USF Gets a Confucius Institute

Here’s a story from a couple weeks ago that I didn’t get around to blogging until now. The University of South Florida, in my hometown, Tampa Bay, is going to play host to scholars from Nankai University from here in my adopted hometown, Tianjin. The St. Pete Times has the goods:

Vice provost Ralph Wilcox is in China today to sign agreements with Chinese government and education officials. The institute for Chinese language and culture will open on USF’s main campus in February, when professors from Nankai University in Tianjin arrive.

It will be the only Confucius Institute in Florida, and among 30 established in the United States during the past three years. The institutes aim to boost Americans’ understanding of the language and culture of China, one of the world’s fastest-growing countries and largest economies.

USF’s institute, for example, will provide Chinese language instruction for K-12 teachers. Its instructors will incorporate Chinese culture lessons into a variety of classes – including business, public health and geography, said international affairs dean Maria Crummett.

The Chinese government will give USF $100,000 a year for the institute’s first few years, plus 3,000 volumes for the USF library, Wilcox said. Also, Nankai University will send three professors to teach at USF the first year. And USF has budgeted $200,000 of its own for the first year to cover the salary of a part-time director and a support staff, as well as three campus offices that will serve as the institute’s headquarters for now.

As a loyal FSU Seminole I would’ve rather seen Tallahassee get the institute, but at least it didn’t go to to the Gators. Boo hiss. If nothing else, if/when I move back to Tampa Bay, I now know where I could go to audit some Chinese language courses in the future.