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Professors participate in faculty development program in China

china environment
Jade Spring Park, Lijiang, Yunnan province, China. Photo/iStock.com

Sixteen Furman University faculty members will participate in a Faculty Development Program in China this June as part of the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE) grant awarded in 2016 from the Henry Luce Foundation in New York.

Furman’s LIASE Faculty Development Program is designed to bring faculty from across the campus together to explore how to incorporate interdisciplinary discussions of China’s environment into their courses or research.

The new LIASE Faculty Fellows are:

Marian Berky, Department of Religion
Terri Bright, Department of Art
George Lipscomb, Department of Education
Matt Cohen, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (Sustainability Science)
Kelsey Hample, Department of Economics
Brandon Inabinet, Department of Communication Studies
Amy Jonason, Department of Sociology
Kyle Longest, Department of Sociology
Yang Gao, Department of Sociology
John McArthur, Department of Communication Studies
Buket Oztas, Department of Politics and International Affairs
Liz Smith, Department of Politics and International Affairs
Michael Svec, Department of Education
Natalie The, Department of Health Sciences

Joining the Fellows are the LIASE Faculty Development Workshop co-directors Dennis Haney, professor and chair of the biology department, and Kate Kaup, professor of Asian studies and politics and international affairs.

The year-long workshop includes a two-week, fully funded study tour to China from June 18-July 2, 2019. Fellows also meet for a three-day workshop on campus in January 2019 and convene for once-monthly afternoon discussions throughout the coming spring and fall semesters.

The original funds provided by LIASE originated from a competition among invited liberal arts colleges in the United States. Furman was one of four recipients of the $400,000 grant awarded in 2016, along with Beloit College, Centre College and Oberlin College.

In addition to faculty development, the grant from the Henry Luce Foundation has supported other programs at Furman:

  • During the summers of 2016-18, students and faculty from Yunnan Minzu University in rural China traveled to Furman for a three-week science exposure program. The YMU team explored how institutions of higher education, government offices, businesses, NGOs and private citizens work to address environmental concerns in South Carolina.
  • The grant supplies three years of support for a First Year China Experience for freshmen. Twelve freshmen, selected through a competitive application process the summer preceding their freshman year, take a First Year Writing Seminar on China and the Environment team-taught by a natural scientist and a China specialist and then travel to China for a two-week study tour fully funded by the grant at the end of their freshman year.
  • Beginning in 2018, three new May Experience courses were offered to students. Each course is team-taught by a China specialist and a natural scientist or urban studies specialist. The students work alongside YMU students and faculty in areas where they can make a real and dramatic impact in some of China’s poorest rural regions.

Said Kaup, “Yunnan in southwestern China is the country’s most diverse province in terms of ethnicity, biodiversity and topography. It’s a perfect field site for environmental scientists and conservation efforts, and for study away programs. We’re excited to bring fellow faculty to China, as it is now more important than ever to understand the country given the dramatic strains in US-China relations.”

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107. Or contact Kate Kaup at 864-294-3150 and kate.kaup@furman.edu, or Dennis Haney at 864-294-2050 and dennis.haney@furman.edu.

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