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ASU collaborates with universities in China to develop American Studies

American Experience Initiative Leadership Academy

2016 American Experience Initiative Leadership Academy hosted Chinese faculty members from Renmin University, Northeastern University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Guangzhou University and Shanghai Universities in Washington, D.C.

November 17, 2016

On Oct. 10-14, Arizona State University hosted the first American Experience Initiative Leadership Academy conference in Washington, D.C., partnered with the prestigious Smithsonian Institution. This marks the fifth gathering of the Chinese participants and American consultants to build curriculum and modules together on American Studies.

Selected deans and faculty members from five well-known Chinese universities (Beijing Foreign Studies University, Renmin University of China, Northeastern University, Shanghai University and Guangzhou University) were invited to attend this exciting event.

Throughout the week, the Chinese participants developed deeper understandings of American history and culture through intensive immersion experience with the National Museum of American History.

To elevate their experience, ASU invited government officials to the conference. Former U.S. Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch addressed the attendees on strategic collaboration and sustainable partnership on academic exchange. Participants also had the opportunity to meet with officers from EducationUSA, U.S. Department of State.

ASU embarked upon the American Experience Initiative (AEI) project with a $750,000 grant awarded by the Henry Luce Foundation in 2014.

AEI is a multi-platform collaborative model for cross-cultural education and engagement between American and Chinese universities. Through AEI, teams of faculty members from institutions across China will work with experts from universities in the U.S. to develop multidisciplinary courses.

“There’s an intense interest in understanding American cultural life, and being able to gain fluency in that is an advantage.”

Eric Wertheimer, associate dean of Graduate Education and principal investigator, is leading the project to deliver the product that meets the increasing needs.

American Experience Initiative Leadership Academy

The 2016 American Experience Initiative spring workshop invited 10 Chinese universities (20 participants) to be part of the fourth module development workshop. Faculty members from ASU and China teamed up to create internationalized, cross-disciplinary modules to present multiple perspective of American Studies.

Since 2014, ASU has held three workshops in China. In February this year, Wertheimer and team organized a one-week workshop and hosted 21 professors from 10 Chinese universities at ASU.

To fully leverage institutional resources, Wertheimer invited ASU EdPlus to join force with the team this year. EdPlus is a key player to provide instructional design support and develop an online portal for digital dissemination.

Next year’s cohort of AEI partners will convene again in Tempe in February and will work more intensively with graduate students.

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