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Bringing an International Perspective to the Head of the Class
08.28.13 |
Not every opportunity for global learning is as formal as an internship or a study-abroad opportunity. An international focus is woven into the very fabric of the LVC community through its many faculty members who come to campus from other countries.

More than 10 percent of the College’s faculty members were born outside the continental United States. This diversity at the head of the classroom—and across campus—contributes to an expansive and multicultural learning environment, according to Jill Russell, LVC’s director of study abroad. “Our faculty are internationally minded,” she says. “That passes on to all of our students, even those who don’t choose to study abroad. They’re learning to think globally and broadly—and that’s the point of a liberal arts education.”

Dr. Kathleen Tacelosky, chair of languages and associate professor of Spanish, agrees: “Our students are really fortunate to have so many faculty who bring their life experiences from other countries,” she says. Tacelosky, who was born in Germany, adds that “Of course we want to encourage students to study outside of LVC and go to other countries, but even if they don’t get the opportunity, they’re going to encounter people from other cultures on campus, in the classroom and elsewhere.”

Dr. Eric Fung, associate professor of music, is one example. Fung grew up in Hong Kong and is fluent in English as well as the Mandarin and Cantonese dialects of Chinese, a skill he finds enhances his abilities as a music teacher. “People say that music is a language, and it is—it’s a language that stimulates our emotion,” he explains. “When I’m working with a student and we’re talking about evoking a certain emotion in a musical passage, there are a lot of words that I can use in English to describe that emotion, but if I can’t find the word in English, there might be words in the Chinese language that describe it better. I can describe the Chinese word as a way to describe an emotion for which there are no words in English.”

Fung earned his bachelor’s and two master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and his doctorate from the Juilliard School in New York City. He believes his experiences as a foreign student in the States equip him to be a helpful mentor to students adjusting to life on campus. “Especially for a new student coming to college, I can tell them I was born in Hong Kong and then came to the States, and it was a big change,” he says. “I say that if I can adjust, you can too.”

Fung has performed all over the world, but says that he’s always been drawn to teaching. “Teaching has always been my dream, because I’ve had so many good teachers in my life who have really inspired me,” he says. “My wife [Ai-Lin Hsieh, LVC adjunct instructor in music], and I decided to come to LVC because the culture of the school is very special—one-eighth of the population here are musicians. The Music Department and the music activity here are just amazing.”

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