navi Scroll & Click to Navigate something

History of IUP


Among the many U.S.-sponsored Chinese language training programs in China and Taiwan available to the current generation of students, IUP is widely recognized in academia as the oldest pre-eminent program where specialists in Chinese studies for over half a century received their Chinese language training.

James E. Dew and Vivian Ling

IUP Field Director, 1966-67, 1973-75, 1982-91

IUP Field Director, 1994-2000

For its entire existence, even from 1956 when its earliest predecessor the Cornell Center was founded in Taipei, IUP has existed within a volatile political climate as well as an evolving global academic environment. Its longevity – the fact that it continues to flourish today – is the best testimony not only to its ability to deliver first-rate language training, but also its ability to adapt to changing times. It has survived vicissitudes and risen to capture opportunities. This history continue to be an important guiding principle for IUP today.

Vivian Ling

IUP Field Director, 1994-2000




  • English Name:The Inter-University Fellowship Program for Field Training in Chinese
  • Commonly known as:“The Cornell Program”

In the early 1950s, scholars of China studies in the United States quickly became aware of a dearth of opportunities for advanced graduate students to study Chinese language in a Chinese-speaking environment. At this time, graduate students could achieve the skills necessary to translate primary sources written in Chinese but most lacked the ability to effectively use spoken Chinese as a means of communication. With generous funding by the Ford Foundation, Cornell Professor Harold Shadick founded the Inter-University Fellowship for Field Training in Chinese.

Running from 1956 to 1963, “the Cornell Program” was the direct predecessor of IUP, offering important lessons for structuring an advanced, on-site Chinese language training program. These lessons included striving for maximum flexibility in classroom, hiring and training the program’s own teachers, and keeping class sizes as small as possible, among many others.



  • English Name:Stanford University Center for Chinese Studies at National Taiwan University
  • Commonly known as:“The Stanford Center”

During the final year of the “Cornell Program,” Stanford University also launched a center for Chinese language training at NTU in Taipei. This “Stanford Center” enrolled twelve MA students from Stanford University and fully integrated the Taipei language curriculum with that of the home university’s Chinese language department. Although this Stanford-only program only lasted just one year, many people would continue to recognize IUP by “the Stanford Center” name over the program’s time in Taipei.

  • Columbia University
  • Princeton University
  • University of Michigan
  • Cornell University
  • Stanford University
  • University of Washington (1963-2017)
  • Harvard University
  • University of California, Berkeley


  • English Name:Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies
  • Chinese Name:史丹佛大學主辦,美國各大學中國語文聯合研習所
  • Commonly known as:“The Stanford Center”, “IUP”

The Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies was founded in 1963 by a consortium of eight American universities with leading centers of Chinese studies. Stanford University, the American administrator of IUP, was joined by Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Princeton University, University of California Berkeley, University of Michigan, and University of Washington. Yale University joined IUP the following year, followed by the University of Chicago in 1969. These ten universities formed the core members of IUP until the 1990s. Stanford Professor of History Lyman Van Slyke was IUP’s executive secretary for virtually all of its first three and a half decades of operation.

IUP’s teaching methodology and curriculum designed evolved during the years in Taiwan. For the majority of the 1960s, IUP students attended four hours of one-on-one classes each day. University of Kansas Professor Carl Leban (Field Director, 1968-69) instituted the “closed-book classroom” policy during his tenure, thereby prohibiting students from referring to their textbooks or notes during class. Professor David D. Buck from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (Field Director, 1971-72) began experimenting with group classes of two students and one teacher in the early 1970s. By 1980, IUP had implemented leading to the current curriculum of three hours of 3-on-1 group classes and one hour of 1-on-1 tutorial per day.

Housed at Taiwan University in Taipei, IUP was the preeminent in situ Chinese language center for scholars in China studies for decades, training several generations of academics focused on China. While the IUP student body was comprised almost exclusively of graduate students for the 1960s through the 1980s, the program broadened its student recruitment to reflect the growing diversity of career opportunities available in mainland China during the late 1980s and 1990s.

  • Yale University
  • University of Chicago


  • English Name:Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies
  • Chinese Name:清华大学IUP中文中心
  • Commonly known as:“IUP”, “IUP Chinese Center”

Due to changing institutional relationships in Taipei and recognition of China’s growing role in the world, the IUP consortium began exploring moving the program to Beijing in the mid-1990s. After several years of discussions in Stanford, Taipei, and Beijing, IUP relocated to Tsinghua University for the 1997-98 academic year. This also marked the end of an era for IUP’s American administration, as Executive Secretary Lyman Van Slyke retired from his role and the U.S.-based offices moved from Stanford University to the University of California, Berkeley, where it would remain for two decades. UC Berkeley Professor Stephen West held the role of Executive Director from 1996 – 2000, at which point Professor Thomas B. Gold of UC Berkeley assumed the Executive Directorship, a position he would hold until 2017.

Fortunately for the program, Vivian Ling (IUP Field Director, 1994-2000) oversaw the program’s relocation to Tsinghua University, providing key leadership and institutional stability during the transitional period.

From 1997 – 2012, IUP was hosted by Tsinghua’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences. A 2012 reorganization resulted in two separate schools: the School of Humanities and the School of Social Sciences, with the latter becoming IUP’s new host institution.

UC Berkeley’s administration of IUP concluded at the end of 2016, at which time IUP began the process of negotiating to have Stanford University assume the role of IUP Consortium Coordinator, completed in 2018.

Despite changing institutional relationships, IUP at Tsinghua has continued its core mission of intensive Chinese language training with the goal of elevating intermediate and advanced Chinese learners to full academic and professional fluency. The program has maintained the traditions, curriculum, and teaching methodology from the Taipei days, while evolving and adding new materials to meet the changing interests and priorities of the IUP student body.

Since its move to Beijing in 1997 to 2018, IUP has trained almost 2,000 students, who have since moved on to play key roles in China-related fields within academia, business, government, journalism, law, and media.

New Members (1996)
  • Indiana University
  • University of Pennsylvania (1996-2016)
  • University of British Columbia (1996-1999)
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison (1996-2007)
  • University of California, Los Angeles (1996-2013)
  • University of Oxford and the British Inter-University China Centre (2010-2011)
  • University of Virginia
  • University of British Columbia

If I had to encapsulate my experience directing IUP in Beijing during its first three years with just one thought, it would be that I was very privileged to have had a front row seat to … launching a second life for the distinguished program that had provided Chinese language training to so many leaders in the China field, and helping another generation of students acquire the indispensable skills to truly engage with China.

Vivian Ling

IUP Field Director, 1994-200
IUPeople, 50th Anniversary Special Edition, p. 39


Throughout its history, IUP’s primary mission has been to improve the Chinese language capability of each student, typically from an intermediate to an advanced level within nine to twelve months. This certainly was the goal during my student days and my directorship. The language instructors were demanding and thorough, and it was my observation that almost all the students willingly worked hard to improve their language ability.

William M. Spiedel

IUP Field Director, 1975-1980.
IUPeople, 50th Anniversary Special Edition, p. 20


As an IUP student, I benefited greatly; to have been director of this outstanding school for five years remains an honor and a high point of my career.

William M. Spiedel

Independent Scholar, Association Member of the East Asia Center at the University of Virginia; IUP Field Director, 1975-1980 (IUPeople, 50th Anniversary Special Edition, p. 21).


Executive Secretary / Executive Director / Faculty Director

  • James T.C. Liu, Stanford University (IUP Executive Secretary, 1962-1963)

  • Lyman P. Van Slyke, Stanford University (IUP Executive Secretary, 1963-1964)

  • Albert E. Dien, Stanford University (IUP Executive Secretary, 1964-1965)

  • Lyman P. Van Slyke, Stanford University (IUP Executive Secretary, 1965-1996)

  • Stephen West, UC Berkeley (IUP Executive Director, 1996-2000)

  • Thomas B. Gold, UC Berkeley (IUP Executive Director, 2000-2017)

  • Chaofen Sun, Stanford University (IUP Faculty Director, 2018 to present)

Field Director / Resident Director

  • Albert E. Dien, Stanford University (IUP Field Director, 1963-1964)*

  • Lyman P. Van Slyke, Stanford University (IUP Field Director, 1964-1965)*

  • Harriet C. Mills, University of Michigan (IUP Field Director, 1965-1966)

  • James E. Dew, University of Michigan (IUP Field Director, 1966-1967)*

  • Frederic Wakeman, UC Berkeley (IUP Field Director, 1967-1968)

  • Carl Leban, University of Kansas (IUP Field Director, 1968-1969)*

  • John C. Jamieson, UC Berkeley (IUP Field Director, 1969-1970)*

  • James J. Wrenn, Brown University (IUP Field Director, 1970-1971)*

  • David D. Buck, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (IUP Field Director, 1971-1972)*

  • M. Dayle Barnes, University of Pittsburgh (IUP Field Director, 1972-1973)*

  • James E. Dew, University of Michigan (IUP Field Director, 1973-1975)*

  • William M. Speidel, (IUP Field Director, 1975-1980)*

  • James Reardon-Anderson, Georgetown University (IUP Field Director, 1980-1981)*

  • Shou-Hsin Teng, University of Massachusetts Amherst (IUP Field Director, 1981-1982)

  • James E. Dew, (IUP Field Director, 1982-1991)*

  • Shou-Hsin Teng, University of Massachusetts Amherst (IUP Field Director, 1991-1993)

  • Chih-Ping Chou, Princeton University (IUP Field Director, 1993-1994)

  • Vivian Ling, (IUP Field Director, 1994-2000)

  • Jeffrey Crossland, (IUP Resident Director, 2000-2002)

  • John Thomson, (IUP Resident Director, 2002-2007)

  • Charles Laughlin, (IUP Resident Director, 2007-2010)

  • Kening Li, (IUP Resident Director, 2010-2015)

  • Brent Haas, (IUP Resident Director, 2015 – 2019)*

  • Andrew Andreasen, (IUP Resident Director, 2019 – Present)*

  • * From 1963 until today, eleven of the twenty IUP field on-site directors have been trained in Chinese language at either the Cornell Center, IUP Taipei, or IUP Tsinghua.