One characteristic of our Flagship program is that almost all students begin their college careers with full Flagship standing. They are able to enter at an appropriate level, regardless of their background, and have courses available to them for the duration of their undergraduate careers. College is a time of self-discovery, and not surprisingly, some students will discover at some point that Chinese Flagship is not for them. We understand this and support students in their academic pursuits both inside and outside of Flagship.
That being said, our program is sponsored by a national grant. The Language Flagship is unbending in its goal to brand its certified graduates based on their common experiences and abilities. If a student’s plans cease to allow for the completion of the national requirements, the student must be removed from Flagship and its exclusive courses.
We have experienced a trend over the years of students dropping out immediately after receiving large scholarships, or just before completing the Capstone year. While we do want to account for students’ life changes, we must be responsible with the funds we are given. To prevent students from continuing in the program after deciding to drop out, we have instituted a “scholarship as loan” policy with the following requirements:
- The scholarships students receive toward our Summer in Taiwan Program (CHIN 215) will require that students sign a terms and conditions agreement. Students must affirm that they intend to remain in Flagship through the Capstone year. They must also agree to the requirement that the students complete the summer coursework successfully and remain in Flagship for the fall Flagship course immediately after the Taiwan program (normally this is CHIN 313).The purpose of this policy is simply to prevent any students deciding in the previous spring, while taking CHIN 212, that they will drop out of Flagship, but not before “cashing in” on the summer trip to China. Any student who genuinely intends to continue on with Flagship should have no trouble completing one more course after CHIN 215.
Note: “completion” of the summer program and fall course after CHIN 215 does not mean that the student must earn a passing grade. It simply means that the student cannot choose not to register, to withdraw, or otherwise avoid receiving a grade for the course. For the summer program, a student can lose the scholarship if he/she is removed from the program for failing to abide by established policy after receiving written warning. Again, the purpose of this policy is to prevent misuse of government funds. If a student has valid reasons for being unable to continue, the program will certainly consider them in deciding whether or not to rescind the scholarship.
This policy may seem harsh, but again, its only purpose is to insure that students who have no intention of completing the non-negotiable requirements of The Language Flagship do not take unfair advantage of the system and then leave The Defense Language & National Security Education Office (DLNSEO) with poor statistics to present to Congress for renewed funding. Most students will have no trouble completing these requirements and will have no reason to even think about them, except perhaps during senior year, when they realize how marketable they are, even without topping off their language and cultural abilities at Capstone. Flagship students tend to be so far beyond their peers in language proficiency that landing a job right out of college should not be a challenge. The real challenge is thinking ahead to one’s 3rd or 4th job, when the less tangible abilities can make a very big difference in one’s career advancement.
Skills that distinguish "fluency" from "professional proficiency"
- reading a room
- giving due recognition to the right people
- interpreting words and actions according to Chinese cultural norms, particularly when they would otherwise seem offensive
- making sure one's own choice of words or behaviors will be interpreted as intended