Students studying outside the library

Faculty, staff gain valuable experience through travel

China Faculty Seminar1

Second Milliken Faculty Development Seminar Abroad to take 20 to China

(READ the blog and enjoy the photos and videos from Shanghai.)

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Like their students at Wofford College, the faculty must study hard, do a lot of reading and put in lots of preparation. That’s especially true of the 20 members of the college’s faculty and staff who departed Thursday, Jan. 14, for Shanghai, China, as part of the second Milliken Faculty Development Seminars Abroad.

While in Shanghai, China’s largest city and one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, they will hear from experts in a variety of fields, including China’s relationship with the United States, the challenges it faces with urbanization, its economy amid the world economic crisis, ethnic minorities in a transitional China, gender issues in contemporary China, and its environmental protection initiatives, among other issues. In addition, they will visit with the staff of the Asian Office of the S.C. Department of Commerce.

The group will return from China on Jan. 30.

“These faculty and staff members, who represent a cross-section of disciplines, put in serious work and preparation before their trip and will do a tremendous amount of work during and after their trip to maximize this opportunity,” says Dr. David S. Wood, dean of the college. The group began readings last summer, continued through the fall while adding preparation meetings, and then spent five intense days of discussion and preparation this month to prepare.

The entire group read “Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China’s Past and Present” by Peter Hessler. More than a dozen other books on a variety of topics – from China’s urban transition, business etiquette in China and the governmental structure to religion, the economy and the cultural revolution – were divided up among the group. Then, individuals shared what they read.

“Our goal is to offer our faculty an experience similar to that of our students who study abroad, and for all to understand the value of internationalizing our campus,” says Amy Lancaster, assistant dean for international programs and academic administration.

Dr. A.K. Anderson, associate professor of religion at Wofford, also has been asked to make a presentation at the Pudong Institute for the U.S. Economy/Pudong Academy of Development on the topic of “The Missionary Trend of Christianity in China and Its Implications.”

Members of the group will be blogging from China about their experiences and sharing photographs of their activities. To follow their travels, go to

The Milliken Faculty Development Seminars Abroad is a five-year program supported by Roger Milliken, chairman of the international textile firm of Milliken & Co., based in Spartanburg, and long-time member of Wofford’s board of trustees. Over the five years, virtually every faculty member and large number of staff members will have the opportunity to participate.

The first program in 2009 took 13 faculty and staff members to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for “Creating Citizens in the Americas” organized by the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES).

For nearly 15 years, Wofford consistently has been recognized nationally as one of the top 10 colleges sending students abroad to study for credit. The latest Open Doors 2009 report, released in November, confirmed the college’s commitment to its students becoming global citizens by ranking Wofford sixth among the nation’s top 40 baccalaureate institutions in the percent of students earning credit for studying abroad.

 China Faculty Seminar2

Wofford faculty and staff members, along with their Chinese guides, meet up with alumnus Paul Wood, third from right with the bicycle, while in Shanghai.