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Three Faculty Members to Teach
in China This Summer

RELEASED: May 2, 2007

EAU CLAIRE — Three University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire faculty members will teach at Jinan University in Guangzhou, China, this summer as part of UW-Eau Claire's ongoing exchange programs with the Chinese university.

UW-Eau Claire faculty who will teach at Jinan for one month are: Dr. Lee-Ellen Kirkhorn, associate professor of nursing; Beth Kozbial Ernst, ESL coordinator; and Dr. Thomas Kemp, assistant professor of economics.

Kirkhorn will be the second nursing faculty member to teach at Jinan. Dr. Sheila Smith taught there in 2004.

"Dr. Smith spoke powerfully and passionately about the experience," Kirkhorn said. "She told about interactions with former Party members who were living in a retirement community. She spoke about visiting hospice patients, and about the kindness and graciousness of the Chinese nurses she met. I was spellbound and almost that same day, I returned to my office and I applied for a similar opportunity."

Kirkhorn will teach gerontological nursing, an area of personal interest and expertise. She is anxious to meet traditional Chinese healers and hopes to visit health care facilities in China.

Kirkhorn and Smith hope to create a nursing opportunity in China for UW-Eau Claire nursing students.

While in China, Ernst will teach English as a Foreign Language and Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

"I will train teachers in methods of teaching English to non-native speakers," Ernst said. "I've been interested in visiting China, especially now that China is undergoing such rapid development and transformation."

Ernst has studied abroad in Spain, taught EFL in Poland and Hungary, and worked with visiting scholars from Jinan at UW-Eau Claire.

"To be a more effective instructor, I need a reality check from time to time," Ernst said. "I need to live abroad and experience life from the perspective of a non-native speaker or foreigner to be a better ESL instructor. Every time I live abroad, I gain a new sense of empathy for my students when they experience culture shock, homesickness or frustrations when learning another language."

Kemp — the second economics faculty member to teach at Jinan — will teach graduate-level macroeconomic theory. He's interested in China's development into a world power.

"I hope the experience will broaden my understanding of the economic, social and cultural forces that contribute to and hinder economic development," Kemp said.

UW-Eau Claire has had student and faculty exchange programs with Jinan for 17 years, said Karl Markgraf, director of Center for International Education. During that time, UW-Eau Claire has hosted 75 faculty and students from Jinan, and Jinan has hosted about 30 faculty and students from UW-Eau Claire, he said.

"As China's influence on the world economy has grown, UW-Eau Claire's partnerships with Jinan have become even more important to our faculty and students," Markgraf said.

In November 2006, representatives from UW-Eau Claire participated in the centennial celebration of Jinan University, including Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich, who was among the speakers at the celebration.

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JW/JB

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