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From the Director

David K. Schneider, EALC Program Director
David K. Schneider
EALC Program Director

Three years ago we renamed our program “East Asian Languages and Cultures,” a new name for a program that covers the most dynamic and rapidly changing region of the world. Indeed, over the past decade our program has grown rapidly as East Asia has grown in global importance.

Just as East Asia has grown, so our program has continued to expand and change. It is with deep respect and gratitude that I report the retirement of one of the founding faculty of our program, Alvin P. Cohen. Dr. Cohen retired in 2007. But he is still contributing to the field with his involvement in the Warring States Project. And it is with deep regret and sadness that I report the passing of another of our founding lights, Donald E. Gjertson. Dr. Gjertson retired in 2011, and also worked with the Warring States Project until his untimely passing in 2017. His memory will forever remain before us as a model of meticulous and humane scholarship and inspired teaching. We miss him greatly. Nina Rose-Racine, an alumna of our Chinese program, also retired to a new life of leisure, after a long career as our founding Office Manager. We were fortunate to have Fusako Yamagiwa take her place for three years. She has moved on to a graduate program in social work. We wish her all the best. And in 2016 we welcomed our new Office Manager, another alumnus of our Chinese program, Marc Cameron, who, prior to coming to us, earned a Graduate Certificate in Chinese and American Studies from the Johns Hopkins University Nanjing Center, and spent three years in China working in publishing and international education.

We also significantly expanded the faculty of our program. In 2007 we brought in Enhua Zhang to teach modern Chinese literature, myself in classical literature and thought, and Japanese Language Lecturer Mako Koyama. The year 2008 brought us Elena Chiu in late Chinese imperial fiction and drama, and Zhijun Wang and Yuki Yoshimura in Chinese and Japanese pedagogical linguistics. Our language programs were strengthened significantly in the years 2011-2013 with the recruitment of two new Chinese Lecturers Yu Liu in 2011, and Yi Feng in 2012, and one new Japanese lecturer, Yasuko Shiomi in 2013. We also had a number of successful tenure and promotion cases: Stephen Miller, Bruce Baird, Elena Chiu, Enhua Zhang, Zhijun Wang, and I were all promoted to Associate Professor. Zhongwei Shen and Amanda Seaman were both promoted to full Professor.

Finally, and very exciting indeed, is the development of our Korean curriculum. Operated as a Five Colleges program, it began with the arrival of our first Korean Lecturer Chanyoung Park in 2012. Since then, we have rapidly expanded the range of our courses. We now offer Korean through the fourth year. With the growing demand for Korean language and culture education, we have also this year filed an application to establish a Korean Studies Certificate program, which we hope will gain university approval this year.

We are very pleased with these achievements, as they have allowed us to serve a rapidly growing interest in East Asian studies. We have had over the past decade a vibrant, enthusiastic and impressive student body. Chinese, Japanese and Korean are among the most important of the Critical Languages designated by the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of State to be supported with federal scholarship funds. Accordingly, we have had a number of successful Boren and Fulbright scholarship applications in the past several years. We expect these trends to continue into the near future.

Our program is also growing in terms of influence in the professional world. A number of our students have won coveted internships with members of Congress and the Department of State. Recent BA and MA graduates have landed jobs in the German Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, Alibaba Group, the Defense Department, the National Security Agency, law firms in both the United States and China, international trading companies in both China and Japan, the Air Force, The Cambridge Institute of International Education, McKinsey & Company, the Department of Labor, software development companies, international human resources firms, and in schools in the East Asian region and in the United States as teachers at all levels. Others have gone on to further education in prestigious schools of law and international affairs, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (Nanjing and Washington, D.C.) in particular, as well as other graduate schools in the humanities.

We look forward to a bright future of further development over the coming years as both East Asia and our program continue to grow and change.

David K. Schneider
Associate Professor,
Director of East Asian Languages and Cultures,
University of Massachusetts Amherst