In an era of changing demographics, pragmatism, and ever-tightening budgets, higher education is changing rapidly. If headlines are any indication, world language programs are often the first to be eliminated when cuts must be made.

What if language departments could be part of the solution in a more positive and proactive way? What if world languages played a leadership role in reshaping the 21st-century academy?

October 6–7, 2017

Originally started at Simpson College in 2015, this conference offered an opportunity for teams of language educators and college administrators to explore this question in depth. We invited college faculty and administrators (as individuals or, more effectively, in teams) seeking innovative solutions to the problems facing language programs in higher education.

This conference blended perspectives from faculty members and administrators to foster a two-way dialogue grounded in the realities of pedagogical best practices and budgetary and institutional constraints, as well as a shared desire for language program success. Ample time was built in to the conference schedule to meet and share insights with like-minded colleagues from across the country.

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Kent Eaton: "Opening the Eyes of the Heart Through the Hiring Process"
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Cady Short-Thompson: "Mission, Vision, Priorities and Financial Prudence: Learning the Language and Processes of Strategic Academic Leaders"
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Models of Innovation: "Cornerstone University – Reimagining the World Language Requirement"
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Bill VanPatten: "What Does It Mean to Innovate in Language Instruction?"
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Katherine Lu Hsu: "Summer Intensives in the Language Ecosystem: Lessons from Latin/Greek Institute"
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Gabriele Dillmann: "The GLCA's Shared Languages Program: An Innovative Approach to Expand Language Offerings Across Institutions"
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Closing Statements

“I attended the World Languages Conference in 2015 and I am very glad that I did. The opportunity to have serious and substantive conversations with colleagues from around the United States about difficult issues that we are all facing in the current academic climate was a very positive experience for me. I came away feeling both empowered by some of the ideas discussed at the conference and heartened by the knowledge that our department here at UND is not alone in its struggles.”

Our goal was to articulate the threats that language programs face and invite our participants to make a few significant and forward-looking changes in their programs within the context of mutually supportive and growing collaborative networks.

Whether you brought your colleagues or came on your own, we hope you left with a new vision and an implementable plan for the role of world languages on your campus.

“I found the two keynote presentations — on learning outcomes for language majors and value-added curricular innovation — both inspiring and useful, and I appreciate the fact that so much of the conference was made available on-line following the event.”