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Building a 21st Century Chinese Language Program: New Approaches for Multicultural and Multilingual Universities

October 28, 2017 @ 8:30 am - October 29, 2017 @ 10:30 am


Download a registration form here.

In decades past, Chinese language students at American colleges and universities were primarily non-heritage speakers who began studying Chinese as undergraduates. Today, university Chinese language programs serve a broad spectrum of students, including heritage speakers, incoming freshmen who studied Chinese in high school, native speakers who want to take higher-level Chinese linguistics and literature courses, and students with no previous experience with Chinese. This symposium will examine how university departments can build Chinese programs that meet the goals of the broadest spectrum of students, while maintaining academic rigor and operating under significant financial constraints. Keynote speakers will offer valuable insights and lead discussion based on their theoretical research and practical experience.

Times and Venues
Saturday, October 28
8:30am – 6:00pm
509 O’Brian Hall, North Campus

Sunday, October 29
8:30am – 10:30am
509 O’Brian Hall, North Campus

Organized by
Chinese Program in the Department of Linguistics and Confucius Institute, University at Buffalo

Working languages
English and Chinese, preferably English

Keynote speakers
David Honey, Professor of Chinese, Brigham Young University
Lening Liu, Professor of Chinese and Director, Confucius Institute of Chinese Language Pedagogy, Columbia University
Kai Li, Senior Lecturer in Chinese, Oberlin College, Beijing Normal University

Foreign Language Acquisition, Chinese Language Teaching and Teacher Development. Learning Strategies and Learner Autonomy, Language Education in Multilingual Settings, Sociolinguistics, Chinese Language and Culture in the Curriculum, Multilingualism and Multiculturalism, Cross-cultural Studies, Contrastive Linguistics

Discussion topics

a) As University at Buffalo general education requires every student to take global pathway courses:

  • What sorts of Chinese enhanced courses and cultural programs, in addition to traditional Chinese language courses, should be offered to meet the needs of the broadest spectrum and levels of students?
  • How should standard degree programs be designed (e.g., as stand-alone programs or jointly with other degree programs?)

b) Problems and challenges of teaching college students with different language and culture backgrounds

  • How, in this context, should university departments build a Chinese program that will meet the goals of the broadest spectrum of students, while maintaining academic rigor and operating under significant financial constraints?
  • What are the comprehensive pedagogical language teaching skills that a college instructor should acquire?

c) How should a college Chinese program efficiently bridge high school Chinese teaching with university Chinese teaching?

d) What types of study abroad opportunities in China should the university and departments sponsor?

e) What role can a Confucius Institute play in all of these programs?

View the symposium program here. 

Free and open to the public. 
Out-of-town participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodations.
Scholars, students, and teachers of Chinese language, language acquisition, multicultural education, etc. are especially encouraged to attend, as are administrators with responsibility for language and global/multicultural education.

To register:  Complete the registration form and email to by Monday, October 23.

For more information email


October 28, 2017 @ 8:30 am
October 29, 2017 @ 10:30 am


509 O’Brian Hall
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY 14260 United States
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