Language Across the Curriculum (LAC)

 

With the exception of students who major in languages or area studies, or who study abroad, college graduates in the United States typically possess less non-English language proficiency than they had when they entered college. Even students with advanced proficiency seldom develop bilingual skills and intercultural knowledge sufficient to meet their professional career needs by the time they graduate. As a result, the United States chronically lacks the multilingual language proficiency it needs to function effectively across cultural boundaries.

(American Council on Education 1989).

What is LAC?

Language Across the Curriculum (LAC) refers to the practiceof integrating the study and use of foreign languages throughout the curriculum. Its purpose is to prepare college students for the cross-cultural and multilingual demands and job opportunities of the 21st century. In this respect, the longstanding Language Across the Curriculum movement is built upon this simple concept: students should have multiple opportunities to apply their knowledge of a foreign language in a variety of curricular contexts, not just in the foreign language classroom.

The aim of LAC is to integrate multiple languages into the teaching of all academic disciplines in order to enrich their intercultural and global content. We strongly believe that cross-cultural competency and multilingual inquiry leads to more inclusive learning experiences when the use of language skills is integrated in the context of another discipline.  Students develop a deeper and more precise understanding of an academic discipline by knowing the impact of culture and language to an academic discipline. Any student with a background in a second language will find LAC to be a useful and enjoyable program.

Baldwin Wallace University was a founding member, along with Portland State University, SUNY Binghamton University and the University of Iowa of a national consortium promoting such learning opportunities. This national CLAC Consortium is committed to promoting the goals of LAC and supporting fellow practitioners by hosting national conferences.

LAC at Baldwin Wallace University

This innovative way to study and use knowledge of a foreign language across the curriculum is supported at Baldwin Wallace University by the BW's Language Across the Curriculum (LAC) program.  Launched in 2003 as a result of a two-year U.S. Department of Education Title VIA grant, the LAC program at BW offers two kinds of opportunities for students to apply their foreign language skills in a variety of courses across the curriculum. 

The first LAC opportunity involves enrolling in specially designated LAC-embedded courses.  These are regular courses in English, Biology, Economics, Business, Philosophy, International Studies, Political Science and other available subjects where students have the option of doing part of their course work in a foreign language.  In most options students read foreign language material and/or complete an assignment in a foreign language.

The other opportunity is the two-credit Language and Culture Connections course, available in Spanish, French, and German, in which students can practice the cultural skills that they learn in LAS 200.  You are eligible to take Language and Culture Connections (currently LAS 155-Spanish; LAS 156-French; LAS 157-German) if you will be enrolled in LAS 200 during the same semester or if you have already completed LAS 200.  Fluency in the foreign language is not an expectation, but most students who succeed in the course have a solid background in the language--two years of high school instruction at the bare minimum.

For more information about the LAC program or LAC course offerings at BW, please contact Dr. Javier Morales-Ortiz, Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies at (440) 826‑2452 or email at jmorales@bw.edu

 

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