Pellissippi State receives prestigious grant for Confucius Classroom

Its economy is the second largest in the world behind that of the United States. Its language is the most widely spoken in the world and the third most widely spoken in America. An estimated 100 million people worldwide are learning the primary language spoken there. In a word: China.

Pellissippi State Community College is set to offer courses in Chinese language and culture, all thanks to a prestigious grant through the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis. Pellissippi State is the only community college in Tennessee to receive a grant for the establishment of a Confucius Classroom.

“This is a tremendous honor,” said Allen Edwards, Pellissippi State president. “We are excited to be able to offer our students not only courses in Chinese language and culture but also learning tools and support materials. The grant affords us the opportunity to share Chinese culture with the entire community.”

The Confucius Institute, under the leadership of the Chinese Ministry of Education, is a non-governmental public institution that provides Chinese teaching resources and services for all countries. It brings instruction in the Chinese language to learners and, simultaneously, introduces them to the culture of the country.

Confucius Institutes are established by the China National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, headquartered in Beijing. The first Confucius Institute opened in 2004 in Seoul, Korea.

The major award to Pellissippi State provides not only general financial support for start-up costs, but it also supplies computer hardware and software for Chinese language instruction. As part of the grant, the Confucius Institute will provide 1,000 books to the Pellissippi State library. Perhaps even more important, the grant provides funding for a professor from China to teach language and culture classes at Pellissippi State.

Beginning with spring 2011 semester, Qiao Gui-qiang (who goes by “Freeman”) will live in Knoxville and serve as the instructor for “Beginning Chinese I” and “Peoples and Culture of China” at the two-year college. He also will be available to teach non-credit classes through Pellissippi State’s Business and Community Services, as well as speak to local groups about Chinese culture and history.

As part of the grant, Pellissippi State is able to offer “Beginning Chinese II” during the fall 2011 semester, a definite advantage for students who seek to lay the foundation for their Chinese language instruction prior to transferring to a four-year institution.

“This fits well with our emphasis on international education at Pellissippi State,” said Anthony Wise, vice president of the Learning Division at Pellissippi State.

This past summer, Pellissippi State students got the chance to study abroad in China for the first time through the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies, which is based at Pellissippi State. A TnCIS study abroad experience in China is again being offered to students from Pellissippi State and 18 other Tennessee educational institutions. The next dates are May 8-28.

Registration for spring 2011 classes at Pellissippi State began Nov. 8. For additional information about the Chinese language or culture classes, call Enrollment Services at 865-694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu/admissions.

For information on study abroad opportunities at Pellissippi State, visit www.tncis.org or contact the TnCIS program coordinator, Theresa Castillo, at 865-539-7280 or tcastillo@pstcc.edu.

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