Campus: LONG BEACH -- July 13, 2006

CSULB Receives $368,158 Grant for Project that Addresses Need for Qualified Chinese Language Teachers

The Freeman Foundation has awarded California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) a two-year, $368,158 grant for a project that will work to address the urgent need for credentialed Chinese language teachers in California schools.

Titled "Addressing the Need for Qualified Chinese Teachers in the Schools," the CSULB project is under the direction of Tim Xie, an associate professor of Asian and Asian American studies and a national leader in Chinese language teaching. He is also chair of the Chinese SAT Committee for the College Board and editor of the newsletter of the Chinese Language Teachers Association.

"The shortage of qualified teachers of Chinese in the schools has reached crisis levels in the United States," said Xie. "A recent survey found that 2,400 schools across the nation intend to offer Chinese language courses, and the introduction of Chinese AP courses in 2006 will only increase the demand for qualified instructors. Yet, nationwide, only a few programs to train Chinese language instructors currently exist. The state of California, with perhaps the greatest need for Chinese in the schools, has no approved teacher preparation programs in Chinese."

According to Xie, enrollments in Chinese in college have increased dramatically in the last few years, but the length of study needed to achieve professional proficiency in Chinese means that college language programs alone cannot generally meet these levels. Strong Chinese language instruction in the middle and high school grades is critical, he said.

"It is our mission to promote Chinese language and culture as one of the strategic languages in the United States. CSULB has a good single subject credential program in the College of Education and a strong Chinese studies program in the College of Liberal Arts," Xie pointed out. "So far, there are only three Cal State universities -- East Bay, Los Angeles and Long Beach -- that are willing to credential Chinese teachers. And, there is virtually no Chinese LOTE (a secondary teaching credential in a 'Language Other Than English') program in California. It is time for us to play a leading role now."

The project has three goals: 1) recruit more student to join the CSULB single subject credential program to become Chinese teachers by offering scholarship; 2) develop Chinese LOTE Subject Matter Preparation Program that must be approved by the California Teacher Credential Commission; 3) work with local communities to help candidate pass CBEST and CSET, two qualification tests for teachers.

Two other strategies of the project include working with schools to expand the levels of Chinese instruction to more high schools and middle schools, thereby increasing the "pipeline" for Chinese, and collaborating with other campuses in the Los Angeles basin to offer intensive summer and online courses in Chinese to increase the number of students entering university programs in Chinese with higher proficiency levels and as potential credential students.

"Cal State Long Beach is one of only three universities in the state that offers both a major in Chinese and a teaching credential program in foreign language," noted Dee Abrahamse, CSULB provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. "We believe our campus is uniquely qualified to address this critical shortage, and we are grateful to the Freeman Foundation for giving us an opportunity to do something about it."

The Freeman Foundation was established in 1994 through the bequest and in memory of the businessman and benefactor Mansfield Freeman, a co-founder of the international insurance and financial conglomerate American International Group, Inc., better known as AIG. This private and philanthropic foundation is dedicated to augmenting international understanding between the United States and the nations of East Asia. It accomplishes this principally through the distribution of grants in the educational sector. The foundation, which grants about $50 million every year to various organizations and institutions, is committed to increasing, strengthening, and popularizing the teaching of Asia in university classrooms.

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