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University of Iowa News Release


March 9, 2007

Beginning Mandarin Chinese Classes Offered In Iowa City, Davenport

The Confucius Institute at the University of Iowa will offer a second session of community classes this spring in Iowa City and Davenport for people wanting to learn Mandarin Chinese.

The seven-week, non-credit courses will be held in Phillips Hall on the UI campus and at the John Deere Training Center, 8000 Jersey Ridge Road in Davenport.

Level one sections are designed for adults and high school students without previous training in Mandarin Chinese. Junior high students may enroll if accompanied by adults enrolled in the course. Level two sections are designed for individuals who have successfully completed a level one class.

Since Mandarin Chinese is the language spoken by more people than any other in the world, Rebecca Kessler, with the UI Confucius Institute, said people taking the courses have done so for a variety of reasons, but mostly because they're planning business or pleasure trips to China.

"For the many John Deere people in the Davenport area, since that company has plants in China, it helps them to have exposure to people who speak Chinese," Kessler said. "Other instances include mixed marriages, where one spouse speaks Chinese and the other wants to learn, and couples who plan to adopt children from China often want to be exposed to that culture."

Kessler said 28 people took the level one course in Iowa City during fall 2006, when the UI Confucius Institute first offered the community classes. In the first spring session in 2007, 31 people were enrolled in level one in Iowa City with another 14 in Davenport, and 12 people took the level two course in Iowa City, she said.

The Davenport sections will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays, from March 19 to May 2. The Iowa City sections will take place from 6:45 to 8:15 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays March 20 to May 3. The course fee is $45, plus textbook costs. Pre-registration is preferred. Payment by check, made out to the Confucius Institute, is due on the first day of class.

The classes are designed to provide a foundation for the study of modern Chinese by including instruction in comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. Students in the Iowa City level one section will also be introduced to the art of calligraphy through two hands-on sessions led by the institute's calligraphy instructor Ramon Lim, a UI professor emeritus in neurology.

The UI's Confucius Institute focuses on Chinese language teacher training and research on learning and teaching Chinese as a foreign language, according to Chuanren Ke, institute director and UI associate professor of Asian languages and literature. Ke said that those are two areas for which the university is internationally recognized because of its critical mass of top-notch researchers in the field.

For more information or special accommodations to enroll in any of these courses, contact Rebecca Kessler with the UI Confucius Institute at 319-335-0159 or e-mail

To enroll in any of the Beginning Mandarin Chinese sections, visit: Forms can be emailed to or faxed to 319-335-3345. For-credit courses in Mandarin Chinese for UI students are offered through the UI Department of Asian Languages and Literature in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information on The UI Confucius Institute, visit:

The Confucius Institute is part of UI International Programs, which enables University of Iowa students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity, and give all University constituents access to vital international knowledge.  For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the Office of the Provost.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Joe Nugent, 319-335-2026,; Program: Rebecca Kessler, UI Confucius Institute, 319-335-0159,; Writer, Joe Nugent.