Yumiko Nishi, Ph.D.

Interim DEO, Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Associate Professor

Professor Nishi's primary research areas have been verb semantics and the second language acquisition of aspect. She is particularly interested in discovering how learners’ semantic representations of verbs in L1 affect the learning of verb semantics in L2, and how this interacts with the acquisition of aspectual morphology in L2. In most of her projects, she pursues a cross-linguistic approach in order to explore how underlying universal patterns are manifested in the process of language acquisition/development, or in the representation of languages, as well as to identify cross-linguistic variations and their significance. She also investigates how these findings can be applied to language pedagogy, in particular, the teaching of Japanese as a second/foreign language.

Aniruddha Dutta

Aniruddha Dutta, Ph.D.

Coordinator, South Asian Studies Program
Associate Professor, Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures
Associate Professor, Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies

Aniruddha Dutta is an Associate Professor in the departments of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies and Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Iowa. Dutta is interested in the study of contemporary globalizing processes, the political economy of gender and sexuality, transnational discourses and practices of development, and the institutionalization of gender and sexual identity politics, with specific reference to India and South Asia.

Anna Dyer

Anna Dyer, Ph.D.

Anna Dyer has been working in the Russian program at the University of Iowa since 2007 teaching a variety of language and culture courses. Her areas of expertise are Russian language and culture and technology in second language acquisition.

japanese woman with shoulder length brown hair, smiling

Yumiko Guelcher

Yumiko Guelcher teaches modern Japanese language.  She is passionate about teaching Japanese and enjoys working with diverse learners.  Her fields of interest are Japanese language pedagogy, Japanese and English linguistics, and second language acquisition. 

Kendall Heitzman

Kendall Heitzman, Ph.D.

Prof. Heitzman is currently researching two interconnected projects: He is interested in a group of outward-looking poets who came to prominence in the 1960s, some of whom spent some time at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (IWP), including Yoshimasu Gōzō and Shiraishi Kazuko. He is also researching the history of Japanese writers in the IWP as well as the early days of the IWP in general. He has published translations of work by four recent IWP participants: Nakagami Nori, Shibasaki Tomoka, Fujino Kaori, and Takiguchi Yūshō. He also has longstanding interests in Japanese film and Japanese theater.

Irina Kostina

Irina Kostina, Ph.D.

Coordinator, Russian Program
Associate Professor of Instruction

Irina Kostina demonstrates unique competencies of developing assessments, interactive face-to-face courses and curriculums for Russian language, culture and civilization, intensive Russian courses for students, professionals, and heritage learners that increase student engagement, motivation, achievement, and retention. Dr. Kostina’ s research interests are in the methods of teaching Russian as a foreign language, and the theories of creating communicative textbooks. 

Yuan Lu

Yuan Lu, Ph.D.

Interim Coordinator, Chinese Program

Yuan Lu taught Chinese language to foreign/second language learners in China and the state of Kansas before joining the University of Iowa. He is the coordinator of Chinese program at the University of Iowa, supervising curriculum and instruction in the program, and teaches First-year Chinese, Second-year Chinese, Accelerated Second-year Chinese, Fourth-year Chinese, Fifth-year Chinese: Chinese Linguistics and Academic Writing, and Introduction to Chinese Linguistics. His main research interests involve second language acquisition theories and research methods, language assessment and testing, and grammar and discourse learning and teaching in Chinese as a second language.

Nana Onishi

Nana Onishi, M.A.

Interim Coordinator, Japanese Program

Nana Onishi teaches all levels of modern Japanese language. She is interested in Japanese, language pedagogy, and second language acquisition.

Joung-A Park

Joung-A Park

Joung-A Park is the Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures lecturer at the University of Iowa and teaches First and Second-Year Korean language.

Helen Shen

Helen Shen, Ph.D.

Director of Graduate Studies

Helen Shen's main research areas are Chinese L2 literacy development focusing on orthographic knowledge development and cognitive process of Chinese characters, reading education in Chinese, and instructional theories in teaching Chinese as a second language.

Kendra Strand

Kendra Strand, Ph.D.

Professor Strand specializes in premodern Japanese literature and visual culture, with expertise in travel writing, poetry, calligraphy, and landscape painting. Her research is founded in examining the historical contexts in which works of literature and art were created. Her research interests extend to issues of canon and interpretation in literature and art, as well as the ways in which historical themes surface in contemporary popular culture.

Newell Ann Van Auken'

Newell Ann Van Auken, Ph.D.

Lecturer, Classical Chinese Literature

Newell Ann Van Auken teaches Classical Chinese literature, a world literary tradition spanning over thirty centuries. Her research focuses on early China, and she is also a translator. She is fascinated by the gap between original meanings of texts and later interpretations, including those of current students, and she believes that all interpretations (even “misunderstandings”) still give us valuable insight into those who generated them and the lens through which they view the world.

Sang-Seok Yoon

Sang-Seok Yoon, Ph.D.

Coordinator, Korean Program
Assistant Professor

Sang-Seok Yoon, who earned the PhD in Korean Linguistics from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, joined the Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures in 2012. The focus of his research is sociolinguistics, pragmatics, and second language acquisition. He specializes in linguistic politeness of the Korean language, and is one of the authors of the Integrated Korean Textbook series by the University of Hawaii Press, the most commonly used Korean textbook in the U.S.


Wenyang Zhai

Visiting Assistant Professor
Huiqiang Zheng

Huiqiang Zheng, Ph.D.

Huiqiang Zheng joined UI in 2019. She has been teaching Chinese as a second language in universities both in China and the United States for more than ten years. In 2019 she was awarded university “Teacher of Year” by the Kentucky World Language Association. Besides teaching, Zheng has published articles related to Second Language Acquisition, Language pedagogy and Computational Linguistics. Zheng is active in the local Chinese community sharing her expertise in both Chinese pedagogy and Chinese folk dance.