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Yan Zhang

Department of Modern & Classical Languages

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


The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness. –Lao Tzu (ancient Chinese philosopher and writer)

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.  I teach various language courses from beginning Chinese to advanced Chinese.  Since 2002, I have helped the Chinese program develop from offering one elementary language course into a full Chinese minor, which includes an intensive, faculty-led Chinese study abroad program. I have also written and published the textbook “Learning Chinese Step by Step” (Heilongjiang People Press, 2004).

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, 2018), the Promoting Intellectual Engagement Award (2013, 2017, 2019), the Top Professor Award (2009, 2011), A & S 2017 Top Teacher Awards (2017), UW’s John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award (2017). 

With more than 20 years teaching, I have found my life's purpose through my passion for teaching.  I constantly strive to prepare my students to be global citizens.  I also love meeting new students who love new experiences and new ideas.  My personal goal is to bring all that I can into the classroom so that my students build confidence when they enter the world.

I welcome you to the Chinese program!  Let's journey together towards new adventures!  Join the Chinese program and be proud of yourself for taking a new path to grow! 

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:

portrait photo of professor Zhang

Yan Zhang

Hoyt 208
Office Hours: MW 1:15-2:45pm |

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