Dr. Miao-Fen Tseng

Program Director and Key Trainer, Director of Institute of World Languages, Professor of Chinese

Dr. Miao-Fen Tseng is the Daniels Family NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor and the Inaugural Director of the Institute of World Languages at the University of Virginia (UVA). She has frequently given talks and workshops on Chinese language pedagogy and taught graduate-level courses under the auspices of various collaborative initiatives and professional development programs in the US and globally.  Her influential roles include, but are not limited to, Director of UVA STARTALK Teacher/Student Academy, Founder and President of the Chinese Language Teachers Association of Virginia (CLTA-VA), member of the CLTA Board of Directors, member of STARTALK Task Force, College Board consultant in AP Chinese, Academic Advisor and Senior Reviewer for AP Chinese Audit, and Evaluator of K-16 Chinese language programs and teacher preparation programs. She has received many accolades in recognition of her contribution to Chinese language education, among them the Albert Nelson Marquis Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award (2019), the STARTALK Award (2008-2019; 2021), the Jefferson Trust Award (2018), the Helen Warriner-Burke FLAVA Distinguished Service Award (2016), and the Jiede Empirical Research grant (2007) and Ron Walton Presentation Award (1998) by CLTA. She has written numerous peer-reviewed articles and six books, including AP Chinese Language and Culture Teacher’s Guide, Promoting Professionalism in Teaching AP Chinese (推动专业化的AP中文教学), and The Handbook of Tasks and Rubrics for Teaching Mandarin Chinese (Volume I, II, III), and Teach Chinese Online: An Essential Guide (co-authored with Yan Gao).  Her major interest lies in CFL curriculum design and pedagogy, task-based teaching, teacher training, and online teaching and technology.  

Dr. Ziyi Geng

Assistant Director and Mentor

Dr. Ziyi Geng is a Lecturer of Chinese in the Department of East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Virginia. She obtained her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics at Georgia State University and her M.A. in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages at Beijing Language and Culture University. Her research interests include Chinese language pedagogy, online language teaching and technology, classroom management, and language teacher education. She has taught various levels of Chinese language and culture courses in both K-12 and post-secondary programs in the US and China. In addition to teaching and research, she has also served as a third-party program consultant and evaluator for local and global Chinese language programs. She has participated in the authorship and editing of a series of Chinese language teacher training manuals, including Analysis of Classic Cases for Teachers of Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages and the Handbook for Certificate Examinations for Teachers of Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages. Her recent publications include journal articles and book chapters, such as The Knowledge Base of Chinese as a Second Language Teaching in K-12 Settings: Staking out the Territory. She frequently gives talks and workshops about online language teaching and technology in conferences and collaborative teacher training programs.

Dr. Yan Gao

Instructional Designer and Co-trainer

Dr. Yan Gao teaches Mandarin Chinese at Henrico County Public Schools (HCPS). She is the recipient of the ACTFL Distant Learning Award for K-12 education and of the Quest Global Impact Award at the Virginia Commonwealth University in 2017. She is the educational technology coordinator and co-trainer at UVa Startalk Chinese Teacher and Student Academy since 2018. Since 2011, she has been making the Chinese language curriculum “real” by introducing telecollaboration, student blogging, curation projects, and other high-impact learning activities in the online environment. With many years of experience in integrating technology into teaching Chinese, she believes that technology integration will not only foster language acquisition but also help learners think more critically and boost interest and motivation in language and cultural studies.

Luoyi Cai


Luoyi Cai is the teaching assistant professor in Chinese from the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and the vice president of CLTA-NC. In 2013, she was invited to teach as a visiting scholar at the University of Virginia. In 2014, she worked as a Chinese instructor at the Chinese Summer School of Middlebury College. Before she joined the Department of Asian Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill in August 2015, she had also taught various levels of Chinese courses in a variety of prominent study abroad programs such as the CET-in-Shanghai Program, the UVA-in-Shanghai Summer Intensive Language Program, and the Critical Language Scholarship Program. Since the summer of 2018, she has devoted herself to online teacher training, serving in the leadership team of UVa STARTALK program as a practicum facilitator. Her research interests focus on the task-supported and topic-oriented teaching pedagogy, Chinese Language Across Curriculum course development, online language teacher training, etc. Research achievements have been published as journal articles, book chapters, or reported in the ACTFL annual conferences, CLTA annual conferences, STARTALK conferences, etc.