The Center for European Studies (CES) and the Texas Language Technology Center (TLTC) at The University of Texas at Austin have been awarded federal grants totaling more than $3 million to establish new language and culture centers that will allow them to strengthen their role as national leaders in their fields.
The Center for European Studies received a more than $1.6 million Title VI Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education for 2010-2014 and has been designated a National Resource Center. CES works to promote studies of Europe across disciplines through courses on culture, history, economics, politics and foreign languages. Douglas Biow, CES director and professor of Italian in the Department of French and Italian, said the funding will help the center broaden its connections with schools and colleges throughout the university, as well as international academic institutions.
The Texas Language Technology Center has won a $1.4 million grant for 2010-2014 from the U.S. Department of Education’s Language Resource Centers Program to designate a Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL). Part of the College of Liberal Arts, TLTC works to improve foreign language instruction by exploring the potential of emerging technologies — especially multimedia course materials — to be used in language instruction on campus and shared with other institutions and the public.
Strengthening its mission to become the leader in European studies in the southwest United States, the CES will create a Foreign Language Across the Curriculum program in 2011 and eventually offer eight courses integrating the use of French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish into various fields of study.
“Through these classes, cross-cultural and multilingual inquiry will lead to a more complete learning experience and provide a basis for comparative understanding that is unavailable when students and faculty are limited to the use of English resources alone,” Biow said.
In addition to curriculum development, the funding will support graduate and undergraduate student fellowships, outreach initiatives and online teacher training programs in language instruction for high school and college professors. The center will also focus on helping students and faculty promote interdisciplinary and transnational research through study abroad opportunities, travel grants, conferences and workshops.
Strengthening TLTC’s commitment to open education, COERLL will explore the use of emerging Internet technologies in order to create open educational resources, such as language software, online grammars and assessment tools.
“Improving foreign languages curricula for The University of Texas at Austin students is our first goal,” said Carl Blyth, TLTC director and associate professor of French in the Department of French and Italian. “But, at the same time, we want to produce scholarship and pedagogical products that we can give away to the world. This is something the university is doing for the greater good that’s central to the open education movement.”