University of Pittsburgh
August 21, 2003

Freeman Foundation Renews Pitt's Grant to Offer Course on Teaching about Asia


PITTSBURGH—The Asian Studies Center (ASC) in the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh has received a three-year $1.125 million grant from the Freeman Foundation, renewing its choice of Pitt as the Pittsburgh coordinating site of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA).

"This new three-year cycle represents a longer commitment following two consecutive one-year grants," said Bell Yung, ASC director and professor of music at Pitt.

Under this grant, ASC will continue to organize and supervise 30-hour teacher seminars throughout four states: Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. In addition, the grant will support an East Asian study tour each summer to China and Japan. The tour will be modeled on a recently completed trip to Japan that included 18 secondary and college teachers.

Designed for teachers of world cultures, world history, geography, economics, and literature, the seminar is taught by Diana Marston Wood, ASC assistant director and NCTA coordinator, along with faculty from Pittsburgh-area colleges and high schools within the region. Teachers who attend the seminar are not assumed or required to have any previous background on Asia.

"This seminar provides teachers with both the content and resources needed to implement the study of East Asia into their curriculum, in accordance with the Pennsylvania academic standards as well as the geography and world history standards," said Wood. "While the overall framework is historical, there is a heavy emphasis on literature. The seminar's approach is both interdisciplinary and designed to provide a forum for demonstrating effective East Asian curriculum materials."

Each participating teacher receives $200 for books used in the course and an additional $300 toward the purchase of teaching materials for his or her school or personal use. After completing the seminar, teachers meet for a follow-up session during the next fall semester, to share experiences and plans for integrating Asian materials into their courses.