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Bethlehem, Pa., August 23, 2010—China—one of the world's oldest and most fascinating cultures and its second largest economy (behind only the U.S.)—will be the source of discussion and learning across the Moravian campus throughout the coming academic year. CHINA l IN FOCUS is part of a new initiative that seeks to build a more active learning community by exploring an important topic over the course of a full year. Together, students, faculty, and staff will consider China's role in the 21st century.
"We're very excited," said Dr. Kathy Thomforde, co-chair of the Committee for Thematic Academic Programming (CTAP). "We wanted to encourage cooperation and linkages across our campus community, and it's happening. The College, Comenius Center, and Seminary are all getting involved."
Already the concept has sparked dozens of ideas, and momentum is building. Offerings include thought-provoking lectures; related coursework here and abroad; Chinese cuisine and even tai chi classes.
China | In Focus will officially kick off at the new Fall Convocation that will be held on September 23. Cohen keynote speaker Rob Gifford, NPR foreign correspondent and author of China Road, will address the campus community in Johnston Hall, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Other highlights include best-selling novelist Da Chen’s address to the freshmen class, August 29. First-year students will read and discuss Chen’s book, Colors of the Mountain. In November, the Moravian College Theatre Company will present a reading of Escape by Nobel prize-winning playwright Gao Xingjian. Movies on Monacacy, student initiatives (led by CTAP representative Emily Doll '11), and travel blogs all will explore the many facets of China. Alumni leaders Brian '02 and Jaime Marks Corvino '04, who travel to China in September, will blog about their experience.
The idea for a year of thematic programming emerged over dinner table discussions with small groups of faculty members at the home of President Christopher and Kathy Thomforde. "One message came up again and again," she explained. "Faculty members wished that students had more opportunities to study and understand a complex issue from a variety of perspectives. From these opportunities, students would be able to formulate a more informed position and to communicate it in an articulate fashion.
"We thought that the solution was to focus our events on a single issue throughout the year. This would help achieve two goals: better attendance at events and more interdisciplinary connections—not by forcing them, but by encouraging participation where possible."
CTAP is working on a China | In Focus capstone event for Spring 2011. "This is our inaugural year, and we want to end with a big event," said Kathy Thomforde. Watch for additional news on China | In Focus here and on the IN FOCUS website pages throughout the coming year.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.