U.Va.'s East Asia Center Receives Federal Grants, National Resource Center Status

August 05, 2010

August 5, 2010 — The University of Virginia's East Asia Center has received two grants from the U.S. Department of Education, totaling almost $2 million over four years, through Title VI funding. An annual award of $233,421 designates the center a comprehensive undergraduate National Resource Center, and an additional $244,500 will provide foreign language and Asian studies fellowships.

Meredith Jung-En Woo, dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, said the grants are a "great recognition of the University, of our faculty, and of our deep expertise in this area. I am pleased by how the Title VI funding will enable us to build still more strength during the years to come."

The National Resource Center designation recognizes the East Asia Center as a national resource for teaching modern Asian languages, and the annual funding will support and strengthen the center's Asian-related, interdisciplinary and comprehensive programs of instruction, research and undergraduate training on issues related to East Asia.

The funds will support center personnel, K-12 and other outreach programs, tutors for advanced students, lecture series, travel grants and library reference materials; the University currently holds more than 116,000 monographs and books and about 100 current periodicals, in addition to hosting numerous electronic resources on East Asia.

These programs and resources support teaching and research in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Tibetan languages and cultures and Asia-related courses in anthropology, art and architectural history, comparative politics, economics, international relations, religious studies and gender studies.

More than 50 East Asia Center-affiliated faculty members offer multi-disciplinary exposure to students. The center's links to international institutions throughout East Asia provide opportunities for study, research and travel abroad.

"Our selection as a National Resource Center will provide important additional resources in the form of scholarships for our students – both undergraduates and graduates – and the strengthening of our teaching and research on East Asia," said East Asia Center director John R. Shepherd. "The center award will provide funds for new course development, conferences and speakers, library acquisitions and programming that serves both the University community and schools in the surrounding areas through our outreach program."
The Foreign Language and Asian Studies Fellowship grant will enable the center to offer tuition and stipend support for U.Va. undergraduate and graduate students during the academic year and summer fellowships. The academic year fellowship support for graduate students is $33,000 and $15,000 for undergraduates. Summer fellowship support for graduate and undergraduate students is $7,500.

Graduate student fellowship recipients for the 2010-11 academic year are: Manuel Lopez, a doctoral candidate in religious studies, to support his studies in Chinese; Elizabeth Miller, a master's candidate in Tibetan and East Asia Studies; Marc Opper, a doctoral candidate in political science, for his studies in Chinese; and Daniel Nagashima, a doctoral candidate in international relations and comparative politics, for his studies in Japanese.

Undergraduate fellowship recipients are: Lara Crouch, history major and foreign affairs minor, to study Chinese; Theodore Karch, who is double-majoring in foreign affairs and economics, to study Chinese; Nevin Meissner, Japanese language and literature major; Alyssa Paredes, East Asian Studies distinguished major, to study Japanese; and Elisabeth Sparkman, who is double-majoring in Chinese and cognitive science.

"The two grant awards in tandem substantially increase the East Asia Center's effectiveness in promoting the study of China, Japan and Korea – on Grounds as well as regionally," said Richard J. Cohen, managing director of the University's Asia Institute and associate director of the East Asia Center.

"We look forward to expanding our connections within the University, across the schools. Support from the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, the vice provost for international affairs and the contributions of faculty specializing on East Asia created the conditions through which the East Asia Center became competitive for these grants."

The East Asia Center was founded in 1975 as an interdisciplinary organization that brings together faculty and students with interest in East and Southeast Asia. The center does not have its own faculty or course curriculum; faculty and Asia-related courses are housed in the various departments and disciplines across Grounds.

The East Asia Center, along with the Center for South Asian Studies and the Tibet Center, are components of the Asia Institute.

— By Jane Ford