Funding from U.S. Department of Education helps center realize its mission in ‘fundamental and transformative ways,’ interim director says
The Center for Asian Studies has won $2.2 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education to support its role as a National Resource Center in Asian Studies and to provide Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships for students at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Geography professor Timothy Oakes, interim faculty director of the center, noted that the award supports one of the center’s primary missions: to make Asia as accessible as possible to the whole CU Boulder community.
“This funding helps us realize that mission in fundamental and transformative ways,” Oakes said.
FLAS fellowships fund the study of Asian languages and area studies both on the Boulder campus during the academic year and in Asia during the summer. The National Resource Center funding will also support several existing and future initiatives that seek to make Asian area studies more available to students and faculty from all corners of the university, as well as across the broader Front Range region, he said.
Those initiatives include expanding the existing Asia Internship Program and the Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum program. The funding will also support the following:
- Instruction of Arabic culture and civilization in the Asian Languages and Civilizations Department;
- Tibetan language learning in the Anderson Language Technology Center;
- Collaboration with the College of Engineering to develop an innovative “Climate and Society in Asia” curriculum;
- Curricular partnerships with Metropolitan State University of Denver and with CU Denver’s Institute for International Business;
- Professional development seminars and programs for K-12 educators; and
- Curricular development grants for faculty to expand Asia-related teaching throughout the university.
Oakes noted that winning National Resource Center support is significant “and would not have been possible without the efforts and time of numerous individuals,” specifically highlighting the contributions of the center’s Faculty Director Rachel Rinaldo (now on sabbatical in Indonesia) and Executive Director Danielle Rocheleau Salaz, among many others.
“With this funding, the Center for Asian Studies will remain a vibrant, active and impactful center for interdisciplinary area studies on the CU Boulder campus,” Oakes said, adding that the center’s efforts are also aimed at helping to carve out a “larger space on campus where other area studies centers can grow and thrive.”
Those include the Latin American and Latinx Studies Center, the Mediterranean Studies Group, the Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies, and the recently established Center for African and African American Studies.
He added: “These days, we seem to be experiencing a time in the United States where suspicion of global connections, rising nativist populism and fear of challenges to an older world order are on the rise. We believe that this is a crucial time in which international area studies education is more important than ever.”