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Chinese Flagship Program: Brigham Young University 3122 JKB. Provo, UT 84602


Extension: 801-422-9189


Dr. Matthew Christensen, PI & Flagship Center Director

Rita E. Cortez, Managing Director, M.P.A

Student Staff:

Oscar Cordon, Student Assistant

Edward Yuan, Student Assistant

Flagship Program Teaching Faculty/Staff:

Ms. Yili Zhang, Flagship Instructor, M.A.

Dr. Chuan Hui-Ju, Lead Flagship Instructor

Nanjing Center:

Ms. Zhang Qin, Director, M.A.

Mr.Mace Blank, Coordinator​


Dr. Matthew Christensen

PI & Flagship Center Director

Dr. Christensen earned his Ph.D. in 1994 in the field of Chinese linguistics from Ohio State University. He is a professor of Chinese in the Asian and Near Eastern Languages Department. His research interests include Chinese language pedagogy, teacher training, materials development, discourse analysis, and Chinese poetry.

Office: 3081 JFSB

E-mail: matthew_christensen@byu.edu

Extension: 801-422-5303

Rita E. Cortez

Managing Director

Rita has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Texas-San Antonio. She has over 20 years experience in high level management most of which involved overseeing federally funded grant projects. She is originally from Texas, is married and has 3 children. She came to BYU in 2009 and loves reading, cultural arts and music.

Office: 3122E JKB

E-mail: rita_cortez@byu.edu

Extension: 801-422-2200

Flagship Program Teaching Faculty/Staff

Yili Zhang

Yili Zhang was born and raised in Zhejiang, China. She received her first MA degree in TCFL from Fudan University and second one in Teaching Chinese at College Level from Brandeis University. She started teaching Chinese in 2012 and joined Brigham Young University in 2016. She has taught Chinese in all levels, including Business Chinese and Chinese Debate course. Her research interests are in Teaching Chinese for Specific Purposes, Second Language Acquisition. ​

Office: 3122 G   JKB



Xinjia Peng

Dr. Xinjia Peng is from a Southern Min speaking region in China. She received her Ph.D in Chinese Linguistics from University of Oregon, and has concurrent MA degrees in East Asian Linguistics and Pedagogy and Language Teaching Specialization from the same school. Her works are in modern Chinese, classical Chinese and various Chinese dialects, and her research interests are mainly in Construction Grammar and its application in language teaching. She has published articles and book reviews on Teaching Chinese as a Second Language, and has co-authored a paper that appears in Cognitive Linguistics. Currently she is working on a phrasebook for advanced Chinese learners with Georgetown University Press. She is excited to join the BYU Chinese Flagship Center and looking forward to working with students.

Office: 3122 K JKB