Return to Portfolio Home

China Diary

Posted: 01/25/2009

Skidmore in China

With the beginning of the Chinese New Year Monday, January 26, we shift our focus to the other side of the world and send our greetings to the 14 members of the Class of ’08 who are teaching English and Western culture at five universities there. Since they began their assignments in August shortly after the Olympics, they’ve been sharing their experiences in a group blog, China Diary

This is the twentieth year of the Teaching in China program, which was started by retired English professor Murray Levith in cooperation with Qufu University during his sabbatical in 1987-88. The College embraced his proposal to establish a formal exchange and sent a first contingent of new graduates in 1989-90.

In addition to their long-standing practice of hiring Skidmore alums to teach English, each of the five universities also would like to develop with Skidmore short-term travel and study exchanges that would bring their students to Skidmore during the summer as well as professorial exchange programs, said program director Sandy Welter, who recently returned from a tour of the participating institutions.

They’re also increasing their demand for teachers. Welter plans to fill as many as 20 slots this year, the most in the program’s history. The College of Translation and Interpretation at Sun yat-Sen University alone wants to hire eight Skidmore teachers this August, up from just two this year.

“There’s a sense of oppportunity in the minds of most Chinese,” says Welter. “The fact that they have more funding for these positions shows that the Chinese government is backing this cultural and language opportunity.”

Here are the participating institutions and members of the Class of ’08 who are teaching at each:

China University of Petroleum: Andrew Bockus, Fred Braunstein, Dana Marett and Erin McAvoy

Qufu Normal University: Lucy Crouppen, Eliza Rosler

Shengli College: Stephanie Block, Natalie Singer

Sun Yat-sen University: Carrie von Glahn, Travis Roe-Raymond

Xintan College: Nick Collins-Feay, Olivia Janczyk, Rachel Schulman, Karrin Varucene