In September 2015, the Great Lakes College Association (GLCA) secured a major grant from the Mellon Foundation to launch its Global Crossroads Initiative for its 13 member institutions and its 14 Global Liberal Arts Alliance partners. The primary goal of this initiative is to collaboratively strengthen the institutions’ internationalization efforts and to globalize their curricula. Each institution has the opportunity to choose their participation from a rich palette of program offerings, which range from innovative curriculum expansion to new directions in global scholarship to shared language courses.
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. The Shared Languages Program has a strong potential to successfully address these challenges.
At the spring 2016 joint meeting of GLCA presidents and chief academic officers, German was adopted as the under-enrolled upper level language and Arabic as the lesser taught language to be developed for the project’s pilot phase. During the spring 2017 semester, the first pilot courses were offered in German and Arabic after the careful implementation of course registration and enrollment logistics as well as the development of suitable digital pedagogies for the virtually interactive teaching and learning environment. SLP faculty to teach in fall 2017 were successfully recruited in both German and Arabic, and the next set of four SLP courses is on the books with student registration ongoing. Early this coming fall semester, further SLP courses will be developed for the spring 2018 semester. The plan is to create a sustainable catalog of SLP course offerings across our institutions that includes an increasing number of under-enrolled upper level courses as well as additional lesser-taught languages.
Gabriele Dillmann is the GLCA Crossroads Shared Languages Director.
Simon Gray is the GLCA Program Officer for the Crossroads Mellon Initiative.
Please direct any comments or questions you may have to either one. We’d like to hear from you!