Language Across the Curriculum (LAC)

 

Press Release - DOE Grant (August 2011)

A grant of nearly $200,000 from the U. S. Department of Education was announced in spring 2010 to help Baldwin Wallace University expand its Language Across the Curriculum program into 15 majors and promote Chinese language studies. Although Department of Education budget cuts have trimmed the second year funding, BW will continue its commitment to the Department of Education's Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Languages program and will provide its share of matching funding to keep these essential programs going over the next two years.

"Today's students find themselves in a world that truly is interconnected and interdependent," said Judy Krutky, professor of political science and international studies, who will direct the grant implementation with the assistance of co-directors Dr. Maria Marin, associate professor of foreign language and Dr. Javier Morales-Ortiz, assistant professor of political science and international studies. 

"Students need to develop cultural competency and be able to apply their foreign language skills to uses appropriate in their future careers," Krutky noted.  Faculty from 15 different majors will participate in the project and develop courses to help students build needed skills.

"BW is increasingly recognized as a national leader in this area," she added. "This grant will provide funds for planning and faculty development initiatives to expand the ways that our students can use not just Spanish, French and German, but also Chinese and Arabic."  "This funding will also provide exciting options and enhancement to the other interdisciplinary programs we are developing," said Krutky.

During the first year of the grant to expand BW's Language Across the Curriculum (LAC) program, three scholars came to campus during spring semester as a part of the grant's faculty development program.  All three did campus-wide presentations and worked directly with grant faculty in a variety of course design activities.

  • Dr. Cynthia Evans, Professor of French and Director of the Foreign Language Resource Center at Skidmore College, led a campus wide discussion of new paradigms for language study in higher education and did two hands-on workshops surveying resources available and helping to develop exercises for BW faculty developing courses in French as part of the grant.
     
  • Dr. Diane Tedick, Associate Professor of Second Languages and Culture Education at the University of Minnesota, spoke on how language and content integration in the majors can better prepare students for understanding the complexity of the 21st century problems.  She also worked directly with faculty preparing to teach courses in Spanish in two workshops oriented to instructional strategies and assessment.
     
  • Dr. Tanya Kinsella, Undergraduate Academic Coordinator for University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Center for European Studies and Coordinator of their Language Across the Curriculum program, did a campus-wide presentation on how LAC contributes to campus internationalization.  She described her work with graduate students who are eager to become involved in promoting LAC and stressed that studies have  shown that students with exposure to another culture's perspective on virtually any topic for discussion or research can enhance critical thinking and deepen the analysis if they add research on the topic from another culture, preferably non-English speaking.  While such research can be done in English, she stressed the value of being able to do the research in the original language which can present a more nuanced treatment of the topic.

 

During 2011-12 visiting experts with specializations in German, Chinese and Arabic will come to BW for similar course development activities. As part of BW's marketing of the LAC program, Profs. Javier Morales-Ortiz, Tom Ross and Sean Gilmore collaborated  with students in Gilmore's public relations practicum to design a  video helping students understand  the need for intercultural competency and how it is achieved through LAC.  The video is currently on You Tube entitled Baldwin Wallace University Language Across the Curriculum Fall 2011.mental scholarship funding for students who have taken the new LAC courses to study abroad.

More information on BW's LAC program can be found online at http://www.bw.edu/academics/languageacrossthecurriculum/

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