Overview of programs

The East Asia Resource Center (EARC) provides professional development programs and teaching resources about East Asia to U.S. elementary and secondary school teachers. The mission of the EARC is to deepen educators’ understanding of East Asia and improve their teaching about the region.

As part of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies and as a co-founder of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), the East Asia Resource Center brings the expertise of university and college faculty and master teachers to K-12 educators across the U.S., but primarily in the Pacific Northwest.  Through grant funding, the EARC provides a wide range of professional development programs on China, Japan, and Korea, including:

  • National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) professional development seminars in Washington, as well as Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Oregon;
  • weeklong intensive residential summer institutes held on the University of Washington campus in Seattle that are open to teachers nationwide;
  • other events such as book clubs, writing groups and one day workshops on East Asian art, literature, music and history.

These programs are designed to help educators expand and update their own knowledge of East Asia. They also recommend effective resources and teaching strategies for the classroom. Some are geared specifically to the needs of elementary, middle or high school teachers, while others are intended for teachers of all levels who want to gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter. EARC programs invite teachers of history, social studies, geography, language arts (ELA), art, music and world languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean), as well as school librarians and curriculum specialists. Read more about our programs below.

NCTA seminars in the Pacific Northwest

Connecting teachers with knowledge and resources so they can teach about East Asia has been the mission of the East Asia Resource Center since the 1970’s. In 1998 the EARC expanded this mission by joining forces with Columbia University, the Five College Center for East Asian Studies, Indiana University and the University of Colorado to create the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA). In 2008 two additional national sites, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Southern California, were added so that NCTA could more efficiently provide programming for the growing number of educators who are eager to learn about China, Japan and Korea. The goal of NCTA is “to encourage and facilitate teaching and learning about East Asia in elementary and secondary schools nationwide.” NCTA is generously funded by the Freeman Foundation.

The EARC is the central node in “NCTA Northwest” (NCTA–NW) and works with partner institutions across the northwest to provide teacher professional development seminars in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

Teachers in other parts of the United States can visit the NCTA national website for more information about NCTA in other states.

Residential summer institutes on the UW Seattle campus

Residential summer institutes provide K-12 educators with an opportunity for deeper exploration of specific topics or themes drawn from history, the arts, and literature. Open by competitive application to educators from across the U.S., the institutes typically last a week or more. Readings sent in advance prepare the participants for intensive instruction and discussions about ways to adapt their new knowledge for their own classrooms. New topics are offered every summer and the majority of program costs are covered a grant from the Freeman Foundation.


EARC workshops respond to world events, new scholarship, and evolving K-12 curriculum standards, allowing educators to fuel their passion for East Asian studies. Book groups gather to discuss both fiction and non-fiction books. Write about Asia pairs lectures at the Seattle Asian Art Museum’s Gardner Center with writing and discussion afterwards.

Past programs and comments from alumni

Starting from the summer of 2014, information about most EARC programs is archived on our website. You can also find comments from alumni associated with many of the past programs.

UW partners

The EARC partners with the UW East Asia Center (EAC) and other programs at the University of Washington which provide a wide array of opportunities for the general public to learn about China, Japan, and Korea.


EARC activities are supported by grants from the Freeman Foundation, the US Department of Education, and other foundations.

Resource library

In addition to professional development programs, the EARC also maintains a small lending library and an online resource center, with links to trusted materials on the web.