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A committee has been formed under the auspices of the Provost and the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences to review and assess the operation of the Confucius Institute (CI) at Tufts.  The Committee will provide recommendations concerning the status of the Confucius Institute at Tufts—including the renewal of Tufts’ Memoranda of Understanding with Hanban/CI Headquarters and with Beijing Normal University (BNU), which are scheduled to expire in June 2019.  The Committee will deliver its recommendations to the Interim Provost, Deborah Kochevar, and to Dean of Arts and Sciences Jim Glaser by November 20, 2018.

Background on Tufts’ Confucius Institute:

The Confucius Institute (CI) at Tufts University is a non-profit educational collaboration between Tufts and Beijing Normal University (BNU).  CI is funded by Hanban/CI Headquarters, the Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, and is hosted by Tufts, with BNU as Tufts’ Chinese university partner.  It has a Board of Directors, with 5 Tufts-appointed members and 4 from BNU, who approve the development program, annual plans, budget proposals and financial accounts.  The Chair of the Board is from Tufts, as is the CI Director (Prof. Mingquan Wang), and there is a Chinese Institute Director appointed by BNU (and approved by Tufts). Tufts’ MOUs with Hanban/CI Headquarters and with BNU can be found here.

According to Tufts’ MOUs with the BNU and Confucius Institute Headquarters, the scope of Tufts’ CI activities includes:

  • Teaching Chinese language and providing Chinese language resources;
  • Training Chinese language instructors;
  • Holding the HSK examination (Chinese proficiency test) and tests for the certification of Chinese language teachers;
  • Providing information and consultative services concerning China’s education, culture and so forth;
  • Conducting language and cultural exchange activities; and
  • Other activities—with prior authorization from the CI Board of Directors and with consultation with CI Headquarters and Tufts.

Mandate of the Review Committee:

The Committee will provide an assessment and recommendations to the Provost and the Dean concerning the future of the Confucius Institute, specifically:

  1. An assessment of the benefits of and concerns with the operation of the Confucius Institute at Tufts;
  2. A review of the external data, including other universities’ experience, raising concerns about Confucius Institutes and their potential relevance to Tufts;
  3. An assessment and explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of renewal of the contract for the Confucius Institute at Tufts, in light of a) and b) above; and
  4. Recommendations identifying any changes or revisions to agreements, processes or structures for CI’s activities it believes should be put into place in the event Tufts chooses to renew the CI contract, including recommendations on reporting lines and supervision of CI (i.e., where it should report and structures and processes for supervision).

In developing the assessment and recommendations, the Committee will consider:

  • Whether the activities are within the scope contemplated by the MOU;
  • The quality of the teaching, including textbooks and teaching materials;
  • The benefits and costs to the Tufts community and to Tufts University more generally—including financial, cultural, educational, reputational, etc.;
  • Whether governance, supervision and other processes related to CI’s operation are adequate to ensure freedom from any restrictions or pressure related to academic freedom at Tufts.

The Committee will submit a report summarizing its findings and recommendations to to the Provost and the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences by November 30, 2018. The Committee welcomes questions and comments by contacting

Review Committee Members:

Joe Auner, Dean of Academic Affairs for Arts & Sciences

Diana Chigas, Senior International Officer & Associate Provost, Chair

Executive Associate Dean of Arts & Sciences (TBA, currently Jim Hurley)

Charles Inouye, Professor, International Literary & Cultural Studies, A&S

Mary Jeka, Senior Vice President of University Relations and General Counsel

Man Xu, Professor of History, A&S

Xueping Zhong, Department of Literary and Cultural Studies and Director, Chinese Program, A&S