University News

Prof dies after long illness

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, February 24, 2011

Meiqing Zhang, a senior lecturer in East Asian studies who had taught Chinese since 1988, died Saturday after a long illness.

“It is a huge loss for Brown and especially for East Asian studies,” said Dean of the Faculty Rajiv Vohra P’07.

She was a “highly regarded figure in the field of Chinese language pedagogy,” according to a statement on the East Asian studies website.

Zhang — who taught CHIN 0910A: “Academic Chinese I” last semester — “had been ill for some time” and was on medical leave this semester, Vohra said, but he declined to specify the illness.

Though she was struggling with her illness, “she really wanted to be involved in her work in teaching,” Vohra said. She was “very well known for her devotion to her students.” Zhang was also known as a mentor to junior faculty members, he said.

“One of her jobs was to help teach the teachers,” said Kerry Smith, associate professor of history and chair of the East Asian studies department. Others sought advice from her about teaching Chinese, he said.

“The many students who were fortunate enough to have her as a teacher, and all who knew her as a mentor, together benefited from her commitment to their success,” Smith wrote in a statement that Vohra e-mailed to the faculty yesterday. “We have lost a wonderful teacher and a good friend and miss her very much.”

Zhang first joined the department in 1988 as a teaching assistant and was later promoted to lecturer and then senior lecturer. She coordinated Brown’s Chinese language program from 2002 to 2007 and received the University’s Harriet W. Sheridan Award for Distinguished Contribution to Teaching and Learning in 2007. She also helped direct the summer program in Chinese at Middlebury College.

There will be private funeral services for Zhang, and plans for a campus memorial service will be announced “in due course,” according to a statement on the East Asian studies website.