CHRISTOPHER CAMERON/THE STATESMAN
The Seoul Government Complex in Gyeonggi province, South Korea. The Korean Teacher Education Program was established through a $457,000 grant provided by the Korean Education Center, a subdivision of the South Korean Consulate in New York. CHRISTOPHER CAMERON/THE STATESMAN

The Stony Brook University Center for Korean Studies is now offering the first Korean Teacher Certification program in the United States.

The Korean Teacher Education Program is an Asian and Asian-American Studies undergraduate program. It will allow participants to become a certified teacher of the Korean language at a secondary level in New York State.

The program was established by the Center for Korean Studies at Stony Brook University in July of 2012 through a $457,000 grant provided by the Korean Education Center, a subdivision of the South Korean Consulate in New York.

After almost two years of review by both the State University of New York and the New York Department of Education, the Korean Teacher Certification Program was approved and made public for student recruitment in the Fall 2015 semester.

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“The Center for Korean Studies at Stony Brook University is committed to enrich and expand academic curricula and programs in Korean Studies,” Dr. Jiwon Hwang, lecturer in the Department of Asian and Asian-American Studies, said in an email, “And the Teacher Certification program for Korean language in AAAS is one of the efforts made to pursue this goal and to address the demand for certified Korean language teachers that has been increasing.”

The creation of the program was motivated by the increasing strength of the South Korean economy and the spread of Korean popular culture in the global market, Hwang said. This surge in relevance highlighted an increasing demand to provide Korean language instruction at a secondary level in the United States.

Several changes to the proposed undergraduate program had been made between the program’s establishment and final approval, including the revision of degree and curricular requirements and the creation of new courses to meet those requirements.

“It is hard to share what revisions took place exactly, partly because there were several and partly because they were all done at different levels,” Hwang said. “But I can say that they were all for creating a more coherent and rigorous curriculum that is consistent with the goals of the University undergraduate curricula and conforms to the regulations of the NY Department of Education.”

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The Center for Korean Studies also consulted with the Professional Education Program and sought support from several other departments and universities on revisions that needed to be made to the curriculum.

Students who enter the program will be required to complete the Professional Education Program degree requirements and New York State licensure tests in addition to the curricular requirements in Asian American Studies.

The first information session for potential applicants will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 30, from 1 to 2 p.m. at room N5520 in the Melville Library.

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