“Thinking Strategically”

The continuing pandemic led us to hold our 2021 SLCTLS event virtually. Our panelists first focused on takeaways from the past year and then focused on strategic sharing of LCTLs: what has been done, what’s ahead, and what is preventing us from further collaboration? With three different panels from different perspectives in the university, it was a fascinating discussion!

What can you find on this page?

  • A recording of the event (available embedded below or directly on YouTube)!
    • If you watch it directly on YouTube, the timestamps listed in the video description can be used to jump to different parts of the video.
  • Information on our panelists
  • A written summary of the panels

Panelist Information

Summer Language Program Panelists

(in alphabetical order)

  • Kathleen Evans, PhD
    • Director, Indiana University Language Workshop
    • Indiana University
  • Felecia Lucht, PhD
    • Director, Wisconsin Intensive Summer Language Institutes
    • University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Christine S. Parker, PhD
    • Executive Director of Summer Session; Associate Dean of the College
    • University of Chicago
  • Per Urlaub, PhD
    • Associate Dean of the Language Schools; Associate College Professor
    • Middlebury College

Language Center Director Panelists

(in alphabetical order)

  • Ray Clifford, PhD
    • Associate Dean, College of Humanities; Professor, Center for Language Studies
    • Brigham Young University
  • Felix Kronenberg, PhD
    • Director of the Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA), and Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures
    • Michigan State University
  • Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl, PhD
    • Associate Dean of Yale College; Director of the Center for Language Study
    • Yale University

Deans Panel

(in alphabetical order)

  • Clarence Lang, PhD
    • Dean of the College of the Liberal Arts
    • The Pennsylvania State University
  • Christopher Long, PhD
    • Dean of the College of Arts & Letters
    • Michigan State University

Panel Summaries

Summer Language Program Panel

Summary: Four directors of various summer language programs presented their general findings on how instruction has changed due to online learning. Generally, directors gave an overall positive report, with increased course enrollment and diversified teaching modalities. Many schools reported diversified student bodies, drawing from pre-college, high school, and life-long learner populations. For some schools, cost issues for students decreased due to redirected costs to tuition-based scholarship and fellowships or lower overall program fees. Notably, OPI data from multiple schools suggests that overall language achievement is largely unchanged. A key caveat to this is the lack of data on metalinguistic and cultural competencies whose growth occurs outside of the classroom and is not factored into OPI data. The directors seemed enthusiastic about strategic collaboration between universities, programs, and language schools but expressed doubt that such collaboration would happen in the near future due to many bureaucratic and logistic hurdles.

Key Themes: Increased enrollment due to online offerings, expand to new audiences, OPI-based language gains unchanged but hard to say about meta-linguistic or cultural competencies, collaboration is difficult due to bureaucracy and cost issues

Language Center Directors Panel

Summary: Three directors of language centers gave an overview of changes to their programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a general understanding that it is possible to offer high-quality online instruction, but it requires a different approach and different type of course preparation. Both students and teachers had generally positive reactions to their online language course, especially when instructors felt supported by their colleagues and institution. Directors suggested that online learning has forced many language teachers to evaluate their pedagogical practice, as well as expand their “student” audiences. The language center directors were enthusiastic about course sharing, program partnerships, and other ways to work collaboratively, but were wary of large changes due to logistic hurdles. Funding and monetary issues also pose a challenge to collaborative projects.

Key Themes: Online language learning is complex, Focus on quality of online learning, Broaden audiences, teacher support (both inter and intra institution)

Dean Panel

Summary: Clarence Lang of Penn State University and Chris Long of MSU gave their opinions on the future of online teaching at universities. The pandemic triggered emergency remote courses. Moving forward, however, universities need to invest in intentionally designed online courses that will maximize learning outcomes for students. Penn State has the Office of Digital Pedagogies and Scholarship to assist in this endeavor. They agree that online and hybrid model courses have the potential to be used strategically to reach different groups of students, increase student interest in liberal arts courses, and foster collaboration. They emphasized, however, that more information is needed about students’ needs surrounding online course offerings and that online courses should be designed to meet those needs. The issue of course sharing and collaboration between universities was given special attention in this panel session. The deans discussed both stumbling blocks and potential solutions that could make course sharing more feasible.