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Thursday, May 8, 2008

UNCP sociology professor to attend China Institute

Dr. John Bowman, a faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at UNC Pembroke, was selected to attend a two-week China Institute during the 2008 edition of the Asian Studies Development Program.

John BowmanBeginning May 19 in Honolulu, Hawaii, the institute is co-sponsored by the East-West Center and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. It will bring together undergraduate faculty from Southeast Asia and American colleges and universities.

The first week will focus on Chinese philosophy, history and culture, and the second week looks at contemporary issues related to the environment, politics and socio-economic development.

This type of faculty development pays dividends for the individuals engaged in it and for the institution, said Dr. Charles Harrington, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Professor Bowman to continue his research and scholarship on Asia,” Dr. Harrington said. “I am delighted that he was chosen to participate in this program. It speaks to his commitment and reputation.

“There is no doubt that he will bring back a wealth of new ideas and creative energy that will benefit the University,” he concluded.

Dr. Bowman will attend the educational exchange institute as part of UNCP’s multi-faceted Faculty Development Program. A faculty member since 1979, he said international studies are increasingly relevant in higher education.

“At this stage in my professional career, I am very interested in international education, especially China,” Dr. Bowman said. “I hope to increase my own understanding of Chinese society and culture and integrate it into my classes in sociology.

“Most sociology programs study American society, and I would like to build in an international component that would make comparisons that may shed light on both cultures,” he said.

Dr. Bowman’s interest in Asian culture is not new found. He served as a host family to one of UNCP’s first Chinese exchange students. In fall 2008, the University’s growing international programs may host as many as 50 Chinese students.

Dr. Bowman also traveled and lectured in China in 2006.

“I traveled the old Silk Road – the trading routes extending from Rome to China - that is the origin of globalization,” he said. “I was invited to lecture at the North China Institute of Science and Technology on ‘Major Values of American Society’ and on ‘The American Family.’

“What I discovered is that the Chinese – especially the students – are very interested in American culture,” he said.

The North China Institute of Science and Technology is one of UNCP’s partner universities with a one-plus-two-plus-one program where Chinese students study one year at home, two years at UNCP and finish their dual degree program in China.

With considerable media attention on Chinese politics, business and environmental issues, the time is right to bring the growing nation closer to UNCP, Dr. Bowman said.

“One of the most exciting developments at UNCP is the new emphasis on international education with faculty and student exchanges,” he concluded.

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