The Department of Asian Languages & Literature has been awarded a four year $1.3 million Chinese language “flagship” grant from the US Department of Defense. This will fund a new UW Chinese Flagship Program directed by Chan Lü, Assistant Professor and Chinese Language Coordinator.
The Language Flagship is a federally-funded effort and is a component of the National Security Education Program (NSEP) at the U.S. Department of Defense. NSEP was created in 1991 to develop a much-needed strategic partnership between the national security community and higher education to address national needs for expertise in critical languages and regions. NSEP is the only federally-funded effort focused on the combined issues of language proficiency, national security, and the needs of the federal workforce. In conjunction with technology and research-oriented investments, NSEP represents an integral component of a national security strategy to eliminate the serious language deficiency in the federal government.
The Language Flagship Program, which started in 2002, 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 by a national organization based in Washington, D.C. called The Language Flagship. Through this program, students are 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. UW is the newest Chinese Flagship Program.
The grant will be used to support students in the Chinese Flagship program to develop professional proficiency Chinese while they pursue any major. 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. New courses will be created to expand the current Chinese language offering on campus to enable students to learn subject matters such as Chinese politics or Chinese literature 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 goal is to help students reach professional proficiency in Chinese – being able to use the language fluently and accurately on all levels and as normally pertinent to professional needs.