UH Manoa awarded $8 million in federal grants for Asian and Pacific Language and Culture programs for 2006-2010

Campus home to prestigious Title VI Centers for Education and Research

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Oct 26, 2006

HONOLULU — The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa announced it recently secured $8 million in grants for the 2006-2010 grant period from the U.S. Department of Education‘s Title VI program. The funds will support the university‘s five Title VI centers: a National Foreign Language Resource Center, three National Resource Centers (East Asian Studies, Southeast Asian Studies, and Pacific Island Studies) and the Center for International Business Education and Research. The centers are national resources for teaching modern foreign languages and research and training in international studies and international business.

"These grants showcase the excellence of our faculty and administrators in Asian cultures and global business. The Title VI centers at Mānoa are points of pride for our campus," said UH Mānoa Interim Chancellor Denise Konan.

The Title VI centers are:

The National Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC), one of just 15 such centers across the country. The NFLRC in Hawaiʻi develops materials and methods for learning and teaching the less commonly-taught languages of Asia and the Pacific, but most of its projects also have implications for the learning and teaching of all foreign languages. Projects are founded on expertise in both language teaching and applied linguistics and include faculty and graduate students from most of the departments in the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature. During the 2006-2010 funding cycle, major NFLRC projects will focus on language documentation and conservation, the evaluation of college foreign language programs, distance education for foreign language learning, and the role of pragmatics (principles of language use) in language learning and teaching.

The National Resource Center for Southeast Asia (NRCSA), one of seven nationally recognized centers for the study of Southeast Asia in the U.S. with more than 60 affiliated faculty teaching Southeast Asia related courses in over 20 departments. Central to the Center's mission is developing educational programs that address both contemporary social issues and examine past historical periods that have shaped the region today. In a major cooperative role, the Center provides partial support for the university's nationally recognized Southeast Asian language programs, including Filipino, Ilokano, Khmer, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and Thai. The Southeast Asian collection, consisting of around 142,000 books, is particularly strong in vernacular languages; over the next four years, $25,000 will go to the library from the NRC budget. New program initiatives supported by the NRCSA include a course on natural disasters, which addresses issues related to (a) earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and post trauma stress (b) the threat of epidemics and pandemics, notably SARS, avian flu, and HIV/AIDS, and (c) environmental changes like global warming, air pollution and water contamination.

The National Resource Center for East Asian Studies (NRCEA), comprising these area studies: the Center for Chinese Studies, the Center for Japanese Studies and the Center for Korean Studies. The resources that these centers oversee include 133 faculty and 420 East Asia courses across 25 academic units and 7 professional programs/schools. Of these, 168 are language courses (Chinese, Taiwanese, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean and Okinawan), and enroll about 3,900 students each year. The NRCEA is also a partner in developing library resources. The Asia Collection at Hamilton Library is one of the nation‘s strongest in East Asian material, particularly in Southeast China, Taiwan, the Ryukyus, and 20th century Korea. Other projects to be pursued for the 2006-2010 grant period are the development of a new course in aging in East Asia, a needs analysis for the Korean community Heritage Schools in the U.S., and the development of online Japanese and Korean language courses, in cooperation with the NFLRC.

The National Resource Center for Pacific Islands is the only National Resource Center (NRC) of its kind in the country. It offers a graduate degree in Pacific Islands Studies and among its goals for the 2006-2010 grant period is the development of an undergraduate program. As a part of that initiative and in line with Title VI goals, this NRC continues to support Pacific Islands language instruction at UH Mānoa. Courses are currently offered in Maori, Samoan, Tahitian, and Tongan, the newest language to be added to the curriculum. The NRC in Pacific Islands has an extensive outreach program to the community, including a public lecture series, annual sponsored visits by Pacific artists and writers, and workshops for K-12 educators on curriculum materials to support the teaching of Pacific Islands in their classrooms. Title VI funds are also used to publish this NRC‘s award-winning journal, The Contemporary Pacific and its Pacific Islands Monograph Series distributed by the East-West Center‘s Pacific Islands Development Program.

The Centers for International Business Education and Research (CIBERs), created under the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 to increase and promote the nation's capacity for international understanding and economic enterprise. The CIBER program links the manpower and information needs of U.S. business with the international education, language training, and research capacities of universities across the US. This year, UH CIBER will host the Pacific Asian Consortium for International Business Education and Research (PACIBER) conference with 30 business schools in the Asia Pacific region, work with the Pacific American Foundation and co-sponsor the Asian Field Study in Asian Finance for Native Hawaiian High School students, and improve Asian language learning for business students.