EUGENE, Ore. — (Oct. 4, 2010) — The University of Oregon's Center for Asian and Pacific Studies (CAPS) now houses a U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center (NRC) for East Asian Studies. The designation comes with a four-year, $1.8 million grant that will allow CAPS to expand its programs and public outreach.
The Center for Asian and Pacific Studies joins the UO's Center for Advanced Second Language Studies (CASLS) and its Language Resource Center as a Title VI grant recipient. Their overlapping programming promises to carry UO to a new level of training.
"This is great news and gives us national recognition for our strong East Asian language and area studies," said CAPS Director Jeffrey Hanes, a professor of history. "This federal funding will allow us to significantly expand our Korean study programs, to promote advanced language study and to support the pioneering area studies research of our world-class faculty."
In addition, noted Hanes and CAPS Assistant Director Lori O'Hollaren, the grant will allow the growth of East Asian educational programs in kindergarten through 12th grade across Oregon and provide 13 fellowships a year to undergraduate and graduate students studying Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages, literature and film.
The UO center is one of 22 National Resource Centers for East Asian Studies in the United States designated for 2010-2013. National Resource Centers now cover 10 different international programs at institutions across the country. They originated as Title VI programs under the National Defense Education Act of 1958 following the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik. The program continued under the Higher Education Act of 1965. Previously the UO, through CAPS, and the University of Washington shared an NRC for Southeast Asia until the late 1990s.
"Students who are really serious about East Asia, especially graduate students, will be looking at places designated as National Resource Centers, because they know those are the powerhouses," O'Hollaren said. "Being part of this group raises our national and international profile."
CAPS — based under the UO's Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies — was created by the Oregon Legislature in 1987 as a statewide resource on Asia. As a research and outreach center it is devoted to understanding the Asia-Pacific region by fostering collaborative and individual research that engages Asia-interested scholars from the UO, the nation and around the world. The center has more than 40 participating faculty members.
CAPS works closely with the Asian Studies Program — founded in 1942 and one of the nation's oldest — which offers bachelor's and master's degrees, and the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures. Both are in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Under the new Department of Education grant, CAPS will:
• Provide 13 undergraduate- and graduate-level fellowships annually. Under a Title VI grant in 2006, CAPS had only been able to offer 11 graduate-level fellowships a year.
• Create new staffing positions, including a tenure-track position in Korean literature and film, a library archivist dedicated to electronic-based East Asian databases and research materials, and a K-12 outreach coordinator who will help develop statewide curriculum and teacher training workshops;
• Create new college-level courses with East Asian content that will extend current academic content devoted to Korean language and culture at the UO from three to four years;
• Help launch a K-16 Japanese Global Scholars immersion program with CASLS (CASLS already offers the Chinese Flagship immersion program);
• Dramatically expand East Asian content within K-12 outreach programs available through the UO's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.
Beyond the languages, many UO courses in anthropology, art history, geography, history, linguistics, political science, religious studies and sociology are entirely devoted to East Asian content. Currently the university offers 80 undergraduate and 50 graduate courses each year with 100 percent East Asian content.
"The UO already is the leading institution in Asian Studies in Oregon, and this federal designation will allow us to become even stronger," Hanes said.