EPAC: English Proficiency and American Culture

This program is offered only to the visiting scholars associated with the Asian Affairs Center's programs.

The English Proficiency and American Culture (EPAC) program contributes to the personal and professional goals of its participants by developing and enhancing their communication abilities in English, which are essential to understanding American culture, politics, society, and economy.
 
The ESL classes are specifically designed to meet the needs of participants. The purpose of the classes is to encourage participants to use English in the United States and to feel comfortable conversing in English when they return to their home country. Emphasis is on English conversational usage. Although there will be some writing, grammar and pronounciation, speaking English is clearly the primary target of this program.

A communicative approach will be used to encourage participants to construct knowledge of English. A variety of activities and resources will be used in the ESL classes. They include tapes, videos and other activities.

Descriptions of topic courses for the Fall are as follows:

101. Travel and Tourism, and Geography-WSTERN HALF

The class includes a variety of activities that highlight aspects of the Eastern half of the United States. Through individual, small group and large group activities, students will gain further understanding of the people and culture of the United States through regional geography. Students are encouraged to set future travel goals and share their personal travel experiences.
Course content will be focused on travel, tourism, and geography. And it will include terms, phrases, and idioms, U.S. trivia-seasonal and weather information-time zones-history-cultural differences-regional cuisine, festivals, local landmarks, museums, transportation, economy-leisure activities-tourist attractions-travel tips.

102. In the News - Current Events & Activities in Columbia

Text: Inside Columbia magazine
We will read and discuss magazine articles related to Columbia, Missouri. The articles will focus on current events, human interest stories, and leisure activities in Columbia, Missouri. Additionally, we will discuss newspaper articles related to local news, events, and activities.

103. American Business Practices: Linda Breedlove

“The business of America is business”. In this course we will discuss corporate culture and customs, with a site visit and tour of one of Columbia's largest employers. U.S wage and hiring practices will be covered, along with the conversational topics of discrimination, quotas, and Affirmative Action programs and some landmark Supreme Court decisions in the past fifty years pertaining to these. The impact of proposed immigration regulation and its possible effect will be discussed. There will be some guest speakers to talk about America's labor unions and also the role of volunteerism in American family budgets its expenses – and determine if huge credit card debt is really necessary! We will try to get a local entrepreneur to share his/her experiences with starting and growing a business. Finally, we will talk about all kinds of taxes: sales, luxury, income, property, inheritance, etc.

104. What's Up Front - U. S. Federal Departments: Dona Sue Cool

What's up front - what's happening within the federal departments which are represented by their secretaries (directors) who sit on President Obama's Cabinet? How do the new leaders of these departments (appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate) view their missions? How do they plan to achieve their goals? Do the goals within these departments differ from those which guided them during the Bush administration? Will relationships between federal departments and the states change? How will U. S. international relations change? Scholars will have opportunities to make presentations to the class on related topics, especially those which may affect agreements between the U. S. and Korea and other countries in the Pacific rim.

105. Advanced Professional Presentations: Dona Sue Cool

This speaking class has been designed to offer participants an intensive professional speaking experience. This course is for scholars with advanced speaking abilities and will include short weekly formal presentations on various topics, a formal debate, some group work, power point tips and pronunciation as well as basic communication skills practice. Resources for presentations will include newspapers, news magazines, television specials (as available), the internet and publications of state-wide interest including Missouri Life.

106. Music Across America: Sheila Bailey

America's musical history includes different genres: blues, classical, country, folk, jazz, rhythm &blues, rock'n roll. In this class we will explore these musical genres. We will learn about their instruments, artists, songs, and written music. Also included will be historical backgrounds, recorded music, photographs, taped performances, etc. Guests and information about music in local restaurants and programs in town will be provided when possible. Come join us for a musical ride in America

107. Local Government and Citizen Involvement : Robert Ross

This course examines local government organizations, with emphasis on the City of Columbia. Subjects covered will include organization, policy making, funding sources, the roles of elected officials and key staff members and the role citizens play in the decision-making process. Discussions will include a review of current issues.

108. Business Etiquette and Dinner

This is a class about professional presentation. You will learn how to wisely use nuances to distinguish yourself in your career. Target areas of study include making a positive first impression, networking, business introductions, business meetings, attire, gender issues, and communication. This class will provide you with practical skills that you can begin using immediately.

109. The Art of Leadership: Fran Reynolds

This class will explore the “art” of leadership by looking at the personal qualities, skills and knowledge of a good leader, what the different styles of leadership are and how one can improve on one's own leadership skills. The class will also look at how a good leader works with all kinds of people, manages conflict, builds effective teamwork, sets goals and objectives, runs a good meeting and manages job stress.

110. Food and Culture

There might not be a better way to work up an appetite than to talk about food right before lunch! This course will be a food lover's exploration into the different cuisine and eating customs of numerous countries and cultures. We will discuss various food-related topics including history of certain iconic foods, eating habits and customs as well as nutrition. We will also explore the fusion of different ethnic foods in relation to globalization. Bon Appetit!

111. Idiomatic Business English. M. Susan Malone

In this seven-week course you will learn idioms and expressions that are used in business settings in the business world of America. The workplace is full of idioms and once you have learned these common expressions, you will more easily interact with Americans and sound more and more like a native English speaker. You will increase your vocabulary, participate in dialogues, and have individual and small group practice in listening to and speaking idiomatic English.

112. Defining Moments in 20th Century American History. Fran Reynolds

America, as a nation, came of age in the 20th Century and emerged as a world power. What were the defining moments (important events that changed the course of the country economically, politically, culturally or socially) in the 20th Century that made significant changes in America? In this course we will study those events in relation to what was happening in the rest of the world, their significance and lasting impact on the United States and its people.

113. Education in America. Lesley Sapp

This course will provide an in-depth look at the structure of American schools, ranging from preschool to university. We will examine the student/teacher relationship, student culture, funding for education on various levels, extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs and music, and attitudes towards education in the United States. Students will also study social behaviors and study habits typical of university students. Students will have a greater understanding for how our public school system is structured, as well as the challenges and assets of other types of non-public education.

114. Conversational English: Sheila Bailey

Are you still feeling uncomfortable speaking to English speakers in situations? Not to worry. This class will give you practice with different situations and how to handle them. We will include the needed vocabulary and the questions to ask. We will talk about different conversations: telephone, friendly, business, government, telemarketers, football, etc. Come join us to feel more competent speaking English in a conversation.

115. American Film: How the Silver Screen Reflects American Culture and Social Conflict

In this course, we will take a brief look at the history of American cinema films and look at the “Best of the Best” pictures, actors, actresses and directors as determined by the AFI (American Film Institute) and study a brief history of the Academy Awards. Select your own favorite film “genre” – comedy, western, drama, science, fiction, historical, biographical, etc. – and find out what others picked as top movies in this category. We will discuss the impact of the controversial movie ratings system on what parents and children watch. We will watch several major American movies and discuss the impact of each on issues of that time. We will possibly take a backstage tour of our Historic Missouri Theatre, which was a movie house from 1928 to the 1960s.

116. Advanced Professional Writing. Fran Reynolds

Resumes/vitas, memos, e-mail, action-producing letters, informative and interesting reports, articles for journals, proposals, instructions, press releases, speeches, power point are just some of the modes of writing that effective leaders in business, industry, government and the professions need to know how to compose successfully. This class is for those scholars who would like to hone their English writing skills for a variety of professional purposes. Each class session will focus on one mode of professional writing. Some homework will be required to practice what is learned class, but will not amount to more than 30 minutes twice/week

117. The Case Studies: The American Public Policies – Mr. Robert Ross and Dr. Seungkwon You

This course examines the best cases of American public policies. This could range from the human resource management, downtown revitalization project, emergency management, best cities to live, urban planning, and etc. Different case studies of local government practices will provide officials the comparative view of American and Korean government practices and enhance them to apply in their own governments.

118. Social issues and trends in the USA - Jim Baden

This class will explore current social issues and trends in the US. The class will learn about the 25 trends that changed America, and examine how Americans feel about such trendy social issues as the pursuit of happiness; leadership and gender, gay marriage, money, the death penalty, the changing political landscape, and some less serious trends as well. This is an interactive class, so there will be plenty of discussion, some writing and lots of critical thinking.

119. “Religion in America” - M. Susan Malone

Religion plays an important role in the lives of many Americans with recent research indicating that 69% of Americans have a belief in God. Religion in America has an influence in society, culture, government, communities, churches, and in personal and private lives of individuals. Religion is also an important factor shaping American beliefs and attitudes.
In this course students will be given an overview of the major religions of Christianity and Judaism with an emphasis on beliefs and practices. Students will learn about Catholicism, Protestantism, Evangelicalism and how religious beliefs and churches are changing due to a fast-paced society and the influx of people from nations that practice other major religions such as Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism. Trends in American religion in the 21st century will also be explored. Guest speakers will present and field trips are planned to visit places of worship.

120. Beginning English – Brad Jacobson

This class will explore English through learning about Columbia, the Mizzou campus, and other topics of curiosity. Included will be: classroom discussions, in class short readings and writing experiences. The four areas of literacy will be covered (reading, writing, listening, and speaking)