Asbury Announces Partnership for Cultural Engagement – Asbury University
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February 8, 2016

Wei "Joy" Zhang
Chinese scholar Wei “Joy” Zhang comes to Asbury from Hebei, China.

WILMORE, Ky. — With the launch of a new program for Chinese language and culture studies, Asbury University offers yet another tool for cultural engagement and global impact.

Asbury’s new “Confucius Classroom” is a five-year Chinese language and culture program, generously funded by the Confucius Institute of the University of Kentucky. The inaugural ceremony of the Confucius Classroom will take place at 11 a.m. on Feb. 11 in Kinlaw Library. The ceremony will include a ribbon cutting, a presentation by the University of Kentucky Confucius Institute and cultural performances, followed by a reception with refreshments and dessert.

“This is a terrific opportunity for our campus,” said Tina Wei Smith, director of Asbury’s Global Engagement Office. “It’s an asset to our Chinese language program in the Ancient and Modern Languages Department and a great resource for students — particularly for those hoping to go abroad for outreach and work-related purposes.”

Asbury’s new Chinese Scholar, Wei “Joy” Zhang, will be closely involved with the Confucius Classroom during her residency over the next two years, teaching classes and coordinating with the Global Engagement Office on community classes, seminars and lectures.

Zhang will combine traditional classroom methods with experiential teaching. Already, students have practiced Chinese calligraphy and enjoyed a lesson in cooking — and eating — Chinese dumplings.

“I love the students here, as well as the campus environment,” said Zhang, who comes to Asbury from Hebei, China. “Asbury is an awesome university, and I’m excited to be part of helping students engage with Chinese culture.”

Asbury students learn to cook Chinese dumplings.
Asbury students learn to cook Chinese dumplings.

Quinnette Connor ’18, an Audio Production major, looks forward to continuing her study of Mandarin through the Confucius Classroom and expanding her understanding of Chinese culture.

“I’m excited about getting to learn Chinese and being able to communicate with and learn from different ethnicities and races,” Connor said. “I think the Confucius Classroom will give students a good sense of cultural perspective in regard to Christianity and cause us to be more engaged with other cultures.”

Offering opportunities for Asbury students and the Wilmore community, the Confucius Classroom is yet another avenue to engage culture for Christ. The program will offer Chinese language classes, an exchange program and activities related to Chinese language and culture. With the Confucius Classroom, Asbury will receive $10,000 of operating funds for the first year, $10,000 of project funds per year throughout the five-year program, interactive media equipment and 1,000 volumes of educational materials and textbooks.