Grant money will expand Asian Studies program at Fairfield University

Students to benefit from new art courses

Image: Fairfield campusCollege students at Fairfield University are now able to enjoy brand new courses in Japanese art this year because of special funding awarded to the Jesuit institution. The ASIANetwork/Henry Luce Foundation has given the institution a $31,000 grant to expand the school's Asian Studies program, and hire additional faculty.

Manyul Im, Ph.D., a philosophy professor and the project director at Fairfield said, "The grant is really for schools in situations similar to our own - we're a smaller, teaching-oriented university with fewer resources than research-oriented ones. ASIANetwork is a great organization for us." ASIANetwork is a consortium of over 170 U.S. colleges, which strive to strengthen the role of Asian Studies within the framework of liberal arts education.

By applying to the program, the university is committed to expanding their areas of expertise and teaching to areas in East Asia beyond China. "We have an excellent core of faculty with expertise in China and South/Southeast Asia," said Im. "We realized that to provide adequate coverage of Asia, we needed to address our lack of expertise on Japan-now the third largest economy in the world."

That included hiring postdoctoral teaching fellow, Ive Covaci, Ph.D. "Dr. Covaci was clearly the best candidate among the applicants; her academic background is just stellar. Her expertise in Japanese art history is a great fit for the expansion that we sought through the grant," said Im.

Covaci received her Ph.D. in history of art from Yale in 2007. She has held internships at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris and at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and spent one year at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language studies in Yokohama on a Blakemore Foundation grant to study advanced Japanese language.

"I applied for this position because it seemed to be a great opportunity to work within both an Asian Studies and an Art History program, something that fits with my interdisciplinary approach," said Covaci. "I was attracted to the small class sizes and to the ideal location close to major art museums with Asian collections, which I consider to be an integral part of my teaching."

Covaci is responsible for teaching two art history courses, and says the classes are going very well, and she is enjoying teaching the students immensely. "Many are taking the courses for a core requirement, yet they seem very engaged and interested in learning about Asian and non-western art," she said.

Im noted that he hopes this grant will be the beginning of many things, including using the fellowship as the groundwork for establishing at least one permanent position in a Japan-centered field of expertise.

"Fairfield students would benefit immensely from having courses of study about Asian art history and economics; and Japan looms large in both those areas," he concluded.

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Media Contact: Mark Gregorio, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647,

Posted on December 2, 2010

Vol. 43, No. 138

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