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Tuesday, January 13, 2009


BRADFORD, Pa. – Area teachers have an opportunity at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford to learn more about East Asia while earning a stipend, materials for implementing lessons and Act 48 credit.

Pitt-Bradford, in conjunction with the Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh and the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia, will present a 36-hour seminar on the anthropology, geology, history, religions, culture and customs of China, Korea and Japan.

Teachers of students in kindergarten through 12th grade as well as senior student teachers are eligible to attend the seminar, which consists of six five-hour Saturday sessions beginning Jan. 17, and six hours during the fall. Teachers from private schools are eligible, as are those from New York state.

Each participant will receive a $500 stipend and materials worth $200, and his or her school will receive $300 next school year to purchase teaching materials to carry out Asia-related lesson plans.

Pennsylvania teachers can receive Act 48 credit for attending.

“This seminar is a superior opportunity for K through 12 teachers to enhance their teaching about East Asia. The guest speakers are truly scholars in their fields,” said Dr. Jody Burgert, retired assistant professor of education at Pitt-Bradford and director of the seminar. “In these challenging economic times, receiving funding to purchase study materials about East Asia should be appealing to area administrators, and seldom do teachers receive a stipend for taking a course or have the opportunity to apply for subsidized study tours.”

Led by Burgert, the faculty include Pitt-Bradford faculty members Isabelle Champlin, assistant professor of anthropology and director of international studies; Dr. Marvin Thomas, professor of history; Dr. Sam Fohr, professor of philosophy; Dr. Flora Wei, assistant professor of broadcast communications; Gary Tessmer, assistant professor of composition; and from Pitt-Oakland, Dr. Hiroshi Nara, professor and chair of East Asian languages and literature, and Dr. Brenda Jordan, adjunct professor of history of art and architecture; and Erika J. Nara, a sixth-grade student at Falk Laboratory School of Pitt.

The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia is a collaboration of several East Asian Centers at leading universities across the United States and is funded by a grant from the Freemen Foundation. In 2008, the University of Pittsburgh became an NCTA coordinating site and will offer classes this year at Pitt-Bradford, Elizabethtown College, Bucknell University, University of Maryland University College and University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Teachers who have successfully completed an NCTA seminar are eligible to participate in subsidized summer study tours to East Asia.

Teachers may still apply by contacting Burgert at 814-437-1559 or For more information on Pitt’s NCTA National Coordinating Site, visit

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