Renewed federal grants mean good news for two UO centers

This article was first published in Around the O on Tuesday, November 11.

It's four more years, and that's good news for two University of Oregon centers that deliver education programs for students studying foreign languages and regions, thanks to a new round of funding from the U.S. Department of Education under Title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

The Center for Asian and Pacific Studies retains its high-profile status as a National Resource Center for East Asian Studies — one of 13 so-designated centers — and gets $1.83 million; $978,000 goes to students in Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships.

The Center for Advanced Second Language Studies also retains its standing as one of 16 institutions designated as a federal Language Resource Center. It is the only such center in the Pacific Northwest. CASLS will use its award of $741,282 to fund nine projects in its four cornerstone areas.

Both centers are part of the UO's Global Studies Institute and the Office of International Affairs.

The funding for the UO centers was among 269 federal Title VI grants, totaling $63.4 million, awarded to colleges and universities to strengthen American education in foreign languages, international and area studies, teacher preparation and international business education.

"We've worked very hard here at Oregon to take advantage of our Title VI National Resource Center funding, and the FLAS fellowships are key," said CAPS Director Jeffrey Hanes, a professor of history. "We have many, many qualified students for whom the FLAS fellowships answer dreams, open up new worlds and create professional trajectories."

During the just-ended funding cycle, CAPS had focused on courses related to Korean studies, with scholarships available for undergraduate and graduate students. The new cycle seeks a broader focus.

"Our aspiration is to get more people working across the borders within East Asia and beyond," Hanes said. Such an expansion, he said, fits in well with a growing trend of students who have chosen to study multiple Asian languages and nations.

The new funding will help CAPS support courses on foreign languages and new area studies topics, as well as library acquisitions, K-12 curriculum development and a community college professional development component. Yifang Zhang directs outreach efforts into area schools. 

CAPS also partners with the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and the UO's Digital Scholarship Center. There are now 57 East Asia faculty affiliates in CAPS.

The UO's Center for Advanced Second Language Studies was born in 1994 when founder Carl Falsgraf led a Japanese language project for the Oregon University System. The center's name, originally the Center for Japanese Language Studies, evolved into CASLS in 2001 when it received its first Title VI grant to become the Northwest National Foreign Language Resource Center.

"Receiving Title VI is exciting," said CASLS Director Julie Sykes. "We look forward to continued collaboration with an amazing group of 16 Title VI Language Resource Centers dedicated to supporting the teaching and learning of second, foreign and heritage languages around the country. With this financial support, CASLS will create, implement, evaluate and deliver high-quality resources to support language learning along the K-20 continuum."

—By Jim Barlow, Public Affairs Communications