BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The Chinese Flagship Program in the Department of Modern Languages at Western Kentucky University is pleased to announce the renewal of its federal funding for 2020-2024. WKU is one of 12 institutions in the United States to host a Chinese Flagship Program.

Students who complete the curriculum of the Chinese Flagship at WKU and who receive Chinese Flagship Certification have a “superior” level proficiency in Chinese. The Chinese Flagship at WKU prepares students to become “global professionals” who have expertise in a major area of study in addition to their language proficiency in Chinese.

Since 2009, the Chinese Flagship at WKU has welcomed students from all walks of life who want to start learning Chinese and to develop their skills in a highly structured, supportive environment. This includes a Living Learning Community, a Language Immersion House, summer intensive study programs and a capstone experience, as well as hands-on academic and career advising.

“This is a very high-quality program,” said Dr. Laura McGee, Principal Investigator of the Chinese Flagship at WKU. “We have a team of faculty, staff and student leaders who are committed to the success of Flagship students. Every part of this program is designed to help our students meet the challenge and prepare for global careers. I see students go through tremendous personal and professional growth during their time with us.”

Dr. Larry Snyder, Dean of Potter College of Arts & Letters, expressed his appreciation for the high-quality career preparation that the Chinese Flagship at WKU offers. “Our students graduate with expertise in their major complemented by a professional level of proficiency in Chinese,” he said. “International experiences and intercultural training round out their skills. We’re so pleased to offer this combination of intensive academic training and high-touch mentoring that sets them up for success.”

The renewed four-year grant provides funding to create programming and provide scholarships for students. Administrative support of $325,000 a year funds activities, training, testing and positions. Additional funds go directly to scholarships for students who are taking part in intensive language programs and/or who have internships. The Chinese Flagship at WKU works closely with WKU’s Office of Scholar Development, which supports students who are applying for nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships. Many participants of the Chinese Flagship at WKU are successful applicants for U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships and David L. Boren Scholarships.

Alumni of the program have entered careers in the public and private sectors, and many have pursued graduate education in fields such as medicine, law, international affairs, human rights and environmental science. While the majority are working within the Commonwealth or the immediate surrounding region, graduates of the program are also employed in major cities across the United States, Mainland China and Taiwan.

The Language Flagship is a federally funded effort and is a component of the National Security Education Program (NSEP) at the U.S. Department of Defense. NSEP was created in 1991 to develop a much-needed strategic partnership between the national security community and higher education to address national needs for expertise in critical languages and regions. NSEP is the only federally funded effort focused on the combined issues of language proficiency, national security and the needs of the federal workforce.

The Language Flagship leads the nation in designing, supporting and implementing a new paradigm for advanced language education. Through an innovative partnership between the federal government and higher education, The Language Flagship seeks to graduate students who will take their place among the next generation of global professionals, commanding a superior level of proficiency in one of many languages critical to U.S. competitiveness and security.

Prospective students are invited to contact Melinda Edgerton, Program Manager of the Chinese Flagship at WKU, for more information. Program information and an application can be found here. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis for the Fall 2020 cohort until full.

For information about the Department of Modern Languages, email modern.languages@wku.edu, or call 270-745-2401.