a view of the taipei cityscape at sunset

Department of Asian Studies Launches Center for Taiwan Studies

  • Mar 29, 2021
  • Jenan Taha

In partnership with Taiwan's Ministry of Education, the Department of Asian Studies has expanded the Taiwan Studies program into the Center for Taiwan Studies, a multidisciplinary facility dedicated to promoting Taiwan’s society, history and culture on the UT campus.

Asian Studies Professor Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang spearheaded the development of the center, receiving a grant from the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for her proposal to broaden Taiwan Studies to include the wide array of UT activity related to Taiwan. UT has long been recognized as an institution committed to research on Taiwan literature and its socio-historical contexts, launching one of the first Taiwan studies programs in the country in 2009.

The creation of the Center for Taiwan Studies was announced at a signing ceremony on campus on March 22, attended by Texas state representatives, leaders from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Houston and faculty from the College of Liberal Arts.

The agreement was signed by Dr. Sonia Feigenbaum, senior vice provost for global engagement and chief international officer, and TECO Director-General Robert Fu-Wen Lo. Attendees included congressman Michael McCaul, associate dean of Liberal Arts Robert Crosnoe, chair of Asian Studies Donald Davis, professor Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang, associate professor Tse-Min Lin, executive assistant to senior vice provost for global engagement Cheryl Lane, TECO Division Director Patrick Ho, TECO Education Division Director Andrea Yang, Texas state representative Angie Chen Button and Carl B. Mica, state director of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. 

taiwan representatives stand in front of the UT tower

“Among all of the things we’ve accomplished in the last 12 years, I take the greatest pride in the fact that the Taiwan Studies Program offered 42 Taiwan-focused courses on 24 different topics spread over seven departments in three different colleges,” Chang said. “There are now over 1,000 UT students who have taken at least one semester-long course on some Taiwan-related subject. I believe the knowledge they’ve acquired—and the very experience of taking the course—would make a meaningful difference to their personal lives, and to the State of Texas, once these students graduated and entered society.”

The signing builds upon a long history of engagement between UT and Taiwan. Taiwanese international students represent one of the largest populations studying at UT, and many Taiwanese alumni are now serving in faculty and leadership positions at higher education institutions in Taiwan. Hundreds of UT students have studied, interned and conducted research in Taiwan. Texas Global recently awarded a Global Virtual Exchange grant to education associate professor James Patton to teach a virtual exchange course in collaboration with the National Taiwan Normal University.

Among the many activities at the center, Taiwan Studies brings distinguished visitors from Taiwan to campus, supports student and faculty research on Taiwan, hosts a variety of international symposia and offers courses in language, culture, history and society of Taiwan.

Read more about Taiwan research and activity at UT.