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Indiana University

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EASC Newsletter

A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

November 2007

Director’s Letter

Writing this introduction sometimes feels like compiling one of those chatty holiday missives in which we share the year’s highlights with family and friends. Some achievements really are worth celebrating. Superlatives have their rightful place. Yet, not every EASC event, any more than every family vacation, can be a stand-out. It’s the balance of our accomplishments that add up to a satisfying, stimulating year.

With no year-end exaggeration, three events of 2007 will shape EASC priorities into the future. I’m afraid we can’t take credit for the first two: IUB’s North Central Association re-accreditation, and the inauguration of Michael McRobbie as IU’s 18th president on 18 October 2007 (East Asian numerologists take note). IUB’s accreditation report focuses particularly on the challenges the university will face in sustaining and strengthening “a cosmopolitan campus in a changing world.” The report identifies East Asia as a priority geographic region for enhanced teaching, learning, and research opportunities. In his inaugural address, President McRobbie likewise emphasized the critical importance to IU of knowledge about and engagement with East Asia, and his first trip abroad as president will be to China.

Institutional recognition of the importance of East Asia to IU’s educational enterprise has provided an energized context for our most important undertaking this year, the first external review of EASC since 1993. Preparation for the review began over a year ago with discussions among the EASC executive committee and other faculty members about our mission, successes, challenges, and short, medium, and long term goals. A survey developed in the spring of 2007 was distributed to solicit opinions about how well EASC served faculty needs. Based on our collective reflections, I drafted a director’s report summarizing EASC’s development, goals, programs, and resources, and a list of recommendations and suggestions to guide the review process. Finally, from November 6-9, EASC students, staff, faculty, administrators, and colleagues representing the diversity of international studies at IU met with an exceptionally well-qualified external review team, including Stan Rosen, Professor of Political Science and director of the East Asian Studies Center at USC; Barbara Brooks, Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies and director or the Japan Initiative at City College of New York; and Mark Csikszentmihalyi, Associate Professor and chair of East Asian Languages and Literature at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The review team has broadly considered what campus resources and support have been and will be crucial to our vital missions of linking academic resources with K-12, business and professional communities, and of creating opportunities for faculty and students from diverse disciplines to come together for innovative scholarship and learning. They have helped us evaluate, among many other questions, whether our current mix of research and outreach programs and accompanying EASC staff effort are appropriate and serving all of our constituencies and our overall mission well. We anticipate receiving their report on these and other issues within the next several weeks. I look forward to sharing the report, and its implications for EASC priorities and programs, with you in the near future.

Until then, enjoy this newsletter, good luck with the last few weeks of the semester—and Happy Holidays!

Heidi Ross
Director, EASC