The possibility of a Chinese major joining the four other foreign languages is beginning to look more like a reality.
The University does not offer a Chinese major or minor, but some faculty members want to offer four semesters of Chinese in a new program to go toward to a Bachelor of Arts degree. Courses offered are Chinese language classes and a culture course.
Jie Wu, assistant professor in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, had 44 students studying Chinese language and culture with her during the fall semester.
She is Chinese and holds a doctorate in Eastern languages and literatures from the University of Washington in Seattle.
Wu is the first tenure-track professor of Chinese and was hired last spring to work in the modern languages department.
“Currently, there aren’t enough courses for a minor, so one of my priorities has been to develop upper-level courses on Chinese culture, literature and society,” Wu said. “They will be taught in English and be open to all Murray State students as electives.”
Wu said a new 300-level course, Chinese Cultural Diversity Through Food, is under review by Academic Council. She also plans to propose two other 300-level courses on Chinese cinema and society, in the next three years in order to appeal to different interests and provide enough courses needed for a minor.
“Knowledge of a foreign language and a better understanding of a foreign culture will not only give students an edge in the job market but also help them to become well-rounded people,” Wu said. “On the local level, Kentucky’s export to China has increased by over 1,200 percent in the past decade. Murray State now has a number of partnership institutions in China, such as its involvement with the Qingdao Agriculture University and new cooperative opportunities are burgeoning.”
“Seven Windows to Contemporary China” is a residential college seminar offered this semester. The lecture will discuss major issues concern contemporary China, such as education, environment, political issues and historic preservation.
“I already did some K-12 outreach to raise the awareness in the community of the Chinese program at the University, and of Chinese language and culture,” Wu said. “Good class enrollment is needed, as well as other resources such as library collections, in order to have a minor on campus.”
John Eads, senior from Somerset, Ky., attended a calligraphy workshop in December taught by Wu last semester.
He said the workshop had about 20 to 25 people in attendance.
Said Eads: “We learned the basics of calligraphy; such as each character is made of a combination of seven standard strokes.”