Asian Studies


History of the Asian Studies Committee

January, 2010

In 2005, Sylvia Gray returned from an excellent and inspiring three-week institute - Infusing East Asian Studies into the Undergraduate Curriculum - offered by the East-West Center’s Asian Studies Development Program (ASDP) in conjunction with the University of Hawaii. The Dean of Instruction at Sylvania, Barbara VanAmerongen, encouraged Sylvia to pursue her resulting goal – to build a network of faculty at PCC already teaching courses focused on Asia, and to further promote educational opportunities on Asian topics. Sylvia’s initiative and efforts led to discussions among interested faculty and the formation of the Asian Studies Committee at PCC, which included a core group of faculty from Literature, Languages, Art, Geography, History, Library, as well as other staff members and administrators interested in promoting Asian Studies.

  • Asian Studies Focus Award: Our first activity was the creation of the Asian Studies Focus Award, which encourages students to take at least 16 credit hours focusing on Asia. Since then 29 students have earned this award. We also negotiated a curriculum articulation agreement with PSU’s International Studies department.
  • Chinese Language: Our committee from the beginning proposed that Chinese language courses should be added to PCC’s offerings. These will be offered starting in September, 2010.
  • Grants: We have actively sought grants to support our work. First was the International Studies Title VI Grant (not funded in 2006), then the Japan Foundation library grant, which was funded in 2007. We were also successful in securing the donation of the Ray Olson Private Library Collection on Asia to improve our library’s holdings. In 2007 we received a $2000 gift from the PCC Friends of the Library to purchase books on Chinese studies, and in 2009, we received an award of 100 books on Japan from the Nippon Foundation. We are now working in conjunction with the ASDP, applying for another Title VI grant.
  • Asian Events: We have increased the frequency and raised the profile of extra-curricular events by hosting a number of speakers on Asian topics and showing Asian films in conjunction with related classes. We have also promoted and helped with other Asian focused events at PCC like the Japanese New Year celebration and events sponsored by the Vietnamese Student Association.
  • Asian Studies Celebration: We have offered a yearly Asian Studies Celebration and Award Ceremony where students who have earned the focus award may are honored publicly and other interested faculty and students can learn more about the opportunities the Asian Studies program provides.
  • China Symposium: We worked in conjunction with the ASDP to offer a symposium in 2007: Looking Over the Wall: Understanding the Old and New China. Over 50 faculty members participated in this excellent symposium, including faculty from other institutions.
  • Professional Development and results: Members of the committee and other PCC faculty have since attended subsequent offerings of the ASDP summer institute at the East/West Center. Other PCC faculty and staff have participated in field seminars either led by the ASDP or CIEE to China, India, Cambodia, Japan,Vietnam, and more. These travel seminars have increased faculty and staff expertise in Asian topics. Participants have returned to campus and added to the work of the Asian Studies Committee, helping us to achieve a critical mass of faculty and educational opportunities to build a thriving Asian Studies program. In addition, the resulting knowledge and experience gain by faculty have helped further the committee’s goal of encouraging regular offerings of courses with an Asian focus, as well as the infusion of Asian topics into existing courses and the strategic addition of courses where there are gaps in offerings.
  • Funding Sources: The Asian Studies Committee’s activities have been supported by a variety of funding sources throughout the college. Deans of instruction from Sylvania (Barbara VanAmerongen), Rock Creek (Rene Thomas), and the Southeast Campus (Craig Kolins) have each funded a printing of the Asian Studies Focus Award brochure. The Sylvania president (Linda Gerber), sponsored a luncheon for faculty and others interested in Asian Studies. The symposium was supported, in addition to monies from the ASDP, by the PCC Diversity Fund, by Sylvania President (Linda Gerber), by Vice-President of Academic and Student Affairs (Chris Chairsell), and by Staff Development (Susanne Christopher/Linda Blanchette). Attendance at ASDP institutes and field seminars and CIEE educational trips to Asian countries by a number of faculty have been supported by Staff Development and International Education (Kelley Brayton and Jean D’arc-Campbell). Participation in ASDP conferences and CCID conferences have been funded by International Education, Staff Development, and Office of Academic and Student affairs. Speakers have been funded through ASPCC SHINE support. Initial funding for joining local and related organizations was supplied by Sylvania President (Linda Gerber).
  • Connecting with the Community: A number of our members belong to various local community organizations. Since our effort to get involved in this way, which was originally funded by the Sylvania President Linda Gerber, three have become board members - Deborah Sipe on the Northwest China Council and Jane Rognlie first and then Bonnie Starkey on the Portland-Suzhou Sister City organization. Jane was asked to participate as a delegate on an exchange trip to Suzhou and represented PCC in that capacity.
  • PCC as ASDP Regional Center: In 2009, PCC became an ASDP Regional Center. PCC will serve as a hub for ASDP activities and will host further symposiums and/or conferences. PCC will receive increased benefits from being associated with the ASDP, such as support in sponsoring Asian-focused events, advice, and favored inclusion in ASDP - sponsored institutes.
  • Members and Participation: Sylvia Gray (History) initiated and coordinated the committee for three years, from 2005-2008; Deborah Sipe (Director of the Child Development Center) coordinated 2008-2009; Takako Yamaguchi (Japanese) 2009 - 2010. Early key members of the group, in addition to those above-mentioned, were Bryan Hull (English), Jane Rognlie (Library), Susanne Christopher (Health, Staff Development, Degrees and Certificates Committee), Phyllis Shen (Technology Solutions Services), David Stout (Dean of English and World Languages), Kelley Brayton (Director of International Education), Bonnie Starkey (Work Force Training), and Jane Zunkel (English). As our program has developed, others have also become very involved: Ron Ross (English), Tom Huminski (English), Derek Gladwin (English), Jeffer Daykin (History), Marlene Eid (Psychology; International Studies Coordinator), Martha Bailey (Philosophy). Many other here-unnamed faculty and others have been and are interested and supportive. We have recently included students to the Asian Studies Committee and they have added insights and practical ideas that are helpful to our efforts.