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National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA)

        As the director of IU’s East Asian Studies Center (EASC), I am engaged in the work of National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) in a number ways. IU’s EASC is a founding member of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), a multi-year initiative funded by the Freeman Foundation that facilitates teaching and learning about Asia in middle and high school world history, geography, social studies, and literature courses. Since its inception in 1998, NCTA has provided introductory Teaching about Asia seminars for middle and high school teachers in 46 states. IU’s EASC has coordinated seminars in eight states in the Midwest and the South: Alabama, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio. (More information)
       Apart from leading, envisioning, and planning the work and activities of NCTA with EASC staff, I have been periodically invited to give talks on the orientations and seminars for NCTA participants to share my research and insights on Chinese education and society. An example of the PowerPoint Slides I have used in one of the talks is available here. Along these lines, my broader goal is to promote and increase global competence among teachers, and some related resources can be found here.
Through collaborative research trips to China and study tours to East Asia with IU students and K-12 educators, Heidi Ross brings a deep knowledge of East Asia and a spirit of cooperative learning to the classroom and the community.
                            --From EASC website

Global Indiana: A Consortium for International Exchange

       Global Indiana is a new avenue for Indiana educators to access information about the myriad opportunities available for world travel, for global education, and for partnerships with schools abroad. The Indiana Department of Education has teamed with dedicated school leaders from across the state for the purpose of increasing participation in international programs and activities.
       Selected as one of the first members of the governing board for Global Indiana, I have been a board member for this State-wide international educational exchange organization since 2006.  My involvement with Global Indiana began as a result of my roles as Director of IU's East Asian Studies Center and my international education faculty responsibilities and activities within the IU School of Education. By training, passion, and professional responsibility I support all efforts that build stronger and more humane bridges between the U.S. and East Asia. As a comparative and international educator and scholar of contemporary Chinese education, I strive through my work to support the teaching of East Asian languages and cultures at all levels of schooling, and Global Indiana offers an excellent collaborative organization for that purpose. The State of Indiana and the Midwest region as a whole needs strong, cross-sector organizations to facilitate global education for global citizenship-and Global Indiana is growing into just that sort of organization. I have been invited to give talks on the topics of Chinese education and society on a number of Global Indiana conventions. (An example of the PowerPoint Slides I used for Global Indiana talks is available here.)

The Confucius Institute in Indianapolis

       The Confucius Institute in Indianapolis is an apolitical, non-profit organization. It was established at IUPUI in 2007 to promote the teaching of Chinese language and culture in central Indiana and facilitate mutual understanding between the peoples of China and United States. I have been serving as an advisory board member since the establishment of the Confucius Institute in Indianapolis, advising on all matters related to Confucius Institute, especially for Chinese language education and cultural programs. I was also honored to give the keynote speech on “Seeking Confucius in 21st Century Chinese Education” at its grand opening ceremony.

Asia Learning Center of Indiana

       The Asian Learning Center of Indiana endeavors to educate, connect and engage Hoosiers about the history, cultures, and emerging business opportunities of Asia through public, private, community and business partnership in Indiana. The Asian Learning Center of Indiana works with community organizations, business and government entities, and Indiana's public and private educational institutions to develop programs in three areas, which are Education & Learning, Community Development, and Business & Economic Development. I am the chair of the Education Advisory Committee.

  • Asian Learning Center of Indiana Releases Survey Results: Survey Shows Lack of Asian Studies
    A survey from the Asian Studies Center of Indiana finds the majority of state school systems lack the resources to provide Asian studies and language programs. The research also shows 89 percent of responding schools say they would implement programs if the proper tools were provided. Read More

National Committee on United States-China Relations

       I am a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, which is an organization that has worked at the forefront of the dynamic and expanding Sino-American relationship, helping to shape American foreign policy toward China into one that is in the best long-term interest of this country. The Committee also educates Americans and Chinese about the realities of each others' countries, promotes the principles of education, not advocacy, represents the diverse views and facets of American society, and reaches out to government officials, opinion makers and the general public.

The 1990 Institute

       Serving as education advisor/monitor for Chinese secondary schooling, my primary role with the 1990 Institute is to advise the NGO on "Dragon Fund" Shaanxi Project Girls' Educational Access Project, and to monitor students’ experiences. (For more information, please see the report “Keeping the Promise: Findings from The 1990 Institute Spring Bud Project”.)
       Along with my multifold involvement with the work of The 1990 Institute, especially with the Spring Bud project, several research projects have been established to investigate how access to schooling changed a girl’s expectations and aspirations for the future, and how this school experience changed parents’ view of what girls could do and their value in the household. Over the past decade, this longitudinal field project has gone through four stages, and please refer to the Research section for more information.
       Another related research project began in 2005 with a “Pathways to Peace” initiative funded by the Indiana University School of Education was designed as a cross-cultural learning exercise for Chinese and American students and teachers. Participating Chinese students were Spring Bud (SB) girls from Xihe Middle School in Shangluo. Participating American students were from Bloomington, Indiana. We provided 27 students with cameras and asked them to take pictures of their lives at home, at school and in society. These photographs, and bilingual transcriptions of discussions about their meaning, were exchanged between schools so that students and teachers might gain a deeper appreciation for what growing up might be like in each others’ countries. The students’ remarkable pictures capture the joys and the social, economic, and psychological challenges confronting children in the 21st century. (Please click here for more information.)
       My long-term involvement and research with The 1990 Institute and Spring Bud girls has also led to other related research and advocacy projects. For example, in the fall 2008, I traveled to the San Francisco area to fundraise for the construction costs of a prototype environmentally friendly village primary school in Shaanxi Province that can withstand a magnitude eight earthquake. Shaanxi is right next door to Sichuan Province – the province where an earthquake in 2008 killed 10,000 school children. Twenty-two percent of Shaanxi’s primary schools were destroyed or eventually demolished because of the damage. My most recent visit to Shaanxi for the high school graduation ceremony for Spring Bud girls also allowed me to participate in the on-site discussions on the building and maintenance of a “green” campus housing a magnet school to replace two condemned elementary schools. For more information about this ongoing Green School Construction Project under the 1990 Institute, please click

My Involvement with Cultural Immersion Projects

       With School of Education colleague Laura Stachowski and support from the East Asian Studies Center, I have helped to establish a placement site in China’s Shandong Province for Teacher Education majors through IU’s Cultural Immersion Projects program in 2006.  I facilitated the placement and arrangements of this first China site for the program, and sought additional financial support from EASC through its Freeman Foundation funds. Although designed primarily for teacher education majors, the Cultural Immersion Projects’ international placements are also open to non-education majors interested in seeking “school internships” abroad and to education majors from other IU campuses and other Indiana public institutions, such as Purdue and Ball State Universities.
       Five years after the establishment of this China site in Shandong Province, we kept hearing about inspiring experiences from the projects’ participants, and the following is an excerpt from one of the emails/messages we received from student participants of the Cultural Immersion Projects--

"My experience in China was one of the best, if not the best, experiences I have ever had. I want to thank you for putting this program together and giving me the opportunity to participate in it. Without this program I never would have realized how much I could enjoy a culture that was so different from my own. It has had such a profound impact on me that I am currently in talks with a private school system in China, English First, and I hope to be returning to teach somewhere in China for at least a year this coming fall…Along with realizing that I would like to teach in China I have also come to the realization that I would love to help others do this as well. … I want to be able to help other students have the same eye opening experiences that I had so they can understand the world around them.” (Braden Cundiff, June 1, 2010.)
       In the year 2011, Cultural Immersion Projects won an international Innovation Award from the University Design Consortium, an organization founded to challenge public universities around the world to develop innovative strategies to address complex 21st century issues. [IU News Release]

Supporting the Teaching and Learning of Chinese at IU and Beyond

                                ----Professor Heidi Ross
Indiana University’s Graduate Quarterly.
Volume 4, 2008

By training, passion, and professional responsibility, I support all efforts that build stronger and more humane bridges between the U.S. and East Asia, through teaching, research and language learning.  One of these efforts includes facilitating IU’s School of Education to offer three routes to Chinese language teaching certification -- through the "Transition to Teaching" program, the secondary graduate certification program, and "Community of Teachers."


Need for Chinese language teachers growing, IU responding.

The School of Education offers three routes to Chinese language teaching certification -- through the "Transition to Teaching" program, the secondary graduate certification program, and "Community of Teachers."

"We want to help Indiana build a pipeline for Chinese language expertise," said Heidi Ross, professor of educational policy studies in the School of Education and director of the East Asian Studies Center.

Ross said the pipeline is coming together in the state through more primary and secondary schools offering instruction and the continuing development of partnerships at IU.

"With strong East Asian languages and culture programs, we have the ability to teach upper level language courses and culture classes -- all the knowledge that a teacher would need in order to step into the classroom," Ross said. "We also have the ability to send students to East Asia on study abroad programs."  More...

         More related resource: The Asia Society Confucius Classrooms Network

Supporting Student Organizations and Philanthropic Activities

        I have been enthusiastic in supporting and advising IU student organizations, especially those related to education, cultural exchange and volunteer work in Asia. For example, I am serving as the faculty advisor of the Dream Corps International Indiana University Chapter, which works towards the mission of promoting education equity in China through quality resources and sustained participation.
       Another volunteer program I have been interested in is called Volunteers in Asia (VIA), a U.S.-based nonprofit organization offering practical, on-the-ground experience in Asia for Americans. For college graduates and others who seek practical work experience in Asia, VIA places volunteers with partner NGOs, schools and universities in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, or Vietnam.
       “Education in Afghanistan: IU and 'Three Cups of Tea'” is another philanthropic and advocacy-oriented activity that I have supported through my role of co-director of ANU-IU Pan Asia Institute. Greg Mortenson, philanthropist and author of Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools, came to Indianapolis for a day of public speaking engagements on September 27, 2010 with partial support provided by the Pan Asia Institute (PAI). Partnering with the IU School of Education and Vision and Voices: Islam and Muslims in Global Perspectives, we organized a public forum around an evening lecture which began with a live webstream of Mortenson’s remarks at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. Following the formal presentation, School of Education professors Mitzi Lewison and Terry Mason reviewed their work with the USAID-funded Afghanistan Higher Education project and facilitated discussions on educational development and international outreach. Approximately 90 students, faculty, staff, donors, and community members attended the evening program. [IU News Release]


2011 © Dr. Heidi Ross