English Language Program welcomes scholars

Visiting Scholars

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – As part of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville English Language Program’s first customized program of its kind, six visiting chemistry scholars from China are partnering with the university in efforts to ultimately offer bilingual chemistry courses when they return home. With the help of structured framework, the scholars are learning to adjust to life not only at UW-Platteville, but in the Platteville community as well.

Since they arrived on Dec. 29, the scholars from China’s South Central University for Nationalities have been introduced to many of UW-Platteville’s classes and resources. The visitors have met with numerous chemistry professors and are observing their classes.

“They’re not here to learn chemistry,” Dr. Farzana Marni, chemistry coordinator of the project, said. “They are here to improve their chemistry vocabulary in English and to be familiar with effective teaching methodologies. Their ultimate goal is to develop a chemistry curriculum in English for their bilingual program which will open the door for further collaboration between two institutes.”

The Chinese faculty are expected to actively participate within the chemistry department, engage with the English Language Program’s sessions and attend additional seminars throughout their stay. By the time their visit comes to a close on June 30, the scholars are expected to give one-hour presentations about their visit and submit final reports on their observations of courses, lectures, curriculum and course development.

“The entire chemistry department and the Dean of EMS, Molly Gribb, have been very welcoming and have made an effort to remain involved with the program,” Marni said. “Our chemistry faculty want the scholars to experience as much as possible in their time here.”

In addition to observing lectures, the Chinese visitors have also started working within the community. Since one of the scholars is a well-known ballroom dancer, she will be teaching dance classes. Another scholar specializes in food science and will be partnering with Platteville’s Driftless Market.

“We want to help our scholars find their sense of place while giving back to the community,” Mela Lewandowski, coordinator of UW-Platteville’s English Language Program, said. “We’re better together than we are apart.”

“I wish to become a bridge to increase the friendship between China and USA people,” visiting scholar Lianqing Chen added.

The scholars have also received a schedule that offers weekly topics and content at various locations around campus and in the community. Some of the locations include the Platteville Public Library, Platteville High School, UW-Platteville’s Chancellor’s Office and Pioneer Farm. After each visit, the scholars will complete exploration questions to help focus on reflection and discussion.

“We want this project to receive as much exposure as possible,” Lewandowski said. “Not only are the scholars on campus, but they’re woven throughout the community. These interactions will help provide the community with a cross-cultural understanding and strengthen some of our business partnerships.”

If this customized program is deemed successful, both Marni and Lewandowski have high hopes for future international opportunities. From additional partnerships and collaborative research with the South Central University for Nationalities, to an increase in variety of UW-Platteville’s customized programs, there are numerous possibilities for expansion.

“This is a pioneer project,” Marni said. “As the weeks go on, we will be able to take what we have learned and make the necessary changes in order to provide the scholars and our faculty with even more positive outcomes.”

As for the scholars, they seem to be enjoying their time in Platteville. “I like UW-Platteville,” Jiawen Lei said. “It will be an unforgettable memory in my whole life. I think I’ve come to a right place.”

To learn more about customized programming opportunities offered by UW-Platteville’s English Language program, visit www.uwplatt.edu/elp/customized-programming.

Written by: Amanda Bertolozzi, Writer/Editor, Communications, 608-342-7121, bertolozzia@uwplatt.edu

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