/ World Languages and Cultures Department


The 2017 Moving from Crisis Management to Innovation conference features the following presenters. More presenter information will be available soon. 

Hope College

From Crisis to Innovation: Leopards in the Temple

Many of the challenge facing language departments are well known: maintaining enrollments, endangered languages, budgetary constraints, outdated curricula. This presentation will look at a number of larger challenges affecting both language programs and higher education in general. Some preliminary suggestions for avenues of innovation and adaptation will be proposed to help frame our larger conversation.

Innovation at Simpson College

Refocus, Redesign, Reinvigorate: The Simpson Experience

The general education program redesign at Simpson College created a situation in which the world language department had to innovate or be eliminated from the requirements. By refocusing our program on institutional priorities and redesigning our courses for intercultural learning, we have reinvigorated the teaching and learning of languages at our institution. Changes in our overarching philosophy, curricular structure, content and teaching formats have allowed us to become leaders on campus for curricular innovation in tight budgetary circumstances. In this presentation, we will offer a case study with how-to advice that participants can use to rethink their programs in light of their own institution’s priorities.




An Administrator's Perspective

Mission, Vision, Priorities, and Financial Prudence: Learning the Language and Processes of Strategic Academic Leaders

Speaking Fluent Admin: Communicating the Value of World Languages in Times of Institutional Change

While world languages educators have invested considerable energy troubleshooting issues within our own programs, we are often caught off guard when our programs must respond to crises at the institutional level. How do we advocate for world languages in times of sudden leadership turnover, or with unexpected budget cuts? This presentation offers some practical strategies for a proactive approach by building on what we do best: by learning to communicate meaningfully and effectively in the preferred discourse of our administrators.

Opening the Eyes of the Heart through the Hiring Process

Kent Eaton argues that if it is our new reality that world language programs are often the first to be eliminated when cuts come, nothing is more important than the administrative hires made by our institutions. As faculty, how can we influence the hiring process so that candidate pools for administrative and other positions are filled with culturally competent candidates? What kind of experiences and dispositions do we look for? If an administrator does not have these dispositions, can we aspire to “opening the eyes of their heart”?

Models of Innovation

Cornerstone University — Reimagining the world language requirement

Meeting a variety of language course enrollment challenges, including misgivings of foreign language learning, CLEP tests and unclear foreign language requirements, our institution has created a new course (LIN-100) “Language in Culture.”

This course is a pre-101 level course that is language-specific, but focuses on how and why we should learn language and an emphasis on communicative language skills, with a goal for student enjoyment and success. The outcomes have led to a high increase in students taking the LIN 100 course along with resultant enrollment gains in language courses and expanded offerings: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin and Arabic.



Models of Innovation: Augustana College

Adapting to Change

My presentation will focus on how, in a time of significant uncertainty and change at both a micro and macro level, language programs can adapt and thrive under conditions over which they have limited control.  At Augustana College in 2014, six language departments (Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and Swedish) were merged into one —  the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (WLLC). About the same time, faculty in WLLC assessed the efficacy of time spent in high school classes as an effective measure of second language competency, the standard by which the second language requirement was fulfilled. In 2016, faculty voted to move from a trimester calendar to a semester calendar, necessitating a complete review of all programs.

Plenary Address

"What Does it Mean to Innovate in Language Instruction?"

In this talk, I will review three basic problems that confront innovation in language instruction in most university-level departments: (1) language as subject matter, (2) the nature of majors and minors, (3) personnel. The three problems are, to some degree, intertwined. I will discuss each with implications for what it means to innovate, focusing in particular on personnel and the education of the profession.

Summer Language Programs

Summer Intensives in the Language Ecosystem: Lessons from the Latin/Greek Institute

Language-based departments like classics face challenges in recruiting and retaining students who will complete several semesters of a language sequence and continue with advanced language courses. Summer intensive programs can address some aspects of the issue by enabling students, especially ones who come to the field relatively late, to get further ahead in the sequence in order to become majors, prepare for graduate school, etc. In serving students who begin relatively late, these programs can also open access to underrepresented groups in language fields. This talk will draw on experiences from the Latin/Greek Institute, which compresses four semesters of language training into a single summer.

Intercampus Collaboration

The GLCA’s Shared Languages Program: An Innovative Approach to Expand Language Offerings across Institutions

The purpose of the Crossroads Shared Languages Program is to offer a broader selection of language courses than any one college could offer by itself with its current staffing. On several campuses traditional languages, such as German or French, have been experiencing under-enrollment in upper-level courses, which makes these programs increasingly unsustainable. At the same time, there is increasing demand for lesser-taught languages, such as Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, Korean, etc., that require a well-conceived infrastructure to grow into sustainable programs. In her talk, Gabriele will outline how the Shared Languages Program has a strong potential to successfully address these challenges.

The GLCA is happy to make participation for GLCA colleagues possible through the Mellon Crossroads grant.