CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: Jan 23, 2002
Photo: Stephen Vlastos,
director of the University of Iowa Center for Asian and Pacific Studies (CAPS).
Receives $2 Million Grant To Expand Asian Studies At UI
$2 million dollar grant from the Freeman Foundation Undergraduate Studies
Funding Initiative will allow the University of Iowa Center for Asian and
Pacific Studies (CAPS) to substantially strengthen its Asian studies undergraduate
The Freeman grant -- one of the largest humanities
grants ever received by the university --will expand the Asian social sciences
faculty, integrate Asian studies with the UI's renowned International Writing
Program, enhance the Asian collection at the UI Library, increase undergraduate
study in Asia, develop new community outreach programs, and inaugurate new
K-12 outreach efforts. Some of the highlights of the grant include creating
three new faculty positions, bringing eight writers from East Asia to the
International Writing Program (IWP), and providing $90,000 in scholarships
for undergraduate summer study in East Asia.
"The four years of funding provided by this grant
will enable the UI to transform its existing Asian studies complex into a
multi-disciplinary program that integrates traditional UI strengths in the
humanities and arts with a new social science focus that is unique in the
nation," said Stephen Vlastos, CAPS director and the grant's principal investigator.
Steven Hoch, associate provost and dean of International
Programs, said this grant will expand opportunities for UI students in an
area of the world where Iowa and the nation have increasing levels of interaction
due to economic and cultural opportunities.
"Rising enrollments in Asian studies suggest that
UI students are aware of Asia's growing importance locally and globally, and
are looking for ways to prepare themselves," Hoch said. "The moment is ripe
to expand an interdisciplinary Asian studies program that will prepare UI
students to understand and participate in the cultural, economic, and political
interactions and exchanges that link Asia to their communities and country."
The UI has offered undergraduate courses on Asia since
1952, when the university offered its first Chinese language instruction.
The curriculum has evolved into a comprehensive Asian studies complex that
today offers students 61 courses from beginning to advanced levels in five
Asian languages, and an additional 79 courses taught by Asia specialists in
history, religion, art history, journalism, anthropology, political science,
sociology, and law.
CAPS, which was established in 1986 with a major gift
from the E & M Charities of Muscatine, Iowa, anchors the Asian studies
complex at the UI, supporting 23 full time faculty members and five lecturers
dedicated to undergraduate education on Asian issues. CAPS also serves as
the primary fund-raiser for Asian studies. The CAPS' endowment of $1.9 million
symposia, courses, lectures, cultural events, and visiting
scholars from Asia. CAPS has also raised more than $1.75 million toward a
$2 million capital campaign to fund two endowed professorships in Chinese
and Korean studies.
The UI Office of the Provost and the College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences are committing the long-term matching funds necessary to
ensure that the assistance of the Freeman Foundation produces permanent advances
in undergraduate education on Asia.
Hoch says many individuals contributed to bringing
the grant to fruition, including: Elizabeth Constantine, International Programs'
grants and development officer; Dongwang Liu, CAPS assistant director; and
Ellen Hammod, Japan librarian.
The Freeman Foundation is based in Vermont and was
established in 1992 to support greater understanding between Asia and the
CAPS is affiliated with International Programs, which
consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs,
research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and
dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize
the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research, teaching