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Wofford College to offer Chinese

Friday, May 21, 2004

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College has added Chinese to its program for students beginning in the Fall 2004 Semester.

“Foreign language is a pinnacle of excellence in Wofford’s programs, and more than 10 percent of the students here complete majors in French, German or Spanish,” says Dr. Dan Maultsby, dean of the college. “Now, Chinese will be an option. Adding the opportunity for students to understand Chinese language and culture is a recognition of the increasing importance of China in international affairs. It recognizes also the employment advantages for students who know Chinese.”

The program will be taught initially by Dr. Li Qing Kinnison, coming to Wofford from the faculty at Colby College. The program will be supported by an endowment given by the Peacock Family Foundation. Grant Peacock, a Greenville, S.C., entrepreneur, manages a business based in Shanghai.

“China is a vast, complicated country with immense potential and opportunities,” Peacock says. “By endowing the Chinese professorship, we want to give Wofford students a unique set of skills that will enable them to understand the language, traditions and culture of 25 percent of the world’s population.”

The program in the fall will include a course in Beginning Chinese and a course titled East-West Intercultural Communication. Beginning Chinese is a first-year sequence of standard spoken and written Mandarin. Students will acquire speaking skills and learn basic Chinese characters. In the academic year 2005-06, Intermediate Chinese will be added; third- and fourth-year language courses will follow. Students who complete the four-year sequence will develop genuine proficiency in the language. Courses addressing history, economics, and culture will round out the program. Students will have opportunities to study and to conduct internships in China.

These courses will be available to the general public and to students at other local and regional campuses as well as to Wofford students, providing a resource for the community at-large and the international business community in particular.

“We anticipate sufficient interest to warrant building a major in Chinese language,” says Dr. Caroline Cunningham, chair of Wofford’s foreign languages department. “With the emerging political and economic importance of China, it will be an advantage for students to understand the culture and to communicate effectively in Chinese, not only for their general citizenship in the world community, but in their careers.”

Dr. Li Qing Kinnison, a native of China, earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English language and literature while still in China. After moving to the United States, she earned the MA in TESOL (Teaching of English as a Second Language) from Azusa Pacific University in California, and her Ph.D. in linguistics from Michigan State University. Her special interests include intercultural communications, sociolinguistics and English language and literature.

Maultsby says, “A national search brought to Wofford one of the most outstanding teachers of Chinese in the country, and we are extremely pleased that she will join our faculty. We also are grateful to the Peacock family for enabling a very special opportunity for our students.”