Maria M. Carreira
A Roundtable on the Report of the National Commission on Language Education and Its Consequences for the Language Profession
ABSTRACT: The new Report of the National Commission on Language Learning of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences provides a welcome opportunity for the language profession to move aggressively in elaborating and meeting Commission’s very important recommendations. A strong proactive approach is critical, given the fact that such national reports do not always lead to significant changes without an effective implementation plan. In this case, implementation unquestionably resides in the hands of an the Language Enterprise, which has worked for decades to build the support necessary to provide language education to all in this nation who seek it.
The Roundtable participants will discuss the report and its recommendations, focusing on their intent and rationale, as well as on the course and likelihood of implementation. The Language Enterprise, and, more specifically, the organizations representing the LCTLs, will be challenged to take up the planning and implementation of the Commission recommendations and engaging the nation in next steps.
Antonia Schleicher (Chair): Professor of ALTA/NCOLCTL Executive Director
Dr. Antonia Folarin Schleicher is the 2015 recipient of the ACTFL Wilga Rivers’ Award for Leadership in Foreign Language Education (Postsecondary). She is the founding Executive Director of the Indiana University Center for Language Excellence. She is also the Founding Director of the United States National African Language Resource Center. In 2010, she received the UW-Madison Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the National Council Of Less Commonly Taught Languages Wal-ton Award for a Lifetime Distinguished Career in support of less commonly taught languages. Schlei-cher has authored four textbooks and three multimedia CDROMs for the learning of Yoruba and has co-authored numerous textbooks for other African languages such as Swahili, Shona and Pulaar. She co-authored African Language Pedagogy: An Emerging Field. She has edited more than 30 other books and six journals and has authored over two dozen articles in peer reviewed journals. Professor Schleicher has degrees from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and the University of Kansas in General Linguistics and much of her current work deals with pedagogical issues in Foreign and Second Lanuage Acquisition. She currently teaches courses on African Linguistics and different courses on Yoruba Language and Culture at IU-Bloomington.
She serves as the Executive Director of both the National Council of Less-Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL) and the African Language Teachers Association (ALTA). She is a Board Member of JNCL (Joint National Committee for Languages). Professor Schleicher was awarded the United States President’s Gold Level Volunteer Service Award for over 500-hours-a-year of devoted and unpaid service to the cause of promoting less-commonly taught languages and cultures in the U.S. She served on the ACTFL Board of Directors for three years. She is on the Board of Trustees of Center for Applied Linguistics and is also the current President of the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Association (NFMLTA).
Richard D. Brecht: Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland.
Dr. Richard D. Brecht: Having received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, Dr. Brecht is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland. Brecht is also co-director of the American Councils Research Center, a think tank devoted to providing evidence for language policy and management decisions in education and the work place. As an academic entrepreneur, he has founded, built and led over a dozen academic organizations, including the Center for Advanced Study of Language (a Department of Defense University Affiliated Research Center), American Councils for International Education, the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages, and the National Foreign Language Center. Currently, Dr. Brecht is Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer of Global Professional Search Inc (GPS), a business connecting employers to job applicants with foreign language proficiency, international experience, and multicultural understanding. Dr. Brecht has testified in Congress before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor, the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, and the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He has made hundreds of academic presentations and authored and edited dozens of scholarly books, textbooks, manuals, articles and reviews on language policy, second language acquisition, and Slavic and Russian linguistics, including a briefing paper “America’s Languages: Challenges and Promise” for the language education commission of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Finally, Dr. Brecht has received numerous awards from national and international organizations in the language field.
Dan Davidson: President of American Councils for International Education and Professor of Russian, Bryn Mawr College,
Dr. Dan E. Davidson, President of American Councils for International Education and Professor of Russian, Bryn Mawr College, holds the Ph.D. degree in Slavic Languages from Harvard University. He is author or editor of 44 books or collections as well as over 60 scholarly articles in the fields of Russian language, culture and international education. In 2015, Dr. Davidson was named to the Commission on Languages of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on Languages. He is a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Education (RAO), Vice-President of the International Association of Teachers of Russian (MAPRIAL), and served as elected chair of the College Board World Languages Academic Advisory Committee, the Joint National Committee for Languages, and the Alliance for International Education Exchange. His latest study, “Assessing Language Proficiency and Intercultural Development in the Overseas Immersion Context” appeared in Exploring the US Language Flagship Program. Professional Competence in a Second Language by Graduation. Eds. Murphy, D. & Evans-Romaine, K. Multilingual Matters, Bristol, UK October 2016.
Bills Rivers: Executive Director, Joint National Committee for Languages – National Council for Language and International Studies
Dr. Bills Rivers has more than 25 years’ experience in culture and language for economic development and national security, with expertise in research, assessment, program evaluation, and policy development and advocacy. He serves as the Executive Director of the Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS), representing more than 125 language organizations in the US and more than 300,000 language professionals to the Federal Government and business community. In addition, Dr. Rivers chairs the US National Standards Committee for language services and products, ASTM Technical Committee F43, “Language Services and Products,” the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to the International Standards Organisation (ISO) Technical Committee 232, Training in the Informal Sector, and serves as the Secretary to the US Technical Advisory Group to ISO Technical Committee 037 on Terminology and other language and content resources.
Before joining JNCL-NCLIS, he served as Chief Scientist at Integrated Training Solutions, Inc., a small business in Arlington, Virginia, where he focused on strategic planning, management consulting, and advanced technologies for language and culture programs in the public sector. While at ITS, he served in a contractor role as the founding Chief Linguist of the National Language Service Corps. Prior to working at ITS, he was a founding member of the Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL) at the University of Maryland, serving as the first Director of LCTLs at CASL. He was a staff member of the National Foreign Language Center from 1994 to 2003, and a staff member in the Publications department of ACTR/ACCELS from 1993-1995.
During his career, Dr. Rivers has also taught Russian from first through fourth year at the University of Maryland, worked as a freelance interpreter and translator for aerospace and astrodynamics projects, and lived and conducted field work in Kazakhstan, where he regularly returns to teach. He received his PhD in Russian from Bryn Mawr College and his MA, BA, and BSAE from the University of Maryland.
Brian Edwards: Crown Professor in Middle East Studies and Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University
Dr. Brian T. Edwards is the Crown Professor in Middle East Studies as well as a Professor of English, Comparative Literary Studies, and American Studies at Northwestern University. He is also the founding Director of Northwestern’s Program in Middle East and North African Studies, which offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate major, a PhD certificate, and Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish language. His interests lie in American culture and its global context, especially in the Middle East. His publications include two books, Morocco Bound: Disorienting America’s Maghreb from Casablanca to the Marrakech Express (2005) and After the American Century: The Ends of U.S. Culture in the Middle East (2016), two edited collections, Globalizing American Studies (2010) and On the Ground: New Directions in Middle East and North African Studies (2013), and essays, articles, and OpEds in a range of both scholarly and mainstream publications, including Salon, Public Culture, Foreign Policy, Chicago Tribune, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He was a Fulbright Fellow to Morocco and Fulbright Senior Scholar to both Egypt and Italy. He was named a 2005 Carnegie Scholar and was a 2008-09 recipient of a New Directions Fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In 2013, he was named an Emerging Leader by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. In that capacity, he was lead author on a white paper published in 2015 by the Council entitled “Teaching Arabic in Our Schools: Globalizing Education for Chicago’s Next Generation.” Edwards is chair of the Chicago Arabic Teachers’ Council, funded by a grant from the Qatar Foundation, which serves the 250+ Arabic teachers in Chicagoland by building relationships between and providing resources to Arabic language instructors, school administrators and education professionals.