Center for Taiwan Studies Established at the University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin has launched a Center for Taiwan Studies to further promote interdisciplinary study and research about Taiwan from all perspectives. A memorandum of understanding launching the Center was signed by Robert Fu-wen Lo, Director-General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston, representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Dr. Sonia Feigenbaum, Senior Vice Provost for Global Engagement and Chief International Officer of the University of Texas at Austin on March 22. Prof. Robert Crosnoe, Associate Dean of the university’s College of Liberal Arts; the two Principal Investigators of the new Center: Prof. Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang, a professor in the Department of Asian Studies and the Program in Comparative Literature, and Dr. Lin Tse-Min, an associate professor in the Department of Government in the College of Liberal Arts; and Andrea Shu-Ya Yang, Director of the Education Division of TECO in Houston witnessed the signing.
The Center is built on a solid foundation provided by the Taiwan Studies Program which was established 12 years ago, as a collaboration between the university and Taiwan’s Ministry of Education. The Program has made considerable contributions to the training of the next generation of scholars in Taiwan-related studies. So far, two students have graduated from the Taiwan Studies Program in the Department of Asian Studies with a master’s degree, and twelve have graduated from the Program with a PhD.
Speaking at the signing ceremony Prof. Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang said that since 2009, the Program has offered a total of 42 semester-long courses covering 24 different topics, and related academic support. These were offered at undergraduate level in conjunction with seven departments from three different colleges and at graduate level in the Department of Asian Studies. The Program has given more than 1,000 students opportunities to explore different aspects of Taiwan—including its literature, culture, history, political, and social phenomena—with an intensive, systematic, in-depth approach. Someday in the future, the knowledge they’ve learned on campus will impact political, economic and, academic circles in Texas, and perhaps even the entire United States.
“We will continue to work to enhance the impact of Taiwan Studies on the humanities, social sciences, and other fields” said Dr. Lin Tse-Min, “The motto of the University of Texas at Austin is What starts here changes the world and it is the hope of all that the existence of the Center for Taiwan Studies at the University of Texas at Austin will make a meaningful change to the world.”