Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Confucius Institute?
As China's economy and exchanges with the world have grown rapidly, there also has been a sharp increase in the world's demands for Chinese learning. Benefiting from the experiences of the UK, France, Germany and Spain in promoting their national languages, China began its own exploration through establishing nonprofit public institutions in 2004 called Confucius Institutes that promote Chinese language and culture in foreign countries.
Confucius Institutes/Classrooms adopt flexible teaching patterns and adapt to local conditions when teaching the Chinese language and promoting Chinese culture in foreign universities, primary schools, secondary schools and communities.
Where is the Confucius Institute at K-State?
The Confucius Institute at K-State will be on the second floor of the Wildcat Landing office complex, 1800 Claflin Road, Manhattan, KS 66502. The institute is close to residence halls as well as office buildings and classroom buildings of several colleges at K-State. This makes it convenient for students to contact and connect with the faculty and staff. With its offices in the same building as the Office of International Programs' newly-built Language Laboratory and Technology Classrooms, the Confucius Institute at K-State has access to all the technology facilities, including classrooms, a laboratory and media rooms.
Why is a Confucius Institute beneficial to K-State and the state of Kansas?
First, establishing the Confucius Institute at K-State is consistent with the current interests in China from Kansas. The institute will connect and engage the community in a greater understanding of China, the Chinese people and culture, and the Chinese language. This will impact not only the current generation, but also generations to come. The establishment of Confucius Institutes in the U.S. helps to build bridges of understanding between two great countries and trading partners to create, educate and promote relationships to better foster peace and understanding. The Confucius Institute will build upon Kansas business and industry partnerships to not only promote the opportunity to engage with Chinese language and culture, but also to open the door to potential economic development relationships between Kansas and our new international colleagues.
The Kansas Department of Commerce indicates that Canada, China, Mexico and Japan were the state’s top four export markets in 2013. Exports to China increased by 46.24 percent — and have grown considerably since 2011. China has moved from the fifth largest export market for Kansas in 2010 to second place in 2013. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback visited China in July 2013, accompanied by business and agricultural leaders, because his administration realizes the importance of sustained connections between the two countries. A Confucius Institute is an important opportunity for the two universities involved to recruit, market and educate our students, community, business and government leaders to become global citizens by gaining a greater understanding of how the two countries are vital trading partners.
Our global age requires, as a matter of economic viability, safety and stability, students who are competent in understanding the complexities of an interdependent world. The establishment of Confucius Institutes on college campuses brings significant exposure to the Chinese culture that becomes a part of a student’s college experience. Establishing a Confucius Institute at Kansas State University will play a major role in increasing student and scholarly exchange as well as adding to academic and cultural enrichment by contributing to the global education of students in both countries.
Second, K-State’s Chinese language program can benefit from the Confucius Institute.
In 2013, Kansas State University hired a tenure-track professor in Chinese for the first time, which adds to the growth of the university's Chinese language program. This professor was hired outside of the university’s three traditional language programs that offer master's degrees: German, French and Spanish. The Confucius Institute will be instrumental in developing a major in the Chinese language in addition to the existing Chinese minor. As an independent unit, the Confucius Institute will work closely with the programs in modern languages, history, geography, fine arts and music to provide teachers and courses in Chinese language, culture, literature, history, art and economics.
The Confucius Institute at K-State can help U.S. students who want to study Chinese language and culture so that they may get China-related jobs or study and work in China. The establishment of the institute at K-State will create a sustainable long-term partnership for the university community and be an instructional anchor for the central, southern and western regions in the state of Kansas for teaching and learning Chinese language through face-to-face language classes and culture event tours.
Third, K-State's East Asia Studies program also will benefit from the Confucius Institute.
The East Asian studies minor program in the College of Arts & Sciences, initiated with the support of a Title VI A grant from the U.S. Department of Education, began accepting students in fall 2005. Completion of the minor requires study of the Chinese or Japanese language through the fourth semester, plus four elective courses taken in history, geography, political science and economics. Nineteen students have completed the East Asian studies minor so far, and interest is growing, which would be greatly increased with the infusion of activities from the Confucius Institute. The establishment of the Confucius Institute at K-State will be instrumental in developing an Area Studies Center with an emphasis in culture and history by providing research funding support to K-State faculty and students in the area of East Asian studies.
Fourth, K-State’s Confucius Institute is specialized in animal health, food safety and agro-security
The Confucius Institute at K-State is specialized with an additional focus on animal health, public health, food safety and agriculture security. Both Kansas State University and Jilin University have strong research and educational programs in animal health, public health, food safety and agriculture security. For example, both universities have a college of veterinary medicine, and both colleges have excellent research and educational programs in animal health and public health, including zoonotic disease research. K-State is home to the Biosecurity Research Institute, or BRI, that can be used for research on biosafety level-3 diseases such as classical swine fever, swine high fever disease and avian influenza, all of which are very important to the Chinese animal health community. The Confucius Institute at K-State can serve as a stable platform for long-term scientific collaboration in these areas for scientists from K-State and Jilin University.
What does the Confucius Institute at K-State plan to do specifically?
The institute will accomplish its mission through the following programs and activities:
1. Chinese language programs. In partnership with the university's modern languages fepartment, the Confucius Institute at K-State will contribute to the development of a Chinese language major at the university by providing necessary teaching resources and subject expertise. In addition, the institute will develop Chinese language classes to reach community members and K-State students who are not enrolled in the Chinese language minor.
2. Culture tour in China. To stimulate interest in Chinese language and culture, the Confucius Institute at K-State will:
a. Work with the Office of International Programs to organize study abroad tours not only for students and faculty, but also for businesses, community members and families. These trips will offer credit and noncredit options, classes at Jilin University, visits to other Confucius Institutes, and visits to important historical and cultural sites in China.
b. Work with the K-State Alumni Association and its Traveling Wildcats program to enrich lifelong learning experiences with trips that explore the beauty, history and culture of handpicked destinations in the United States and across the globe. Discussions will be underway with the alumni association to consider China as a destination for this group.
3. Chinese cultural outreach activities.
a. The Confucius Institute at K-State will partner with K-State Global Campus to offer public classes and workshops on various aspects of Chinese culture, such as calligraphy, qigong, tai chi, Chinese sports, Chinese for business, Chinese arts and crafts, Chinese opera and Chinese movies. These public classes will be offered for noncredit and credit and will make a significant contribution to the local community, as well as generate revenue to support the Confucius Institute at K-State. Students wishing to earn credit will be required to attend lectures on various aspects of Chinese culture.
b. The Confucius Institute at K-State will actively engage in on campus venues that offer the institute clear visibility. These opportunities include the All-University Open House; Union Program Council art shows and other programming; student movie nights at the K-State Student Union; international student association clubs and organizations; International Student and Scholar Services Center activities; college and university faculty programming; and visiting scholar and event activities.
4. International symposia and technology exchange activities focusing on animal health and agro-security.
Kanas State University and Jilin University are well known for excellence in many academic areas, including Asia and Northeast Asia studies, animal health, public health, food safety and biosecurity and agro-security. Because these research topics are of interest to scientists in both countries, the Confucius Institute will partner with relevant parties to organize, facilitate and host international conferences and symposia on topics related to the aforementioned academic areas as well as Chinese language and cultural studies.
What is K-State Confucius Institute’s Chinese Partner Institute?
The Kansas State University Confucius Institute’s Chinese partner is Jilin University, or JLU, in Changchun, Jilin Province. Founded in 1946, JLU is one of the key universities under the direct aegis of the Ministry of Education of China. In 2000, the former Jilin University merged with four other universities, namely Jilin University of Technology, Norman Bethune Medical University, Changchun University of Science and Technology, and Changchun College of Posts and Communications. In 2004, the former University of Military Logistics also became part of Jilin University. The mergers created the largest university in China by enrollment. Today, JLU is home to 68,193 full-time students, of which 24,365 are in graduate programs, 42,349 are undergraduates and 2,000 are international students.
JLU offers all 13 categories of academic disciplines in China, including philosophy, economics, law, education, literature, history, science, engineering, agriculture, medicine, management, military science and fine arts. It offers 124 undergraduate programs, 44 Class One doctoral programs, 299 master’s programs, 237 doctoral programs and 41 postdoc programs.