Integrating East Asia into Middle and High School World History and Geography Courses

Sponsored by the Tennessee Geographic Alliance, The National Consortium for Teaching About Asia, and The Center for Global Partnerships

Click here to download an application


December 2014-March 2015

We are seeking 20 outstanding Tennessee social studies teachers for a unique professional development opportunity. East Asia is one of the most important regions in the world and Tennessee is the site of extensive Japanese investment. The new fused World History and Geography courses offer enhanced opportunities for students to learn about East Asia. Using the new Tennessee Standards, program leaders will assist participants in learning content and teaching strategies that are directly applicable to teaching the new World History and Geography Standards. Program instructors include:

Ronald Kalafsky, University of Tennessee Department of Geography

Lucien Ellington, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Asia Program and School of Education

Asami Nakano, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Japan Outreach Coordinator

Sidney Lu, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga History Department

Juefei Wang, University of Vermont and the Freeman Foundation

Collectively, the instructors for this professional development program have conducted approximately 200 Asia-related professional development programs for thousands of teachers.

Teachers who are selected to participate and successfully complete this professional development program will receive stipends and curriculum materials, including complimentary subscriptions to Education About Asia and copies of Key Issues in Asian Studies, a pedagogical series for students and teachers, upon completion of the program. Participants who complete the professional development program will also earn enough credits to qualify as National Consortium for Teaching About Asia Alumni.

The National Consortium for Teaching About Asia (NCTA), funded by the Freeman Foundation, is a multi-year initiative to encourage and facilitate teaching and learning about East Asia in world history, geography, social studies, and literature courses. Launched in October 1998, this nationwide program is a collaboration of the East Asian Studies programs of five national institutions: Columbia University, the Five College Center for East Asia Studies, Indiana University, the University of Colorado, and the University of Washington. More than 17,000 teachers have participated in NCTA seminars since the program began. The UTC Asia Program is a Columbia University NCTA partner site.

Becoming an NCTA alumni has several benefits. First and foremost, you learn more about East Asia but as an alumni, you are also positioned to compete for national and other study tours of China, Japan, and the Korean Peninsula. Also, NCTA has a national reputation for excellence and many Tennessee teachers are accepted for prestigious summer Asia institutes in such places as Boulder, CO and Los Angeles, CA based on their NCTA alumni status.

Who is Eligible for this Professional Development Program?

Any public or private school Tennessee social studies teacher who is not an NCTA alumni is eligible.

What are the Expectations of Participants?

Accepted participants will be sent a few online preparatory assignments for workshop one. The expectation is that participants will complete these assignments by January 10th.

Participants will attend two, one-day workshops conducted at Oak Ridge High School in Oak Ridge, TN on Saturday January 10th and Saturday February 7th . Participants will complete a second set of assignments after workshop one for the second workshop. Please click here for the agendas for each workshop.

Between February 7th and March 1st all participants will prepare two lessons based upon the standards for the new courses and what they learned from the readings, websites, and two workshops. These will be submitted to Lucien Ellington by March 1st. Upon successful completion of the lesson plans, participants will be certified as NCTA alumni.

Although the program’s sponsors expect all teachers to be selected by late November, qualified applicants will be selected on a first come-first served basis. 

If you have any questions, email Jeffrey Melnik of the UTC Asia Program at