Programming at the USM Confucius Institute (CI) focuses on Chinese language learning and teacher education; Chinese cultural festivals and events; building business, industry, and non-profit awareness of China, Chinese language, and culture; and support for scholarship and research on contemporary China.
Language Learning and Teacher Education
Chinese ranks third among K-12 English Language Learners in Maine, with more than 500 K-12 students in Maine whose first language is Mandarin Chinese, and as more and more Maine communities recruit Chinese students, this population is growing. China’s place in today’s global world demands that the next generation of southern Maine students develop a greater understanding of Chinese culture and have the opportunity to learn the language. To meet this demand, the USM School of Education and Human Development is collaborating with the USM Confucius Institute to offer both a Chinese teacher education program and a Chinese language program for elementary, middle, and secondary students.
Chinese Language and Culture Program for K-12 Educators
Chinese Language Program for Maine Students
The Chinese Language Program for K-12 students supports Chinese language instruction in the Southern Maine Partnership, which is a collaboration between 36 school districts and USM. The Confucius Institute faculty are available to teach a limited number of courses on-site at elementary, middle, or high schools. School leaders interested in having Confucius Institute faculty teach Chinese language courses on site at a school within their district should send their specific request (i.e., grade level or course, days of week, time of day, length of school year) to the Institute's mailbox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Education on Chinese Language and Culture
The USM Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) and the Maine Senior College Network, headquartered at OLLI’s National Resource Center at USM, offer Chinese language and cultural courses through their respective programming functions. The USM OLLI offers a combination of eight-week courses, three-week mini-courses, and one-day or half-day workshops in Mandarin throughout the year, and the Maine Senior College Network offers one-day or half-day workshops on Chinese cultural topics at USM or at one of the Maine Senior College sites around the state. Topics include art, music, Chinese gardening and landscape design, calligraphy, Feng Shui, and Chinese cooking.
Chinese Cultural Festivals and Events
The USM CI supports and sponsors regular Chinese cultural festivals, events, lectures, and performances as well as activities and special collaborative endeavors with the City of Portland, the Portland Regional Chamber, the Chinese and American Friendship Association of Maine, and the World Affairs Council of Maine. In the future, the CI may venture beyond these initial programs to offer such imaginative cultural programs as showcasing a Chinese chef in the internationally-renowned Portland Harvest on the Harbor event, and sponsoring a Chinese film festival to showcase the emerging world-class films from China.
Executive Programming on Chinese Language and Culture
The USM CI organizes and supports executive training, programs, seminars, and symposia to build awareness and understanding of contemporary China for business, industry, and non-profit executives. These programs are developed in partnership with the Portland Regional Chamber, the Maine International Trade Center, USM School of Business, and the University of Maine School of Law.
Research in Chinese Studies
The USM CI supports conferences and collaborative research in Chinese studies among faculty members of Maine colleges and universities.