2002 Student-Faculty Fellows: Central College
China: Individual Projects
Mentor: Chia Ning, Department of History
Students: Katharine Jane Dorn ’02; Michelle Joy Foutty ’05; Jacob Michael Greiner ’04; Adam Jacob Swisher ’04; Cindra Visser ’04;
Abstracts of Reflections and/or Research
The ASIANetwork Freeman Fellowship opportunity marks a turning point in my professional development. It sheds new light on my future as an educator as well as a scholar. My role as faculty mentor for students conducting research in five different academic fields greatly enriched my life and has a tremendous impact upon my academic career. As I helped the students do their research, I gained knowledge in the various academic disciplines. In this process, I established new teaching and research prospects. From the application to the accomplishment of the fellowship research in China, a change has taken place in my teaching philosophy which is to shift me from expertise-oriented professional development to student-centered professional development. This change meets the call of our time for the growing interest in China and East Asia by the students on and beyond Central College campus. I am proud of making efforts to engage students in various liberal arts’ disciplines into Asian Studies. The ASIANetwork Freeman fellowship program granted me the wonderful opportunity to fulfill this responsibility.
Kathryn Jane Dorn
Media Regulation in China: How Accurately is Media Reflecting the Public Sphere?
My time in China was a period of personal growth and reflection. I experienced things I had never experienced-from interviewing executives in Xinhua news agency to eating pigeon. The views I have gained from those I interviewed were views not very often presented in academic books or journals, so I am very thankful for the opportunity to experience research in the best environment possible-talking with those directly involved with my research in their own culture. My experience in China helped me reflect on the differences between people, and in my moments of personal reflection I realized that as humans we are more alike than different. There is a common thread present among all people. I am thankful for the opportunity to conduct in the most ideal setting imaginable, alongside some of the kindest and most giving individuals I have ever met.
Research Abstract: While researching in China, I gained multiple new resources from interviews, cultural and educational visits, and library collections. I discovered a new understanding of the way media functions in China, as well as opened my mind to the different approaches to media, which are present. While learning from my experience, I developed new questions in my mind, as well as discovered new approaches to my old questions. In the process of searching for the answers to my new questions, I was able to move my research to a more elevated level. I could ask the deeper, more insightful questions and gain instant knowledge from those I was interviewing, which is much more gratifying than reading a book. It was nice that I did not have to search for extended periods of time for an answer to something which another person, in a different situation and location, has firsthand knowledge.
Michelle Joy Foutty
English Education in Chinese Schools
The trip to China was my first trip overseas, as well as the beginning of the many travels I will have to undertake as a Linguistics/International Studies student. I learned so many things that will benefit me in the future, and acquired many experiences that have changed the way I think of the world outside of the U.S. Looking back on the trip now I wish I could have done so much more; just being amongst the Chinese for a month surely isn’t adequate time for completely understanding such a different culture. The trip in June increased my awareness of China’s depravity of English teachers, bringing with it opportunities I couldn’t even conceive in my dream: the opportunity to teach overseas. So, needless to say, I plan on going back to not only benefit myself and further my career, but to make a difference in the lives of the little children who rely on me for their own futures as well.
Research Abstract: While in China, I made many trips to different schools of all levels, interviewing teachers, students, and parents. At Zhejiang University, I had many opportunities to talk with my advisor, Dr. Ma Qun, about issues of teaching English to Chinese children. I visited the English classes in Kindergarten, and actually taught several classes to Chinese students of various ages at Mary’s English School of Hangzhou. At Mary’s English School, I also held an interview session for the parents of students. I participated in Zhejiang University’s English Club and engaged in good conversation with the Chinese students in the English programs. In the City of Nanjing, I had a long interview with a University professor who has taught English for over twenty years. In Beijing, I attended evening English classes at the Xindongfang English School for children of different age
Jacob Michael Greiner
Chinese Water Quality: Investigating an International Problem
Amazing, wonderful, outstanding… these adjectives plus many more can be used to describe my overall experience in China. From the moment I landed in China to our final moments in the Beijing airport, I was given many opportunities to learn and ultimately grow because of the many experiences (related to my research and the Chinese culture) I had. Honestly, my tenure in China was probably the best five weeks of my life despite many challenges and difficulties that were accompanied by numerous triumphs and positive experiences. Many of these triumphs and positive experiences were related to my research topic. I believe my experiences will help more people understand the unique environmental situation that exists in China. My eyes were opened by these experiences, and I hope that my final report will be able to adequately describe and portray my experiences in China. We, as the American people, have much to learn about China and their unique struggles with environmental issues.
Research Abstract: Despite my initial thought, the Chinese people are very much aware of environmental problems that surround their daily lives; they have even come to accept them as normal. For example, it is a natural part of their lives to boil their water before they drink it, not every family will own a car or their family will only have one child. These are facts of life for the Chinese, but they aspire for much more. This aspiration has turned many discussions about the environment in China towards sustainable development. How can China raise its status of being a developing country without its people living in a terrible environment? This is the complicated question that the Chinese government, in collaboration with the Chinese people, is trying to answer. Parts of the solution are the incorporation of foreign environmental technology, better environmental planning and better analysis of the current environmental conditions facing China. In order to start tackling individual environmental problems, a national consensus must be reached that will guide sustainable development and prevent new environmental issues from arising.
Adam Jacob Swisher
Exploring the Chi: Medical Research in China
I believe that this trip will greatly influence my future, as well as my career. The five weeks that I spent in China provided substantial evidence that the Chinese medications do work. From my research I have realized how important it is to be able to effectively use more than one form of medical treatment. There are certain medical applications that work better than others. For this reason I believe that it would be in the best interests of my patients and for all of the citizens in the United States to have the best possible treatments accessible to them at all times. Hence, I plan to return to China and enroll at the medical university in Beijing in order to practice Chinese medicine in the United States.
Research Abstract: Through my research I have begun to realize the importance of doctors throughout the world. Today people are more dependent on doctors than they have ever been. This point was made very clear as I made observations in all of the medical clinics in China. Through my investigation into Traditional Chinese Medicine, I found that the treatment had substantial effects upon the patients receiving treatment. I was able to understand how the patients were diagnosed, but I was unable to research how the herbal treatments were able to heal the ailing Chi in the dysfunctional area of the body. I believe it would take a lot of research to be able to completely understand the physiological effects of the medications.
The Women of China: “Holding Up Half the Sky”
My experience in China taught me many things not only about Chinese women, but also about the Chinese people. My primary goal was to learn how the women of China deal with their stress and what resources are available to them in the form of counseling. In the process, I learned about the cultural norms for reaching out for emotional support across gender and ages. This trip also taught me that women all over the world are concerned about their families, their country and the welfare of their sisters in other countries. I formed a bond with women in China that I will never forget. I am a better woman for having gone on this research experience.
Research abstract: In China I had several interviews to discover the situation of women and their relationships, and also how they deal with stress. I interviewed mothers and daughters together, women in management and leadership, women from the Woman’s Association, radio call in show hosts, hotline workers and assistant director of a hotline, doctors in psychiatric hospitals, and woman professors. I also observed women in public and watched interaction between women with women and women with men. As I learned new things in my interviews and studies, this allowed me to adapt my questions and readings to better focus my questions and research. I also picked up materials in China that I could bring back with me to the United States for further study. I learned of beneficial web sites that women professionals use in China to find out information on women’s issue
Venues for Sharing
Upon my return from China, I contacted the International Education Office (IEO) to plan events for sharing our group’s China experience on campus. Together with IEO, we designated China Week on campus for September 9-13, 2002. During that week, we gave presentations at the faculty meeting and the information meeting for students interested in studying in China, shared our experiences with all on-campus students, and set up displays with items and pictures we brought back from China at various locations on campus. We hope that these activities will assist the IEO in recruiting students to participate in Central College’s China exchange program in Spring 2003. Throughout the academic year, we will also go to different classes to talk about our experiences and help other students to develop an interest in the study of China and Asia.
I have developed a powerpoint presentation of photos from our summer research trip. This presentation has been and will continue to be used for my classroom teaching and for other campus events to increase students’ knowledge of China. Using this file, I have produced several poster boards with enlarged images of our experience in China and am displaying these posters in six buildings on Central’s campus. After the period of display of these posters, I plan to distribute the photos to the International Education Office, the Admission Office, and the Office of Service Learning.
Central College has just added new environmental studies curriculum. Jacob Greiner’s research in Chinese environmental studies has been scheduled to contribute to the new classes in this field.