Japanese Parasols
Asian Meal

Meet The Core Training Team

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Dr. Li Ye

Lead Teacher


Mijia Ranquist

Culture Activity Coordinator

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Wendy Rose
Administrative assistant

Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence (CAFE); College of Arts & Sciences 

Contact: +1 630 637 5357


Dr.Jinai Sun

Program Director

Dr. Jianai Sun received her Ph.D. in Educational Administration at Pennsylvania State University. She has more than 15 years of experience in Chinese language education and teacher training in the U.S. and abroad. Her research focuses on curriculum and instructional design, particularly through the use of authentic materials toward student motivation in Chinese language classrooms in the U.S.  She has served as program director for teacher and student STARTALK programs at North Central College since 2013.


Dr. Xiaoning Chen


Curriculum Director

Dr. Xiaoning Chen received her doctoral degree in Language and Literacy Education from Purdue University. Dr. Chen is currently an Assistant Professor at the College of Education, National Louis University, and teaches ESL/Bilingual Education endorsement courses. Dr. Chen will organize pre, during-, and post program curriculum development activities, including both curriculum and assessment aspects, STARTALK online training modules, and program evaluations. 


Dr. Monica Vuksanovich

Assessment Director

Dr. Monica Vuksanovich is a specialist in foreign language curriculum development. As a certified K-12 language teacher and current instructor of preservice language teachers at the University
of North Texas, Dr. Vuksanovich draws on her experience  and works closely with key project personnel to ensure standards based learning objectives, diverse and culturally
rich communicative activities, and authentic assessment.

Ramen Bowl

Meet The Trainers

Dr. Li Ye is a Chinese instructor in the World Language Division at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL, a position she has held since 2010, she also serves as a team leader in the World Language division. Li Ye received her Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2009. She has been the lead teacher of the North Central STARTALK Teacher Program since summer 2017. Dr. Li will serve as the Lead Teacher and facilitate trainers to ensure seamless training sessions, including reviewing and approving the trainees' reflection papers, discussion, syllabi and lesson plans to ensure they are using approved methods.


Dr. Brian Hoffert

Honored Guest Speaker

Mrs. Mijia Ranquist is an Illinois highly qualified Mandarin Chinese teacher and art teacher. She received her B.A. in fashion design from Shenzhen University. Ms. Ranquist also holds an M.B.A. from University of Illinois at Chicago and another M.A.T. from National Louis University. Ms. Ranquist implants a project-based approach in her daily Mandarin Chinese classes to make students’ learning experience easy and fun. Ms. Ranquist was the Lead Culture Instructor in 2019 NCC STARTALK, she will share her teaching activities and ideas with the teacher trainees, especially about how to utilize traditional Chinese art in teaching.


Dr. Kyle Anderson

Honored Guest Speaker


Dr. Frederik Green

Honored Guest Speaker

Dr. Brian Hoffert has extensive training and experience researching and teaching Asian and especially Chinese culture, including a Ph.D. from Harvard University for his dissertation "Chuang Tzu: The Evolution of a Daoist Classic." He is currently the director of the History of Ideas program at North Central College. Dr. Hoffert will share his insights into engaging American students in the study of Chinese culture and texts, particularly through role-immersive activities he has developed through the "Reacting to the Past" methods pioneered at Columbia University.

Dr. Kyle D. Anderson holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature at Pennsylvania State University and is the professor and administrator at Clemson University. He is also a translator of Chinese children's and adult contemporary literature. He works with Yilin, Guomai, and China Translation and Publishing presses. He inspires to bridge interests and to align efforts across disciplines to pursue curricular innovation, and promote intercultural communication.

Dr. Frederik Green received his Ph.D, in Chinese from Yale University. He is an Associate Professor of Chinese and the Associate Director of the Chinese Flagship Program at San Francisco State University. He teachers a wide variety of Chinese literature and language classes. His classic Chinese Novel course explores the legacy of China's four great classic novels in contemporary Chinese popular culture. Analysis of original works and their adaptation in TV shows and cinema, fiction, computer games, and theme parks.


Dr. Stuart Patterson


Honored Guest Speaker

Dr. Patterson, the  Chairperson of the Shimer Great School at North Central College has been teaching for fifteen years in the Shimer School's specialized general education focused on classic texts across world traditions through small, student-centered seminars. Lately, he has begun focusing his research and teaching on Chinese literature, specifically the classic novels Journey to the West and Dream of the Red Chamber.  Dr. Patterson will share his work with the teacher trainees on how he has taught Chinese classic literature and, by extension, central aspects of Chinese culture.

Dr. Peimin Ni
Honored Guest Speaker

Dr. Peimin Ni earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Connecticut. He also holds an M.A. and B.A. from Fudan University. His main interests are Chinese and comparative philosophy, modern European philosophy, philosophy of causation, and more distinctively his own approach, gongfu (aka kung fu) philosophy. Peimin Ni is also an accomplished Chinese calligraphy artist. He had a Chinese calligraphy exhibition at GVSU. His video production (with GRTV), "The Art of Chinese Calligraphy'', was featured at the show, and aired numerous times on GRTV. It won the second Place Award at the Grand Rapids Art Festival, June 2002. 


Phone: 630-637-5263



North Central College30 North Brainard Street, Naperville, IL 60540