USF World News
Confucius Institute Says Hello and Good-bye
June 28, 2011
At the end of July, USF World will bid a fond farewell to Professor Xiaomei Zu of the Confucius Institute. After two and half years spent teaching Chinese language and culture at USF, Prof. Zu will return to China where she will resume her teaching position at Nankai University.
Her second visit to the United States, Prof. Zu first visited the U.S. as a visiting scholar at the University of Louisville where she spent two years. When asked why she chose to come back with the Confucius Institute, Prof. Zu says she felt she could contribute to the main mission of the CI, which is to promote Chinese language and culture across the world.
Talking about leaving USF, Prof. Zu says, “I have mixed feelings. I wish I could do more.” A professor of inter-cultural communications, Dr. Zu teaches graduate and undergraduate classes at Nankai University. She says her experience in the U.S. has given her the exposure to understand her area of expertise better. Her research interests involve pedagogy, language acquisition and teaching methods related to teaching Chinese language as a foreign language. Through the Confucius Institute, she works closely with Dr. Eric Shepherd whose innovative teaching methods are making the news across education platforms in the United States. Moreover, she finds the ease and extent of access to research and reference materials is a pleasant surprise. “People here have a different way of doing things. I learn from people’s work ethic and here, I can concentrate on teaching and research; there are no distractions.”
Having been here the longest among CI’s visiting faculty, Dr. Zu has seen the Confucius Institute grow from being a new global initiative to a well-established facility within USF World and the Tampa Bay community. Most recently, the Confucius Institute has reached out to the efforts of K-12 Chinese learning and put its best foot forward in facilitating workshops and educational trips to China, setting up of the first Confucius Classroom at a local high school and hosting competitions that have given USF students the opportunity to create an international impact. “I feel a sense of achievement,” says Prof. Zu.
As a teacher, there is a sense of excitement when Prof. Zu talks about her students. She explains the difference between students in China who are docile and quiet in class and students in the U.S. who are interactive in class and not hesitant to engage in conversation. “I feel like most students in my class are motivated, classes are interactive here,” she says. She enjoys the energetic environment and learns about American culture from her students.
On returning to China, Prof. Zu is looking forward to going back. Although Tampa has been home to her for two and a half years, she misses her friends, family and colleagues and is anxious to get back in touch with the latest advancements in her area of research.
She wishes the CI and USF World well and hopes to return one day in the future to see what strides have been made.
Welcoming Drs. Wang & Hu
As USF World says its goodbyes to Prof. Zu, it extends a warm welcome to two of the Confucius Institute’s newest members, Dr. Jingrong Wang and Dr. Mingzhao Hu.
Dr. Jingrong Wang
The newly appointed Associate Director of the Confucius Institute, Dr. Wang is an associate professor in the College of Chinese Language and Culture at Nankai University. With a PhD. in Chinese Grammar and an M.A. in Bilingual Education from Xinjiang University, Dr. Wang has been teaching Chinese language and culture to students from other countries since 2001.
Dr. Mingzhao Hu
A lecturer in the College of Chinese Language and Culture at Nankai University, Dr. Hu has been teaching non-native students Chinese language and culture for the last three years. Holding a doctorate degree in Chinese history from Beijing University, Dr. Hu will be teaching a course on Chinese cinema in Fall 2011.