University of Pittsburgh
December 4, 2013

Pitt’s Confucius Institute Named Confucius Institute of the Year

Institute honored for teaching Mandarin and Chinese culture to students throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio
Contact:  412-624-4147


PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh’s Confucius Institute has been honored as a 2013 Confucius Institute of the Year, an award given annually to only a select few institutes among the nearly 429 worldwide.

This is the third time in six years that Pitt’s Confucius Institute has received the honor for excellence in teaching the Mandarin language and Chinese culture to kindergarten through college students across Pennsylvania and in parts of Ohio. The award, given by the Chinese Language Council International, will be presented Dec. 7 during the 8th World Confucius Institute Conference in Beijing.

“This award distinguishes the Confucius Institute at Pitt from its 90 peer institutes across the United States,” said Lawrence Feick, senior director of international programs at Pitt. “It is also a testament to the leadership and hard work of director Michele Heryford and her team of Chinese teachers and coordinators who have made a significant impact on Pitt’s international outreach endeavors to schools and communities in Pennsylvania and Ohio for the past six years.”      

The University’s Confucius Institute is part of Pitt’s University Center for International Studies. Established in 2007, Pitt’s Confucius Institute was one of 20 original institutes established as part of the global Confucius Institute program. There are now 429 Confucius Institutes in operation around the world promoting Chinese language and culture.

As part of its mission to promote Chinese language education, Pitt’s Confucius Institute oversees seven Confucius Classrooms located at Winchester Thurston School in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh; Upper St. Clair School District south of Pittsburgh; A. W. Beattie Career Center in Allison Park, Pa.; St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa.; Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa.; John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio; and the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa. Through in-person teaching at these sites and by using distance-learning technology to provide remote instruction to 68 partnering schools in the region, the Confucius Classrooms reach 3,878 students in kindergarten through college in 15 counties in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Classes are taught by graduate students from Wuhan University, in the Hubei province of China, who are pursuing master’s degrees in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. There are 30 Wuhan students currently teaching in Pitt’s Confucius Classrooms. The University’s Confucius Institute acts as the sponsoring agent and central training organization for the students, overseeing their teaching.

Pitt’s Confucius Classrooms have been successful and continue to grow. Student enrollment in these Confucius Classrooms increased 27 percent during 2013, and the number of individual classes taught went up from 231 to 326, an increase of 42 percent last year.

In addition to offering Mandarin language lessons, Pitt’s Confucius Institute sponsors cultural events including Chinese musical performances, theater, and academic lectures. During 2013, more than 29,300 members of the general public attended such events.

Visit for more information about Pitt’s Confucius Institute.

About the University Center for International Studies
At the University of Pittsburgh, the University Center for International Studies is the primary resource for initiating and managing international activities and programs while supporting the University’s reputation as a leader in global education. Since its founding in 1968, the Center has fostered global competency among Pitt students. Under the Center’s aegis are housed the Center for Latin American Studies, Center for Russian and East European Studies, Global Studies Center, European Studies Center, Asian Studies Center and Confucius Institute, and the African Studies Program, as well as the European Union Center of Excellence, the Study Abroad Office, and Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs.