Chinese Flagship Program funded for another 4 years

Gabrielle Bunton

The federal funding for the Chinese Flagship program at WKU has been renewed for 2020 through 2024.

According to the WKU website, the four-year provides funding to create programming and provide scholarships for students. 

Since 2009, this has been the fourth time the program has renewed its federal funding. Dr. Ke Peng, academic director of Chinese Flagship and associate professor of Chinese, said after these next four years, funding will be more important.

“With the changes in higher education and the institutional level, I think the funding will help secure the program and ensure that we have the funds to hire faculty and staff and to support the students. The stability of the funding means a lot for us,” said Peng. 

Since the pandemic, the program has faced ups and downs. While the program is centered around student involvement, many of the community based and hands-on experiences had to be canceled or altered. 

“The pandemic decreases the amount of events we can host during the spring semester as well as our big endeavors during the fall semester,” said Peng.

Tutoring sessions were also a challenge in the spring. The sessions helped students study the language further and the program brought in speakers from China and Taiwan to help tutor the students. This spring the speakers were forced to return to their home countries and develop other methods of communication with the students.

The program has been able to work around the obstacles by moving to a virtual format. Peng said the program has still reached its objectives. “ We can still carry out the program and fulfill the needs of all students,” said Peng.

With the current situation between China and the U.S increasing in tension after President Donald Trump made the move to ban Tik Tok and give sanctions to Chinese and Hong Kong officials, Peng said that it has become even more important for WKU students and people in general to learn Chinese. 

“They will learn the culture, learn the language and learn how to connect with one another,” said Peng.