years, including France, Mexico, Indonesia and America. Selected by Hanban, Nanchang University Performance Group is to give their performance tour in several universities in the United States, including the University of Central Arkansas, Miami Dade College, University of South Florida and Xavier University in Louisiana.
On the evening of April 17, 2013, Nanchang University Performance Group presented the audience a splendid and unique Chinese music, dance and drama performance featuring a local martial opera “Monkey King Hunting Treasure”, an episode adapted from one of the Chinese famous classic novels Journey to the West; Jiangxi opera Change Faces, and Chinese minority group dance. There was an interactive activity between the performers and the audience. This performance provides the local community a good opportunity to experience Chinese culture.
Savannah Barlow, and Alex Peebles, two students who study Chinese at UCA have won the Third Place and Honorable Mention respectively at the 2013 Chinese Bridge— Chinese Competition for College Students in the Southern States held in Houston on April 21st. The competition is sponsored by Confucius Institute Headquarters and organized by Chinese Consulate in General in Houston. This year, fourteen college students representing eleven Confucius Institutes and three regional Chinese programs in eight southern states participate in the competition. The first prize winner will go to China to contest in the semi-final Chinese Competition.UCA Confucius Institute collaborates with the Chinese instructors in the World Languages Department to screen and prepare UCA contestants for the 2013 Chinese Bridge— Chinese Competition.
Savannah Barlow, a UCA junior who is working on her Chinese minor, impresses the judges and the audience with her eloquent speech and accurate pronunciation. And her lively and graceful Tibetan dance in her talent show wins a loud applause from the audience. Alex Peebles, a UCA senior, gives a very witty speech on his experience in China which wins him most laughs from the attendees. His talent show with his nunchuks greatly amazes the judges and the audience.
The 12th Chinese Bridge - Chinese Proficiency Competition for Arkansas High School and College Students Successfully Held at Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas
April 6, 2013, the Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas (UCACI) held the Chinese Bridge — Chinese Proficiency Competition for high school and college students in Arkansas.
Six contestants selected from UCA and secondary schools in Arkansas participated in the contest. Savannah Barlow from the University of Central Arkansas won the first prize in the college group. Erica Nicole Peppers from the Hot Springs High School won the first prize in the high school group. They will take part in the Chinese Bridge – Chinese Competition for students in the American Southern States to be held by Chinese Consulate General in Houston on April 20. From there they will have the chance to be recommended to participate in the final competition in China in July 2013.
The competition began at 1:30pm. Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang, Director of the Confucius Institute, made an opening speech. He, together with Dr. Nicholas Brasovan from Department of Philosophy and Religions, Dr. Jia Zhu from Department of the World Languages, Literature and Cultures, and Mrs. Lucy Xiaohong Lu, Deputy Director of UCACI worked as judges. The competition was divided into three parts: Chinese speech, Chinese cultural knowledge and Chinese Culture talent show. All contestants gave outstanding performances in the Competition.
On April 1, 2013, Professor Chung-ying Cheng was invited and sponsored by Department of Philosophy/Religion and the Confucius Institute at UCA to present a lecture to the students and faculty of the University of Central Arkansas in the auditorium of College of Business. Professor Cheng is the senior member of Philosophy Department of the University of Hawaii and he is the a world renowned philosopher in Chinese philosophy as well as comparative philosophy.
Professor Cheng gaved his talk on Reality and Divinity in Chinese Philosophy. About 300 students and faculty members attended the lecture. Professor Cheng shared his views on humanity, Confucianism, and Chinese culture with the audience. This lecture opened up a dialogue between Chinese and western philosophies.
[Source] Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas [Time] 2013-02-28 13:47:17
On February 11, 2013, twenty Chinese Hanban teachers from UCA Confucius Institute received recognition from the representatives at the regular session of the 89th General Assembly of the Arkansas State Legislature.
At 1:00 pm, accompanied by their mentors, principals and superintendents, Chinese teachers were led to the Assembly of Legislature. The chair introduced the Chinese teachers and “Teach Chinese in Arkansas” program to representatives. All representatives stood up to give a big applause to the teachers for their contribution to the Chinese language education in Arkansas.
The teachers were also awarded “Arkansas Traveler” by Arkansas State Board of Education for their outstanding contribution to “Teach Chinese in Arkansas” program.
All of the twenty teachers come from Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas (UCACI). Among them seventeen teachers teach Chinese in 17 schools at 15 School districts and 1 distance teaching center. Three teachers work at the Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas.
Dr. Kimbrell, Commissioner of Arkansas Department of Education, awarded the teachers “Arkansas Traveler” certificates issued by Governor Mike Beebe and Secretary of State Mark Martin. At the award ceremony, Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang, Director of Confucius Institute reported to the board members about the development of UCACI and the Teach Chinese in Arkansas Program. He believes that “Teach Chinese in Arkansas” program will bring more opportunities for Arkansas education and economy.
After the award ceremony, the Chinese teachers, together with their mentors, principals and superintendents from different school districts had a tour of the State Capitol. Staff of the State Secretary office led all the participants to Governor’s office, State Senate and the House of Representatives.
After the tour, Governor Beebe met with all the Chinese teachers and commended them for their contribution to the “Teach Chinese in Arkansas” program.
“This award is not only a form of recognition of my work in the past, but also a great encouragement for my future work. I will do my best to teach Chinese and help my students to gain a better understanding of China and Chinese culture”, said one of the teachers.
Confucius Institute at UCA Successfully Hosted Chinese Spring Festival Gathering and Workshop for Chinese Hanban Teachers
On February 10th, 2013, 20 Chinese Hanban teachers and their mentors from 17 schools of 15 school districts gathered at Conway to celebrate the Chinese Spring Festival and to attend Chinese teachers’ workshop hosted by UCACI.
At the gathering, Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang, Director of UCACI extended his best wishes to all the participants for their healthy and happy New Year of Snake. He then outlined the five-year strategic plan of UCACI and the projects to be conducted in 2013. Dr. Zhuang expressed his thanks to all the Chinese teachers and their mentors for their commitments and efforts made for the Chinese program. He hoped that the Chinese teachers could constantly reflect their teaching experience to create a friendly and sustainable environment for Chinese teaching and learning so as to build up a strong Chinese program in their schools and school districts.
At the workshop, Chinese teachers and their mentors discussed the issues concerning course designing, teaching planning, cultural activities, classroom management and parent/student-teacher relations. They brought out their concerns and problems and shared their experience. All the participants found this kind of workshop was very helpful, as for the Chinese teachers who are in a totally different culture, the most critical issues are how to adapt themselves to the new school environment, how to manage classroom efficiently and how to deal with the parent/student-teacher relationship. The second year Chinese teachers’ experience and other foreign language teachers’ experience would be very beneficial to the new Chinese teachers.
On the evening of Spring Festival, all the Chinese teachers and their mentors were invited to the Chinese Spring Festival Gala hosted by UCACI and CSSA in the Reynolds Performance Hall at UCA. The Gala was spectacular, with Chinese folk dancing, Chinese traditional musical instrument performance, Chinese Gongfu, modern dancing, western opera and violin performance. What impressed the audience most was the skit by a group of American students from Chinese minor classes at UCA. The play, which was directed by UCACI Chinese teacher, depicted the funny stories these American students had experienced in learning Chinese, and it won a lot of applause from the audience.