NCSSM won the 2017 Confucius Classroom of the Year award, one of only 5 institutions worldwide selected for the prestigious award.


NCSSM wins Confucius Classroom of the Year award

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) has won the 2017 Confucius Classroom of the Year award, presented by the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) at the 12th Global Confucius Institute Conference in Xi’an, China, in December.  

NCSSM has one of 1,113 Confucius Classrooms in the world, out of which only five were selected for the prestigious international award. The other four winners of the award are: Askia Mohamed School in Mali; Finham Park School in England; Rainbow Confucius Classroom in the Republic of Korea; and University of the South Pacific’s Cook Islands Confucius Classroom, Cook Islands.

Confucius Classrooms are an international network of exemplary Chinese language programs that offer Chinese language and culture instruction and are committed to international exchange and collaboration. NCSSM’s Confucius Classroom was established in 2015 under the guidance of Go Global NC, which currently manages a network of 40 Confucius Classrooms across North Carolina in addition to several international experiential learning programs. NCSSM and Go Global NC are both part of the University of North Carolina System.

“Go Global NC is proud of NCSSM’s dedication to creating an exceptional Confucius Classroom and building a connection between schools in North Carolina and China,” says Rick Van Sant, executive director of Go Global NC. “Confucius Classrooms are a significant part of Go Global NC’s mission to connect North Carolina and the world through programs that build the capacity of educators and students as well as policy, business and community leaders. It is important to enable North Carolina to succeed in a global economy and increasingly interdependent world.”

“It was my honor to represent NCSSM to receive this award,” says Hong Li, lead instructor of Chinese at NCSSM. Li, who was also nominated for the Confucius Classroom Individual Performance Excellence Award, accepted the Classroom of the Year Award on behalf of NCSSM while attending the global conference with a delegation of North Carolina educators led by Go Global NC. “I am privileged and grateful to work with dedicated colleagues and passionate students at NCSSM and our partner schools in China.” Li also coordinates the Global Understanding Program, a key element of NCSSM’s Confucius Classroom.

NCSSM was nominated for the award by Thomas Martineau, associate director of education and training at Go Global NC. Martineau cited NCSSM’s innovative and effective collaboration across institutions, including hosting visitors from Mount Airy, N.C., to share the Global Understanding model and materials; hosting a class visit by the N.C. Learning Tour to demonstrate “Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Story-telling”; and working with a local elementary school in a partnership in which NCSSM Introductory Chinese students made storybooks and read them to second-grade students.

“We here at NCSSM are delighted and honored to have been selected to receive the Confucius Classroom of the Year Award,” says Elizabeth Moose, dean of humanities at NCSSM. “We’re also enormously grateful to Tom and the Go Global NC team for nominating our program and shepherding us through the application process.”

Watch a video created by NCSSM’s Chinese students: NCSSM Welcomes You 

About NCSSM’s Global Understanding Program

NCSSM’s Global Understanding program, taught by Hong Li, NCSSM Chinese instructor, allows students and faculty to engage with colleagues in China via interactive video conferencing, featuring students exchanging discussion and questions with their peers in China for an hour each week.  Since the program began in 2013, 165 students plus faculty have engaged weekly via interactive video conferencing with peers in foreign language schools in China and through educational cultural exchange programs, where NCSSM students travel to China over Mini-Term, and Chinese students have visited the NCSSM campus.  NCSSM’s Global Understanding Program is modeled on a similar program at East Carolina University, in which students and faculty from more than 40 institutions, in approximately 25 countries, teach and learn in shared virtual classrooms that feature daily live videoconference discussions, chats, and collaborative projects. With the support of Jami Leibowitz, Interim Director for ECU’s Global Academic Initiatives, and other ECU faculty and staff, NCSSM adapted the program to enrich the experience of its students taking Chinese.

About Go Global NC

Go Global NC, part of the University of North Carolina System since 1979, designs and manages programs that build the capacity of policy leaders, educators, students and business and community leaders to enable North Carolina to succeed in a global economy and increasingly interdependent world.  Visit to learn how Go Global NC connects North Carolina and the world.