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$375k grant enhances foreign language programs

Students studying Russian pose during a trip to Russia in 2008.
Students studying Russian pose during a trip to Russia in 2008.

Connecticut College has received a $375,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to enhance foreign language studies with new opportunities for student-faculty research, proficiency certification, programming and language learning across the curriculum.

"This new program will transform how foreign languages serve as a foundation of an international, globalized liberal arts education," Roger Brooks, dean of the faculty, said. "Languages will be integrated across the curriculum and in the residence halls, giving all students access to an internationalized experience both inside the classroom and out."

The grant, which will fund the program for three years, will support a number of curricular and student-centered initiatives, including:

  • Opportunities for 60 students to conduct faculty-directed research in foreign languages
  • Language proficiency certification for 110 students
  • Foreign language components for courses in a wide range of disciplines
  • Two new faculty development seminars focused on foreign language teaching and interdisciplinarity
  • Student-designed, co-curricular programming in foreign languages
  • Faculty-led events in the residence halls conducted in foreign languages
  • A new international common room with satellite television and Skype stations
  • A community outreach partnership with the World Languages program at the New London's Regional Multicultural Magnet School

Students at Connecticut College have the opportunity to study French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Spanish and Arabic. The college also offers classes in Hebrew, Greek, Latin and linguistics. Language programs at the college focus increasingly on cultural and colloquial fluency in addition to more traditional literature studies. Many language courses are enhanced with technology; for example, students in introductory Russian are issued iPods with authentic cultural materials, such as popular music, folk songs, music videos and cartoons, as well as language exercises.

July 22, 2009