Federal grant establishes UC as a center for language instruction

Faculty hope to lead the way in foreign language teaching, research and instruction

Language instructors from across the country will soon have a new resource to enhance the teaching of foreign languages.

The University of Cincinnati’s Department of Romance and Arabic Languages and Literatures (RALL) has been awarded a $715,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to create a new Language Resource Center in UC’s College of Arts and Sciences.   

The center, called the Curricular Enhancement, Development, Access, and Research Language Resource Center (CEDAR LRC), will serve the nation through the development, provision and research of leading-edge curricular materials for language learners from kindergarten through postsecondary levels. The resources developed here will also benefit UC students taking one of the over 100 courses that RALL offers each semester that will be made publicly available to language educators nationwide.

Randall J. Rowe, visiting Assistant Professor of Russian, teaches  a new Russian languages program that received the largest grant in A & S history. The program - two fold - teaches the language and career opportunities for those who are fluent.

Russian language instructor Randall Rowe in the UC classroom. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

“This is truly an outstanding achievement that considerably contributes to the profile of RALL and UC,” says Thérèse Migraine-George, professor and RALL department head.

Starting with 10 inaugural projects, the center will build upon UC’s existing foundational investments in these major areas: Arabic language instruction, virtual reality (VR) technology for language learning and institutional partnerships with entities for language teaching and learning outside of UC, with particular consideration for less commonly taught languages (LCTLs).

For example, RALL faculty will develop a series of VR lesson modules that guide learners through “a day in the life” of Arabic and Spanish speakers from communities within the United States.

“The investment in VR is especially relevant as digital learning has shifted to the forefront of the national educational landscape following the global pandemic,” says Kara Moranski, RALL assistant professor.

headshot of Kara Moranski

Kara Moranski, an assistant professor in RALL, will co-direct the new Curricular Enhancement, Development, Access, and Research Language Resource Center (CEDAR LRC),. Photo/provided.

Moranski will be co-directing the center with Juan Godoy Peñas, an assistant professor educator at RALL. Anne Lingwall Odio, also an assistant professor educator at RALL, will serve as the associate director of projects and partnerships. The three prepared the grant proposal together.

One of the partnerships, with Union Institute & University based in Cincinnati, will focus on teaching Nahuatl, an indigenous language of Mexico which is still spoken in parts of Mexico and the United States.  

“The grant gives us the resources to be inclusive of less commonly taught languages and teach them in very innovative ways,” says Godoy Peñas.

Additionally, the center will also be of benefit to Cincinnati-area public and private school teachers, with language instruction workshops throughout the summers.

“We intend to be a hub for language teaching, research and learning,” says Moranski.

Featured image at top: Unsplash

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