Yan Zhang

Senior Lecturer

Chinese 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 responsibility of a successful language instructor is not only to teach language, but is to provide students worldwide with opportunities, to inspire them, and to accompany them in realizing their dreams.  

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, and Business Chinese, Chinese movie class and the first-year seminar class.  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. 

In recognition of my excellent standards and effective teaching during my time at UW, I have been lucky enough to receive teaching awards and grant for research, travel, and community service, such as UW’s John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award (2017), the Extraordinary Merit Award for Teaching (2008, 2011), the Promoting Intellectual Engagement Award (2013, 2017, 2019, 2021, 2023), the Top Professor Award (2009, 2011, 2023), A&S 2017 Top Teacher Awards (2017), A&S the Thumbs-Up Award (2009, 2018, 2020), CGS International Research Grant (2020), and A&S Travel Award (2022).

 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 have the 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


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)

portrait photo of professor Zhang

Yan Zhang

Hoyt 208

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