China Semester coming in fall of 2007

Now that the France Semester events are over with it is time to start planning for next fall’s themed semester.

Next fall will be the China Semester and the first meeting of the planning committee will be in January.

Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute of International Studies, said the first step in planning is to form the committee.

“It’s primarily a faculty committee, but the last two years or so we’ve had some student members,” Stebbins said. “We are really interested in finding out the student’s perspective. So we’ll try to identify a few students who really have an interest in China.”

He said there are already several faculty members interested in being on the committee but having a student’s perspective will make for a better committee.

At first, the committee will reevaluate how the France Semester went. They will go over what went right and what could have been done better.

One contribution to the France Semester’s success was the Eiffel Tower in the Oval.

“It was kind of a conversation piece,” Stebbins said. “Just one way of announcing a hundred times a day, this is the France Semester or this is the China Semester.

“You couldn’t walk by the Eiffel Tower without thinking about France and the France Semester.

So that helps to have a symbol out there that’s constantly put before the student’s minds.”

Stebbins hopes next year that Don Shultz and his students, who built the Eiffel Tower this year, will build something relating to China to help remind students of the themed semester.

Other subjects the committee will discuss are speakers for next fall.

First members will have to bring up specific names of speakers and the topics the speakers will discuss. Then the committee will approve the speaker according to whether the subject will fit with the theme of the semester.

“We try to analyze a country from every possible angle,” Stebbins said. “What do our students need to know about this particular region. The history of China, the culture, even the lack of religious freedom could be a topic. We try to have something for everyone, even though that’s not always possible.”

He said China won’t be a real hard sell because everyone realizes China is on the way to becoming the dominant country of the 21st century.

“We’re only six years into the century and China is already one of the few superpowers, so I think people are interested,” Stebbins said. “The cultural events, the concerts and films, are always very popular.

“But I’m sure a lot of programming will deal with the Chinese business community.

How American companies can do business in China. The situation of China and Taiwan and what the future will hold there. So there are a number of really burning questions that we’ll try to address.”

For information on the China Semester persons may contact Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute of International Studies at 625-9736.