USF World News

Second Annual USF K-16 Chinese Conference a Great Success
March 2, 2012

On February 24th, about 160 teachers of Chinese and 40 school administrators gathered at the Patel Center of the University of South Florida for the second annual conference on K-16 Chinese. This time, the USF Confucius Institute collaborated with Asia Society (which brought 90 teachers from 22 states), and made it a national event. Other partners for the conference include USF World, USF World Languages, USF College of Education, MDC Confucius Institute, Florida Department of Education, and Florida Chinese Teachers Association.

The conference participants were welcomed by Dr. Karen Holbrook (Senior Vice President for Research, Innovation and Global Affairs, USF) and Lori Rodriguez (Bureau Chief for Language Acquisition, Florida Department of Education). The General Session in the morning had two keynote speakers: Dr. Eric Shepherd from USF and Dr. Wei-ling Wu from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School in New Jersey. Kun Shi and Chris Livaccari introduced resources of the USF Confucius Institute and Asia Society.

Just before lunch, all participants enjoyed performances by two USF students (Misty Sirine and Tina Danh), two Pine View School students (Maggie Higgins and Veronica Hernandez) and one Safety Harbor Middle School student (Jackilyn Mcquilkin). They were impressed by the language proficiency of these students.

The afternoon Track A session was for K-16 teacher professional development, and the speakers were ChiaChyi Chiu, Xizhen Qin, Eric Shepherd, Wei-ling Wu and Meng Yeh. (Some of the presentations are available here.) Track B session was for school administrators, and the panelists included Janet Kucerik, Chris Livaccari, Yee-chen Robson, Kun Shi, Phil Smith and Xuejun Yu. Dr. Hsiang-te Kung from University of Memphis also shared his insights. (Dr. Kung delivered the CI lecture on US-China Relations the previous day to 49 USF students and faculty.)

Based on the evaluation feedback, the participants were very positive about the conference. Both teachers and administrators expressed they gained tremendously from the presenters and the networking opportunity. Many are already looking forward to next year’s annual conference. We are pleased that the conference has become a platform for teachers and administrators in Florida to improve their Chinese language programs.