Whittier College Partners with Chinese Institutions to Promote Language and Culture

April 27, 2012

This summer Whittier College will host a series of summer programs that promote Chinese language and culture for domestic students, and explores American education and culture for students from China. These programs include the Chinese Language and Culture Summer Youth Academy in partnership with the prestigious Huaqiao University in Xiamen, China, and a series of American arts and culture immersion courses for secondary school students from Wuhan, China. This collective programming is an extension of the College's ongoing efforts to strengthen ties with China. Moreover, in 2012 Whittier College is commemorating the 40th anniversary of President Richard M. Nixon's (class of 1934) historic trip to China that paved the way for the normalization of relations between the United States and the Chinese government.

Whittier College is hosting a press conference on Tuesday, May 1 at 11:00 a.m. in Mendenhall Board Room, 13406 Philadelphia Street, Whittier, CA 90608, to launch our summer programs to the community. For more information please contact Catherine Weir, director of program development, at (562) 907-5047 or cweir@whittier.edu.

Whittier College's Chinese Language and Culture Summer Youth Academy involves three five-day summer sessions (July 30 - August 3; August 6-10; August 13-17) held concurrently on the Whittier and Costa Mesa campuses and each taught by six faculty members from Huaqiao University. The Chinese Academy is for youth in grades 5th through 10th (ages 11-16) who are interested in learning Chinese language, practicing Chinese art and handicrafts, and experiencing Chinese culture and tradition. Instruction will include Chinese Language, Martial Arts, Calligraphy and Traditional Painting, and Paper Cutting. In addition, during the regular academic year, faculty from Huaqiao University will provide language and culture instruction to Whittier College undergraduates and elementary students at Broadoaks School.

Whittier will host about 100 students, ages 11-16, from Wuhan, China for a series of American arts and culture immersion courses. Students will have an opportunity study in an American classroom and participate in music and dance lessons. The younger group (11-12), will participate in a total immersion experience in language arts, visual arts, and theatre with a final performance at the end of their camp. The older students (14-16) will be provided with courses and workshops on American history and culture, language arts, hip-hop, leadership, and college admission, among other topics.

The College's partnerships with Huaqiao University and Wuhan Secondary School are the newest in a succession of agreements that Whittier has signed with international institutions with the goal of creating opportunities for scholarly and cultural exchange between students and faculty. Others include Taiwan's Lunghwa University of Science and Technology and Hong Kong's Lingnan University.

These agreements are part of the College's strategic plan to broaden its Asian studies and language programs, as well as its study abroad and January Interim Session fieldwork opportunities.

Here are some additional highlights: 
• In July 2012, Whittier is offering a Summer Academic Success Institute (SASI) for matriculating international students, with a focus on students from China. The goal of the program is to prepare students for an American college classroom experience, and address cultural and procedural challenges that international students typically face when starting college in the United States. There will be a strong emphasis on the quality of writing required, and the study skills needed to succeed at Whittier College. As a part of the SASI program, students will be participating in Whittier's multidisciplinary Los Angeles Integrated Arts course (August 1-28) that will expose students to the diverse cultural arts scenes of Los Angeles.

• Whittier Law School's ABA accredited Summer Abroad in Nanjing, China (July 8-28) offers courses in Chinese Law, China and International Law, International Adoption Law, and International Children's Rights Law. Summer Abroad includes guided tours of legal and culture institution, and three days in Beijing.

• During the 2012-2013 Academic Year, Whittier College will host its third Fulbright Program Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA). The FLTA Program aims to strengthen foreign language instruction at U.S. educational institutions by establishing a native speaker presence in the classroom, while providing an opportunity for young, international teachers to refine their teaching skills, increase their English language proficiency, and extend their knowledge of the cultures and customs of the United States. This coming year, XIE Juan, a graduate of Southwestern University of Finance & Economics, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, will be the Fulbright FLTA at Whittier College.

• Whittier professors have led several January Interim Sessions on 10-day sojourns through China. In January 2012, 17 Whittier College students traveled to Shanghai, Suzhou, and Beijing to investigate " Business in China" with Professor of Business Administration Jeff Decker and international business leader and alumnus Edwin Keh '79, who is a lecturer at the Wharton School of Business.

• Following growing student interest, in 2010 Whittier College launched a major in Chinese language.

• Special lectures have been given by experts in Asia and U.S.-China relations including Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and renowned Asia expert Richard Halloran, who spoke about the approaching rise of China's political and economic might and Richard Solomon, president of the United States Institute of Peace who's lecture was entitled, Enabling the Dragon: President Nixon and the Week That Changed the World.

• In spring 2011, chemistry professor Devin Iimoto was selected the inaugural Whittier faculty member to teach at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. While there, Iimoto taught his signature course on AIDS that emphasizes both the biological basis of the disease with its societal impact around the world.

• Just released in December, China: Its Environment and History (World Social Change), is Whittier history professor Robert Marks' latest celebrated text—one which examines the evolution of China's relationship with nature from ancient times to the present day. Critics have since called it "comprehensive," "utterly indispensable," and "a joy to read." 

Founded by Quakers in 1887, Whittier College is an independent, four-year college offering a traditional liberal arts program integrated with both professional and pre-professional courses of study. With an emphasis on diversity, community, and curricular innovation, the College's primary mission is to endow students with the education, skills, and values appropriate for global leadership and service.

Whittier Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, is located on a separate campus in Orange County.