Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE)

LIASE Summer 2019

The Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE) Program aims to support integrated, innovative projects and programs that promote Asian studies within the context of environmental studies. W&J’s grant reflects the unique faculty strengths, programmatic interests, needs and priorities of the College. Following successful completion of an 18-month exploratory grant, W&J was awarded a 4-year implementation grant to focus on the four specific projects described below. Broadly speaking, the grant supports development in the following areas:

  • Student knowledge of Chinese culture, language, and environmental challenges/opportunities in China
  • Student travel to and research in China
  • W&J faculty development
  • W&J curricular enhancement
  • Collaboration and exchange between W&J and Chinese faculty members
  • Community-based research, service learning and practical training opportunities to foster application of theoretical knowledge to real-world problems
  • Program and interdepartmental coordination, study abroad, field-based work, and strengthening campus support capacity

Partnerships & Programs

Guangdong Education University

“Bioremediation of Contaminated Sites” is a partnership between Professors Jennifer Logan-Bayline (Chemistry) and Jason Kilgore (Biology) of W&J with Professors Yulian Gong and Zhidan Li, Professors of Ecology at Guangdong Education University, Guangzhou, China. The objectives of this project are to:

  1. Create opportunities for W&J students and faculty to visit China and investigate applications of bioremediation with their counterparts. Emphasis will be on sites contaminated from industrial activities and wastewater treatment (possible focus on rhizosphere activity and applications of water spinach).
  2. Facilitate the generation of materials for the development/expansion of appropriate courses and student research at W&J. The team will join research by Professors Gong, Li, and their students. Professors Gong and Li of Guangdong Education University will each visit W&J once, one in 2018-2019 and another in 2020-2021.

Sino-German Eco-Park/Qingdao University

"Collaboration with the Sino-German Eco-Park" is a partnership between Professors Robert East (Environmental Studies), Patrick Caffrey (History), and James March (Biology) of W&J, with Professor Tony Zhang (Economics) at Qingdao University, and Mr. Wang Duo, Chairman of the Board of the Sino-German United Group Co. Ltd.  The objectives of this project are to:

  1. Create a competitive, interdisciplinary internship which provides W&J students practical work experience in managing a large-scale, eco-friendly development project; students will participate in purchasing/procurement, operations, and public relations; student research opportunities include monitoring/evaluating a subset of the forty “sustainability criteria” previously identified by Eco-Park scientists. These criteria examine ecological, social, and economic aspects of sustainability; upon their return to W&J, students will be required to speak at Sustainability Committee, Green Club, and Chinese club meetings.
  2. Provide opportunities for W&J faculty members to visit and investigate sustainability initiatives in China to ultimately generate materials for the development/expansion of appropriate courses and research at W&J. Two W&J students will participate in the internship each year. Mr. Wang Duo and/or his designee will visit W&J once during the four-year program.  While at W&J, Dr. Zhang will be working with Drs. East, March, and Caffrey on supply chain investigations, and will be invited to give guest lectures in appropriate courses.  Mr. Wang Duo or his designee will visit with city planners, zoning code enforcement staff, public transit authorities, and other relevant professionals.  While each is here, W&J will host a symposium or workshop on sustainable urban/peri-urban development.

China University of Petroleum

“Transition of Resource-Based Cities in China” is a collaboration between Professors Nichole Fifer (Political Science) and Zheya Gai (Political Science, International Studies) of W&J, with Professors Jun Wang, Hui Li and Ying Ma of the School of Economics and Management at the China University of Petroleum in Qingdao. The objectives of this project are to:

  1. Facilitate W&J faculty/students conducting collaborative investigation with their counterparts in China University of Petroleum (CUP) on the challenges and responses in the transition of resource-based cities in China.
  2. Provide opportunities for CUP faculty members and students to conduct collaborative research on revitalization of rust belt cities in Southwestern PA.
  3. Provide opportunities for shared insight between faculty and students at the two institutions on issues associated with the transition of resource-based cities in both China and the US.
  4. Generate materials for the development/expansion of appropriate courses and research at W&J.

A W&J team of two faculty members and two to three students will travel to CUP for three weeks from late May to mid-June in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Professors Wang, Li, and Ma of CUP as well as 1-2 graduate students will visit W&J as visiting scholars. They will guest lecture in classes, give public talks, participate in educational excursions to regional rust belt communities, engage with faculty and students from Political Science/ Economics/International Studies/Environmental Studies, and interact with students from the Asian Cultures Association/Chinese Club/Green Club.

Research Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection (RIFEEP); Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF)

“Isolation of Plant Metabolites” is a collaboration between Dr. Robbie Iuliucci of W&J and Dr. Donghui Yan of the Chinese Academy of Forestry.  The objectives are to:

  1. Create competitive research opportunities which provide W&J students’ practical laboratory experience in projects associated with but not limited to ecology, microbiology, and analytical chemistry;
  2. Provide opportunities for W&J faculty members to visit and investigate environmental research initiatives in China to ultimately generate materials for the development and expansion of appropriate courses and research at W&J;
  3. Collaborate on research to be undertaken by The Chinese Academy of Forestry and W&J with a focus on, but not limited to, the isolation of plant metabolites.  Specific attention will be given to plants and metabolites that will have a potential economic, ecological, and social impact.

During 2018 and 2019, Dr. Iuliucci along with two students will visit the laboratory at The Chinese Academy of Forestry and the Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection (IFEEP) to learn key aspects of the project. Students and faculty will facilitate joint research into methods for the identification, extraction, and purification of plant metabolites which hold promise for benefitting the economy, ecology, and society; and create opportunities for both sides to participate in research on environmental topics relevant to both the U.S. and China. In addition to Dr. Iuliucci, three other W&J professors involved in the program—Drs. Robert East, James March, and/or Jennifer Logan-Bayline--will each visit The Chinese Academy of Forestry once during the four-year program to help facilitate and assess the students’ experiences and to develop and conduct investigations on environmental research in China. Dr. Yan will visit W&J once during the project implementation period, the goal being to facilitate communication and to promote sharing of information to ensure success.