Projects of the American Cultural Center
The American Cultural Center (ACC) jointly operated by Appalachian State University (Appalachian) and Northeastern University (NEU) is one of 19 ACCs in China. The Center was started in 2012 with an initial $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State. Activities have continued with four subsequent $50,000–$75,000 annual grants between 2013 and 2018.
The Center recevived $115,127 from the U.S. Department of State in Octorber 2019. The grant is awarded to cover the expenses of establishing a Digital English Writing Center (DEWC) at the Northeartern University located in Shenyang, China.
The Center has an office and a reading room that houses approximately 8,260 books in English, 3,500 books in Chinese, 68 magazines and journals in Chinese, 90 magazines and journals in English, and 1,400 films and music CDs. In addition to the general materials on American studies and classic literature, the Center’s collection has been growing with purchases and donations in sustainable development, environmental issues, and academic writing.
Since its inception in 2012, the ACC has successfully implemented 23 major programs and more than 65 activities in collaboration with Appalachian, Ping Pong Productions, Fulbright Scholars as well as the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the U.S. Consulate General in Shenyang, other ACCs and universities in both China and the U.S. These activities include public speaking, film showings, American culture lectures, student leader programs, faculty development and exchanges, academic writing programs, English speech and American culture knowledge contests, arts and music performances, and Fulbright lectures. The Center also promotes student activities including a student club devoted to having an environmentally green campus, cooperating on international video conferencing courses, and student exchanges.
Under the Center’s auspices, Appalachian has sent 21 faculty members and 7 librarians to China to share their expertise of American culture, and more than 20 Appalachian faculty members were involved in teaching and hosting NEU faculty visitors as well as creating instructional materials for teachers and students in China. One hundred and forty Appalachian students have participated in ACC-related programs through study abroad, the ACC student leaders program and the Global Understandings course. Over 9,000 students, faculty and staff members from six universities in China have attended ACC programs. ACC grants have enabled 15 teachers from Northeastern University to visit Appalachian for their professional development and cultural experience.
Appalachian’s Relationship with Northeastern University
Appalachian State University has had a relationship with Northeastern University, Shenyang, China since 1981 when former Chancellor John E. Thomas initiated an exchange program with Northeast Institute of Technology, now Northeastern University. Appalachian was the first university in the United States to develop a bilateral relationship with a Chinese university that was not initiated at a government level following China’s Open Door Policy of the late 1970s. Since 1981, NEU and Appalachian have sent about 120 teachers to the partner university for training, teaching and conducting research. The partnership was renewed in 2010 including the addition of an exchange program for students at both universities.
The establishment of the American Cultural Center at NEU has further strengthened the partnership between the two institutions, including new collaborations between the two institutions. NEU has served as a study-abroad destination for Appalachian students since 2014. The university library has also signed a three-year collaborative program with NEU’s Library.
Northeastern University and Shenyang, China
Founded in 1923 and located in Shenyang, Northeastern University is a key national university directly under the Ministry of Education. Northeastern University consists of 19 colleges, and confers bachelor’s degrees in 66 disciplines, master’s degrees in 189 disciplines and doctorates in 108 disciplines. The university has a total of 35,000 students studying in various programs at different levels. It is considered one of China’s top 50 universities.
Located in northeast China’s Liaoning province, Shenyang is the largest city in northeast China. It has a population of 8.1 million. The city has been a leader in China’s move to modernize its manufacturing industry and reduce air and other pollution. It was named a National Environmental Protection Model City and one of China’s most “Economically Dynamic” cities in 2004.