Klein Center for Culture and Globalization to be led by Chiaoning Su

Chiaoning Su has been selected by Oakland University to serve as director of the Barry M. Klein Center for Culture and Globalization.

The Klein Center’s vision is to promote national and international dialogue, recruit researchers and scholars and create opportunities for students and faculty to experience culture and globalization studies. With this vision, Su would like to bring the world to OU and promote OU to the world.

“I hope this new center will achieve two things: to cultivate students’ interest in global culture and international affairs, and to increase OU’s visibility internationally and thereby encourage more cultural exchanges — for example, institutional partnership and growing our international student body,” Su said.

Su is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication, Journalism and Public Relations who received her Ph.D. in media and communication from Temple University in 2015. Su’s experience speaks for itself, as her research interests are culture and globalization — though it is also her lived experience.

“I was born and raised in Taiwan, moved to the United States in 2007 and started teaching at OU in 2016. Ever since I joined OU, I have worked to serve as a cultural ambassador bridging the knowledge flow between the East and the West,” Su said. “In addition to teaching the East Asian Popular Culture Class for the Honors College, I co-organized OU’s Taiwan Week in 2017, 2018 and 2021 to foster a dialogue on global competency within and beyond OU.”

The center will recruit an internationally renowned visiting chair every year to work alongside two OU faculty who share similar agendas of research. Su feels the collaboration will cultivate OU as a place for deep thinking about issues related to globalization and culture.

Despite the Klein Center being so recently established in 2021, Su is confident the benefits will come sooner rather than later.

“It will take a few years to grow this center to its full potential,” Su said, “yet given the enthusiastic applications we received this year for both the Visiting Chair and Faculty Fellow positions, I am very confident we will get there soon.”

The Klein Center is currently looking for two College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate students to work with the Distinguished Faculty Fellows. These students will receive the Klein Center Undergraduate Scholar Award and will have opportunities to present their work on the annual theme.

The students must have demonstrated enthusiasm in international affairs and have to be capable to help the Center’s operation.

For the Winter 2023 program, the theme for the Klein Center is Race, Ethnicities and Identities in Transition. The center wants to train the next generation to think in global terms so they will be valuable allies, partners and contributors to the global community by hosting events in the 2022-2023 school year.

Su feels now is a perfect time for this theme, as she feels the pendulum is now swinging in the opposite direction of globalization in terms of political rhetoric.

“There was a time in the 90’s that we truly believed this world would become a global village and we would witness the emergence of global governance. In fact, the European Union is a prime example of such a belief,” she said. “However, recently we are witnessing the rise of populism and political extremism as well as attacks on racial, ethnic and cultural minorities. Politicians specifically use ‘us versus them’ rhetoric to redraw and reinforce boundaries to advance their political agenda.”