Dr. John Rudley, President of Texas Southern University, is in Beijing China signing an agreement with the Chinese government to establish an international Confucius Institute at Texas Southern University. By establishing the only Confucius Institute in the greater Houston area, TSU will have the opportunity to develop academic and cultural programs related to Chinese language and cultures.
The Confucius Institute is a partnership between Texas Southern University and Beijing Jiaotong University, the premiere technology university in China. TSU’s Confucius Institute is one only of 226 centers worldwide and one of 42 in the United States authorized through Hanban, the Chinese Language and Cultural Institute.
“Texas Southern students will be able to access and engage in many unique opportunities and activities provided by the Confucius Institute, and students will be able to access the international experience opportunities of its partner institution in China,” President Rudley explained.
Already one of the most diverse universities in the nation, TSU is proactively expanding efforts in Asian studies in a number of areas. “We are seeing an increased Asian enrollment at the university, and more importantly, there is an increased interest in all of our students for more academic opportunities in international programs,” the president expressed.
According to Dr. Rudley, TSU has created new partnerships with Chinese universities, including Bejing Jiaotong University, and has been working to expand relationships across China. Rudley further stressed, “This partnership is just one component of this multi-faceted endeavor, allowing us to build our Chinese Language Program and an Asian Cultural Study Center.”
The partnership between the Confucius Institute and Texas Southern has the full support of TSU’s Board of Regents; Dr. Danille Taylor, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences; who along with Wendy Adair, Vice President for University Advancement, traveled to China last summer to discuss the particulars of the Institute and partnership and the benefits of locating the Institute at TSU; as well as the support of Dr. Sunny E. Ohia, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research.
TSU offers many options for the study of Chinese culture in its College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences (COLABS), which houses the study of Chinese language and culture. The primary tasks for COLABS, in which the new Chinese program and Asian Studies are housed, is to equip TSU with multicultural and transnational experiences for students locally and abroad, thereby strengthening its language and culture programs.
TSU’s COLABS has been developing the following courses or course studies related to Chinese study: Asian/Chinese History, Chinese Literature in Translation, Study of Houstonian International Communities, The Chinese Community in Texas, and Chinese Language.
Dr. Taylor explains, “At the base of Chinese language study, are plans to establish courses on Chinese Civilization, to organize summer camps for local schools with Chinese themes, and allow students the opportunity to participate in local multi-cultural activities before visiting China.”
Taylor adds that,”the plan also calls for the promotion of short-term overseas study and student scholarship programs to provide better opportunities for our students to learn Chinese language and culture. Simultaneously, we will work in cooperation with the other colleges at TSU, such as the College of Science and Technology and the Jesse H. Jones School of Business. Both TSU schools have ongoing communication with programs and universities in China, Taylor stated”.
With the cooperation of departments and colleges of both TSU and BJTU, the Confucius Institute will greatly enhance Asian studies and enrich the humanities curriculum at TSU, thereby fostering a broader global perspective. Ultimately, the Confucius Institute will strengthen academic cooperation on a global level.
Through the Confucius Institute, COLABS will also conduct outreach activities into the global spectrum of the Houston communities in an effort to bolster and enhance the liberal arts in the entire university. By becoming a resource-rich cultural center for the Houston community, COLABS will further facilitate cooperation between Texas Southern University and Houston’s Asian community. Ultimately, the Confucius Institute will provide a broad array of educational opportunities for elementary through college-age students as well as language and cultural continuing education courses, business preparation studies and general cultural awareness programs.
The Confucius Institute will be located in the Martin Luther King Jr., Center of Humanities, on its 3rd floor. The building is fully equipped with computer labs, language labs, multi-functional auditoriums, and classrooms that support teaching with new technologies in fields of liberal arts and communication.