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The Asian Studies Center, named a National Undergraduate Resource Center (Title VI NRC) since 2000 by the U.S. Department of Education, directs one of the largest, most diverse programs of education about Asia in the Midwest. Unlike comparable programs, the Center is distinguished by its comprehensive attention to East, Central, South, Southeast, and West Asia in the design of its curriculum, focus of faculty research, and scope of outreach activities. Presently, the Center's nearly two hundred affiliated faculty represent disciplines ranging across the curriculum in teaching undergraduate and graduate students.
The Asian Studies Center began as Michigan State University's academic center for developing and coordinating Asia-related programs in 1962. During the Center's first decades, Asian Studies centered on students and faculty working in the East Asia regional area. From the 1960s to the 1980s, the Center's accomplishments received wide recognition and funding from the Social Science Research Council, the Luce Foundation, the Japan Foundation, the Korea Foundation, and other agencies.
In recent years, the Center has undergone a major transition as the curriculum, faculty research, exchange programs, and outreach activities have developed to embrace programs in places as diverse as India, Indonesia, Korea, and Nepal. Emblematic of this development is the growth of MSU's overseas linkages to dozens of locations throughout Asia today.
The Asian Studies Center's shift toward an all-Asia emphasis reflects the university's growing internationalization. Two-thirds of MSU's foreign students and over half of the university's 1200 foreign scholars come from Asia and nearly 2,000 undergraduates are Asian-Pacific Americans. The changing domestic demographics and the increase in students and scholars from Asia have created demands for an Asian Studies curriculum relevant to new needs and experiences reflecting the university's genuinely multicultural quality.