Home » UK receives $1.7M to establish a Model Confucius Institute

UK receives $1.7M to establish a Model Confucius Institute

Part of partnership with China’s Ministry of Education

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 16, 2015) — The University of Kentucky has received $1.7 million from Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) to establish a Model Confucius Institute. The funding, which will be matched by UK, will pay for the renovation of an area at Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center dedicated to the institute.

The Confucius Institute is a partnership between China’s Ministry of Education and some 500 global universities. There are currently 110 Confucius Institutes in the U.S. At UK, it is run as a matching-funds grant to ensure transparency and accountability.

Established in 2010, the UK Confucius Institute was the 68th in the U.S. The institute was brought to the university through the strategic planning and hard work of the Asia Center, a group of faculty that landed funding to also help establish UK’s Japanese and Chinese majors. In its first five years of operation, the institute has won one of the select few Global Confucius Institute of the Year Awards, in 2012 and 2014, and a Director’s Individual Performance Award from Hanban in 2013.

The UK institute’s success made it well positioned to compete for increased funding, when Hanban decided to establish a small number of Model Confucius Institutes that would offer high-quality space for showcasing China-related programming.

Renovations at Little Library will be made on the ground floor of the facility. The plans call for offices, meeting space, several classrooms including specific ones dedicated to traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy as well as a high-tech classroom, and a gallery and other display space to showcase Chinese culture for UK and the surrounding community. Currently, UK’s Confucius Institute is located in offices within Bradley Hall, at the UK International Center. The expanded location will not only provide more space for the growing staff, but will also allow them to centralize its activities, provide an attractive and convenient site for conversations with faculty and students, and provide a high-tech environment for working across so many time zones.

As part of this growth, the Confucius Institute will align its next five years of work with UK’s new strategic plan, focusing on student success and faculty engagement with China. The institute’s plans include:

  • Growing its cooperative programming with Education Abroad to create more opportunities for internships and other international educational prospects for UK students
  • Continuing to expand teaching and research partnership opportunities in China for faculty
  • Supporting the strengthening of Chinese studies across the campus
  • Facilitating better integration of international students and domestic students
  • Providing more high-impact educational opportunities for all students
  • Serving as a hub for the training and professional development of K-12 teachers of Chinese language and culture
  • It is believed that this investment in the Confucius Institute will also benefit other international programming at UK

In addition, the Model Confucius Institute at UK will continue to support Chinese language and culture programs in the K-12 schools and work with UK extension offices in 120 counties to deepen and diversify UK’s community outreach.

The Board of Trustees also accepted:

  • A $1 million gift from EdR to the university’s Corporate Partner Scholarship Quasi-Endowment Fund. The annual spending distributions from the endowed fund support one or more scholarships annually to students who have demonstrated potential for academic success and who have unmet financial need. EdR is UK’s partner in building student housing.
  • A pledge totaling $1 million (which includes $800,000 in payments received) from former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice William S. Cooper to support the renovation and expansion of the College of Law Building. Cooper is a law alumnus.
  • A gift of $858,911.63 from the estate of James C. Blair, formerly of Columbia, Kentucky, to support the Adair County Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to students from Adair County.
  • A gift of $638,000 from the Barnstable Brown Foundation of Louisville, Kentucky, to be used as current funds to support the existing Barnstable Brown Kentucky Diabetes and Obesity Center.
  • Gifts totaling $629,857.09 from the estate of Deborah Eggum, formerly of Wilmore, Kentucky, to support the Eggum Family Scholarship Fund that benefits the Honors Program.
  • A pledge of $1 million from Brett and Billie Jo Setzer of Nicholasville, Kentucky, to support the construction of a training facility for the UK football team.
  • A pledge of $15 million, which includes $1.5 million in payments received, from the T. W. Lewis Foundation of Tempe, Arizona, for the future Lewis Honors College. Original announcement of the gift was made Oct. 22