US Dept. of Education Grants $1.7 Million Over 4 Years to Support UCLA Asian Studies Graduate Students

US Dept. of Education Grants $1.7 Million Over 4 Years to Support UCLA Asian Studies Graduate Students

East Asian and Southeast Asian Studies students will compete for $423,500 each year in fellowship funds.

Two UCLA Asia Institute programs have received grants from the U.S. Department of Education to support graduate training. These Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship grants total $1.7 million and will provide UCLA students working in East and Southeast Asian Studies with $423,500 in fellowships for each of the next four years.

East Asian Studies

The Asia Institute competes for FLAS fellowships in East Asian Studies as part of a joint consortium with USC's East Asian Studies Center.

The UCLA-USC East Asian Studies consortium will receive $363,000 annually for the next four years to support graduate students working to master Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages. UCLA has the largest enrollments in these languages of any U.S. university, according to Clayton Dube, assistant director of the Asia Institute. For example, 572 students were enrolled in Chinese language courses in fall 2005. UCLA's share of the consortium funds is $208,500 per year, or $834,000 for the four-year funding cycle. Of the annual funds, $189,000 is allocated to support academic-year study and $19,500 to support work in intensive summer language programs.

Dube explains that the East Asia award will allow UCLA to support twelve or thirteen degree candidates, up three from the previous cycle, and two to three summer students, up from one.

"FLAS awards have helped our students acquire the language skills essential for ground-breaking research. Two students supported by FLAS awards are completing their doctorates this spring and have accepted teaching positions at Dartmouth and Colorado State Universities. Earlier graduates supported by EA FLAS fellowships are now teaching at Harvard, Columbia, Pomona, McGill, Florida, Washington University in St. Louis, and a number of other universities and colleges," Dube says.

Southeast Asian Studies

UCLA's Center for Southeast Asian Studies also participates in the Department of Education Title VI program as part of a two-school consortium, in this case with UC Berkeley. For 2006-10, the consortium has received fourteen academic-year awards, up from twelve per year in the previous cycle. At the same time, UCLA's portion of the total award has increased to one-half, which means that CSEAS will control seven full academic-year awards, up from five. Because it shares costs with departments, the Center expects to fund at least ten students per year, up at least two from the previous cycle, according to CSEAS Assistant Director Barbara Gaerlan.

Gaerlan says that there is an increasing need for these fellowships, as even the best graduate students struggle to find and secure money for advanced work. In several cases, she observes, FLAS fellowships have permitted students to broaden their thesis and dissertation topics, resulting in more sophisticated and more comparative studies.

Including $26,000 for summer students, the UCLA portion of the annual award is $215,000, or $860,000 over four years. The largest FLAS award to date for CSEAS, this matches the Center's request to the Education Department. As in previous years, Gaerlan explains, the UCB-UCLA consortium expects to send all of its summer FLAS money to the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute at the University of Wisconsin, which holds a national competition for fellowships. UCLA graduate students interested in the summer institute in Madison, Wisconsin, may contact CSEAS for more information.

Southeast Asian languages eligible for FLAS support at UCLA are Indonesian, Tagalog (Filipino), Thai, and Vietnamese.

Published: Monday, May 15, 2006