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New Director Appointed to Oldenborg Center at Pomona College

Patricia Schiaffini has been named director of the Oldenborg Center for Modern Languages and International Relations and Assistant Professor of Chinese at Pomona College. The Oldenborg Center is a unique residential hall at the college that allows residents to immerse themselves in a foreign language and provides the entire campus with a wide variety of intercultural activities.

Schiaffini has taught language classes at several colleges and universities, including the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University and Beijing University in China, as well as at the Spanish Embassy in Beijing. She is fluent in Chinese, English and Spanish, has a working knowledge of Italian and French and familiarity with Japanese and Tibetan.

In addition, Schiaffini is a reviewer for “World Literature Today” and a co-editor of the forthcoming “Selected Studies in Modern Tibetan Literature” (Brill Academic Publishers). She is the author of many articles and papers. Her scholarly articles on modern Chinese and Tibetan literatures have appeared in English, Spanish and Chinese journals and she has written for the news media as well. She spent two years as the program director for the University of Pennsylvania’s East Asia House, where she organized Asia-related academic activities for the undergraduate community, including weekly language tables, lecture series and cultural activities. Her professional affiliations include the Chinese Language Teachers Association, Association for Asian Studies, Modern Language Association and Asociación Española del Pacífico.

Schiaffini received her bachelor’s degree in history from Complutense University in Madrid, Spain, her master’s degree in East Asian studies at Stanford University and her doctorate in Chinese language and literature from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, she completed four years of graduate work at Beijing University and was an exchange scholar at Princeton University.

The Oldenborg Center at Pomona College is a residential hall with a unique academic program that provides each student with formal and informal opportunities to acquire a foreign-language and become acquainted with other cultures. The staff at the Center includes six language residents who are native speakers of French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Spanish and who coordinate student activities. The Center also sponsors a wide variety of international and intercultural activities, most of which are open to the entire campus community. These include a luncheon lecture series, an international film series and special ethnic dinners, as well as the Oldenborg Language Lunch Program, which provides students, faculty and staff of Pomona College the opportunity to converse in more than 20 different languages over lunch each week.

Schiaffini will join Pomona College in July. She replaces former Oldenborg Director Professor Ann Bages, who retired after 18 years.

Pomona College is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions, offering a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.