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UTRGV to offer Asian Studies minor in fall 2017

Mijin Oh-Villarreal, part time lecturer of writing and language studies at UTRGV

Mijin Oh-Villarreal, part time lecturer of writing and language studies at UTRGV, helped create an Asian Studies minor based on requests from students interested in the interdisciplinary curriculum. Here, she is teaching a South Korean cheer, during a Korean language class that is part of the new minor. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)

By Vicky Brito

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – MARCH 1, 2017 – Beginning fall 2017, UTRGV will offer a minor in Asian Studies, created in response to students’ requests for the interdisciplinary curriculum.

Minhee Eom, associate professor of writing and language studies, helped create the Asian Studies minor.

“There were student requests for this specific minor, because we offer courses in the Chinese and Korean languages, on both campuses,” Eom said. “UTRGV already offers a lot of courses related to the histories, political science and business management of Asian countries.”

In addition to Eom, founding faculty of the minor in Asian studies includes:

  • Dr. Yanrong Chang, associate professor of communication.
  • Dr. Xi Chen, associate professor of political science.
  • Dr. Robert James Hoppens, associate professor of history.
  • Dr. Joo Jung, professor of management.
  • Dr. Yong Lang, professor of writing and language studies.
  • Dr. Stephen Leach, associate professor of philosophy.
  • Dr. Soojin Yoo, assistant professor of health and human performance.
  • Ms. Xin Zhang, lecturer of writing and language studies.

The founding faculty shares the responsibility of advising students and promoting the minor, which consists of 18 credit hours. There will be two tracks to the minor: language and context.

“This is an interdisciplinary minor,” Eom said. “Students can take courses from these professors and we will be adding more professors to our community to provide more courses in this area.”

The language track will offer courses in the Korean, Chinese and Japanese languages. The context track will offer interdisciplinary courses in communication, history, philosophy and political science in relation to Asian countries.

There currently are eight language courses, 12 context, three study abroad to China, two study abroad to South Korea courses, and two study abroad to Japan courses offered in the UTRGV course catalog that will apply toward the Asian Studies minor.

Anyone who has taken those courses previously can claim the credits as a minor beginning in fall 2017.

Language classes are offered on both campuses, and the bulk of the context courses will be on the Edinburg Campus for now.

Eom said offering this minor will give students more opportunities to pursue their interests in the field and get course credit for it.

“Globalization is really important for education at higher education institutions like UTRGV, and our university is mostly bilingual, bicultural and biliterate,” Eom said. “In addition to English and Spanish, I feel obligated to educate students and train them to become aware of the multicultural aspects of the world of business and the world in general.”

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Victoria.Brito@UTRGV.edu
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