Chinese culture and language will be offered to students in the district through Confucius Classrooms at this college, Palo Alto and Northwest Vista colleges.
Dr. Donald Lien, director of the University of Texas at San Antonio Confucius Institute, said once the English version of the contract between UTSA Confucius Institute and Alamo Community Colleges has been approved, classes will start.
He said there are about 400 Confucius Classrooms throughout the world and about 10 Confucius classrooms at community colleges within the United States.
Carol P. Fimmen, district director of international programs, said the Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Ministry of Education of China, in partnership with the University of Texas at San Antonio Confucius Institute, has funded the program.
She said each of the colleges initially receive a grant for $10,000 to start the project. Computer equipment, cameras, software and textbooks are coming from China, Fimmen said.
This college will be eligible to receive up to $30,000 of grant money each year depending on the annual budget it submits for academic resources and cultural events.
Full-time faculty from China will teach classes in Room 118 of the academic instruction center.
He said their salary, which is not paid out of the grant, comes from the Confucius Institute in Beijing.
He said there will be one instructor per Confucius classroom. But Lien has suggested having two instructors so that each instructor can teach one class, two days a week, and hold office hours.
He said the goal is to replace the current Chinese classes with Confucius Classrooms offering language and heritage classes. Lien said he would like to see all the community colleges in this district with Confucius Classrooms.
Fimmen said new faculty members will teach credited classes and noncredit continuing education classes. The classroom will primarily offer Chinese language classes. Other courses relating to Chinese culture and heritage will be offered as well.
Fimmen said community outreach is an important part of the Confucius Classroom, and an advisory committee composed of faculty and students will determine the activities.
This committee has not been formed yet.
She said that the committee is encouraged to come up with creative ideas to promote Chinese culture in San Antonio.
Fimmen said cultural event possibilities include special exhibits, a film series, music and dance groups.
Lien said students and community members can start learning Chinese now at the UTSA Confucius Institute.
The institute offers Sunday Chinese school from 2 p.m.–2:45 p.m.
He said the Sunday school helps to re-establish the Chinese language in Chinese families who have lived in the United States for a long time and have lost some of their language skills, as well as helping new learners master the language. He said 150 students are enrolled in 14-week classes for $80.
Lien said the classes are divided into heritage classes for those who have at least one parent who speaks Chinese and non-heritage classes are for those who speak no Chinese.
For more information, call the UTSA Confucius Institute at 210-458-6242 or email email@example.com.