Asian Languages and Literature to Host Chinese Flagship Program

Submitted by Elizabeth F Self on

The Asian Languages and Literature Department at the University of Washington has been awarded a 2020-2024 Flagship Grant (about $1.3 million spread over four years) for Chinese language. The UW Chinese Flagship Program is directed by Dr. Chan Lü and co-directed by Dr. Zev Handel, and will work closely with a variety of offices and programs on campus, including Office of Global Affairs, East Asia Center, Center for Global Studies, China Studies, Taiwan Studies, Student Life (especially CIRCLE), and other student services and organizations.

The Flagship Grant was awarded by The Language Flagship, a national organization based in Washington, D.C. and founded in 2002. The Language Flagship is a major initiative of the National Security Education Program (NSEP), which is part of the Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO). It offers a new way for students to reach professional levels of proficiency in languages that are less commonly taught in the U.S. Chinese is one of the seven languages chosen for this program. In this program, students will be able to combine high levels of proficiency in Chinese with a major in any field so that after they graduate they will be able to perform their job duties in English and in Chinese without linguistic or cultural barriers. Today, there are thirteen programs in Chinese around the nation.

The grant will be used to support students in any major to develop professional proficiency in Chinese. Aside from taking courses offered through the program on campus, students will receive scholarships to participate in summer intensive programs and a capstone year abroad. By working closely with faculty members in the department as well as in China Studies and Taiwan Studies, the program will provide opportunities for students to take classes on topics ranging from Chinese linguistics and literature to Chinese history and politics entirely in Chinese. Tutors will also be hired to help students hone their skills in the language, and practice materials related to students' own majors. The Flagship Program will also take serious steps in students’ language proficiency assessment, making sure that each Flagship student will meet the proficiency target before they participate in the Capstone year abroad.