Sustainable Resources

Picture of Students in Shanghai

by Christine Baksi

Dickinson was recently selected to receive a share of $1.6 million in grants provided by The Henry Luce Foundation's Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE),  which encourages innovative approaches to Asian-studies teaching and research through the lens of the environment and sustainable development. Dickinson is one of only four U.S. colleges to receive the $400,000 LIASE grant in 2012. The other schools are Trinity College in Connecticut; Occidental College in California and Lawrence University in Wisconsin.

The four-year implementation grant builds upon a $50,000 exploration grant provided by the Luce Foundation in 2011, and will be used to further infuse the study of Asia across the Dickinson curriculum. "The Luce Foundation has again demonstrated its confidence in Dickinson's interdisciplinary approach to Asian studies and the environment," says Provost Neil Weissman. "The foundation's continued support will help students bridge connections between the study of East Asia and environmental concerns across all levels of their undergraduate careers."

Dickinson will expand its Asian-studies curriculum with courses co-taught by science and social-science faculty; organize a film series, visiting speakers and short residencies for scholars who focus on Asia's environmental issues; establish a post-doctoral teaching fellowship for a natural scientist with field experience in Asia; develop new courses or modules with an Asian focus; and encourage field-based Asian-language learning through environmental activities at the Dickinson College Farm and other campus locations.

Dickinson credits last year's exploration grant with laying a foundation for strategic curriculum expansion and additional, distinctive interdisciplinary-study opportunities. The grant funded a multidisciplinary summer-immersion program at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, where 14 students studied environmental policies, economics and activism. Additionally, the grant brought environmental and sustainability experts from China and Japan to campus, leading to a multiyear student-exchange program sponsored by Japan's Ministry of Education and Akita International University.

"The implementation grant will create additional opportunities for our students, especially those who have never taken a course on Asia, to learn how liberal-arts disciplines interrelate and how globally connected we all are," said Ann Hill, professor of anthropology and the grant's project director.

A recognized leader in environmental stewardship and global education, Dickinson offers 42 academic majors, including interdisciplinary studies of East Asia, the environment and sustainability. Dickinson also offers distinct study-abroad programs throughout Asia, including China, Japan and Korea.

Published December 12, 2012