"This grant is critical to our continuing to take educational advantage of Linfield's location on the Pacific Rim," said Marvin Henberg, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty. "We have a special obligation to provide enhanced opportunities to study the languages and cultures of this area."
Linfield currently offers minors in Japanese language and a minor in Asian studies. This grant will help the college develop a Japanese language major, by funding an additional faculty member in Japanese. That, in turn, will strengthen the Asian studies program, which has deep roots on campus. In addition to Japanese, the Asian studies program provides Chinese language study and courses offered in the Departments of History, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology and Anthropology, Business, Nursing, Health Sciences and Physics.
In addition to allowing the college to offer a Japanese language major, Henberg said that adding a second faculty member in Japanese will expand the range of Asian culture courses that can be offered without a language prerequisite.
Linfield has Pacific Rim connections that go back more than a quarter of a century. The college has had an exchange program with Kanto Gakuin University in Yokohama, Japan, since 1976 in which 10 to 15 KGU students study at Linfield fall semester while eight to nine Linfield students study at KGU. A program with Wenzhou Teachers' College in Wenzhou, China, provides for a visiting scholar to come to Linfield each year. That individual teaches one class in Chinese language and another on a topic based on their field of interest. In addition, the visiting scholars also give talks in the community and sometimes work with Linfield faculty on research. During January each year, Linfield has at least one course, and often more, which involves travel and study in Asia.