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Yan Zhang

Department of Modern & Classical Languages

Yan Zhang

Yan Zhang
APL, Senior
Chinese Program Director
Chinese Study Abroad Program Director
M.A. Public Policy Making, Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences
B.A. Education on Ideology and Politics; Economic Management, Harbin Institute of Technology


I was invited to UW to establish the Chinese program in 2002.  As the Director and founder of the Chinese language program, I am responsible for teaching Chinese classes, recruiting new students, and supervising and training the Chinese professors during the UW Summer study abroad program.  With my dedication, the Chinese program has developed from offering one elementary language course into a full Chinese minor, which includes an intensive, faculty-led Chinese study abroad program.  It is my goal to ensure that my students are well prepared to be global citizens, and to further this goal I wrote and published the textbook “Learning Chinese Step by Step” (Heilongjiang People Press, 2004).  


I teach various language courses from beginning Chinese to advanced Chinese. Outside of the classroom I have been selected as a keynote speaker at national and international academic conferences on Chinese business and cross-cultural communication. In recognition of my excellent standards and effective teaching during my time at UW, I have been lucky enough to receive multiple teaching awards, such as the Extraordinary Merit Award for Teaching (2008, 2011), the Thumbs-Up Award (2009), the Promoting Intellectual Engagement Award (2013, 2017), the Top Professor Award (2009, 2011), A & S 2017 Top Teacher Awards (2017), UW’s John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award (2017). 


With many years teaching, I have come to recognize the totality of my passion and have found my life’s purpose in teaching. I also found that teaching is one of the most noble things in my life. I enjoy it every day.


Research Interests: Business Chinese and Chinese culture

Course Taught:

CHIN1101. First Year Seminar: A Taste of China

CHIN1010. First Year Chinese I (fulfills H requirement)

CHIN1020. First Year Chinese II (fulfills H requirement)

CHIN2030. Second Year Chinese I

CHIN2040. Second Year Chinese II

CHIN2041. Contemporary and Traditional Chinese Culture

CHIN3055. Business Chinese (fulfills G and COM2 requirement)

CHIN3160. See Movies, Touch China (fulfills H requirement)


For more information and stories about the Chinese program at UW please visit:


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