VIENNA, W.Va. – There are many stories about a person being in just the right place at just the right time.
Such a story occurred for Ohio Valley University. OVU recently distributed a news release regarding the new Chinese course being offered at the University. Several employees from Kraton Performance Polymers in Belpre, Ohio, saw the article and contacted OVU about the possibility of taking the course. It turns out that Kraton had planned to open a plant in Taiwan and needed some of its employees to learn about Chinese and Asian business culture. After several conversations, it was decided that Liu would travel to Kraton twice a week to offer a custom-made class to the employees on Chinese culture and basic conversation. Liu meets with eight to 15 senior engineering employees for breakfast teaching sessions.
“This situation plays wonderfully into our efforts to reach out to the community. It is a rather surprising fit that someone with Chinese culture expertise would be needed in the Mid-Ohio Valley,” said Dr. Jim Bullock, vice president for academic affairs at OVU.
Liu is part of the Alliance for Language Learning and Education Exchange (ALLEX), which provides a professionally trained, native Chinese-speaking instructor to universities. The instructors teach in exchange for tuition waivers to study at that University. Liu created the course specifically for the needs that Kraton expressed. She plans to cover not only Chinese and Asian business culture, but also how to interact with Chinese people.
OVU has been extremely pleased with this partnership in learning.
“OVU wants to embrace our local community and be an asset to the community, so the opportunity to serve Kraton in this way is working toward that goal,” said Dr. Steven Hardy, dean of OVU’s College of Arts & Sciences. “We want to link learning with community. In order to do that, we are working to develop more relationships with the community. This opportunity with Kraton does that.”
This relationship has been a great experience for Liu as well.
“It’s good practice for me to teach Chinese culture in English. The employees at Kraton give a lot of feedback, and it helps me understand the difficulties students face,” Liu said.
Besides her work with Kraton, Liu teaches the Mandarin Chinese course at OVU. She is taking classes on the life of Christ, college writing, and piano. She will continue to teach at OVU until next May.
Chartered in 1958, Ohio Valley University is a residential faith-based Tier I institution with four colleges offering 35 undergraduate degrees and a master of education degree to students from 28 states and 14 nations. To learn more about the university, visit www.ovu.edu.