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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Welcome Sanaz Jabbari to TandemPlus

TandemPlus is happy to welcome Sanaz Jabbari as the new TandemPlus Assistant. She takes over from outgoing TandemPlus Assistant Salma Bile, who has graduated and will attend nursing school.

Sanaz immigrated from Iran to the United States about eight years ago with the dream of furthering her education. She started at Normandale Community College, then transferred to the University of Minnesota to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology. Her long term goals are to apply to and complete chiropractic school and open her own clinic.

Sanaz says, “I am a big foodie and love many types of foods, namely sushi. I also love the outdoors and nature as well as all types of animals.” We are delighted to have her on our team! You can reach her at tandem@umn.edu.

Registration for the summer TandemPlus program will begin on June 13, 2016.

A Penny for my Thoughts? We Have a Winner of the $10 Bordertown Gift Card!

The PD Peer Team would like to thank all instructors who took the time to complete the survey to provide feedback for PD event for the AY 2016-2017. We will use this information to help us shape our professional development agenda for next year.

The winner of the drawing for a $10 Bordertown Gift Card is Meagan Tripp! 

If you have ideas for PD events and topics, please let us know! Contact Adolfo Carrillo Cabello at carri093@umn.edu. We would love to hear from you as we plan ahead for academic year 2016-2017.

PACE Workshop: Disabilities and Inclusive Design

Wednesday, August 31, 2016
8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Beacon room, RecWell Center
Register online (required)

The PACE Project in collaboration with the Committee on Second Language Education (ComSLE), the Disability Resource Center, the College of Liberal Arts office of Undergraduate Education, and the Center for Educational Innovation (CEI) are pleased to invite you to a workshop on Disabilities and Inclusive Design. The workshop is intended to provide meaningful strategies for integrating inclusive design into course curriculum that are closely aligned with current teaching practices of language instructors.

This workshop will take place Wednesday, August 31 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Recreational and Wellness Center, Beacon room. Lunch will be provided for all attendees. Light breakfast items will be available at 8:00 a.m.

We would like to thank all instructors who have taken the time to complete a survey to gather information about their teaching experiences and practices in connection with with working with students with disabilities, core course assignments, and teaching practices. If you have not completed the survey, we welcome your input.

Click here to complete the survey. You will be able to save your entries and return to complete the survey if necessary.

This event is free and open to the university community. Please register in advance, since lunch is provided. If you are unable to register online, please email elsie@umn.edu.

The PACE Project is funded by a grant from The Language Flagship.

Adolfo Carrillo Cabello, Professional Development, CLA Language Center
Cynthia Fuller, Associate Director, Disabilities Resource Center and Student Access
Angela Bowlus, Assistant Director of Advising, CLA Undergraduate Education

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

New CARLA Director

We are excited to welcome Kate Paesani as director of the Center for Advanced Research and Language Acquisition and affiliate Associate Professor in the College of Liberal Arts. She will join us in the fall semester with a split appointment between CARLA (75%) and the CLA Language Center (25%). The Language Center component will involve her working directly with CLA language instructors to provide leadership and support to research and curriculum development initiatives.

Kate comes to CARLA and the University of Minnesota from Wayne State University, where she was Associate Professor and Director of Basic French Courses. Her research focuses on literacy-based curriculum and instruction and foreign language teacher development, couched within the frameworks of multiliteracies pedagogy and sociocultural theory. She has published on applications of multiliteracies pedagogy in collegiate foreign language programs, integrated language and literature instruction, foreign language program articulation, teacher conceptual development, and high-leverage teaching practices. She has also served as President of the American Association of University Supervisors and Coordinators (AAUSC), and is a 2016 recipient of Wayne State University’s Board of Governors Faculty Recognition Award for her co-authored book, A Multiliteracies Framework for Collegiate Foreign Language Teaching.

Kate's first day at the University will be August 29, 2016. We look forward to working with her in the new academic year!

Monday, May 9, 2016

TandemPlus is looking for a Few Good Men and Women

Did you know that in 2015 TandemPlus officially became a student group at the University of Minnesota? This means Tandem has student officers who help guide the group. Since all five members of the current TandemPlus student board are graduating in 2016, Tandem needs more officers to help in the 2016-2017 academic year. If you or someone you know are interested in being a TandemPlus officer, apply here.

Top reasons to be a TandemPlus Student Officer:
  • Be more involved on campus
  • Meet new people from around the world
  • Gain valuable experience for your CV 
  • Help shape the campus’s top language and cultural exchange program
The application form will close on Sunday, May 23, 2016 at midnight. Incomplete or late applications will not be processed. Please be mindful of the deadline and write complete, thoughtful responses.

Language Center Graduate Staff Graduations

The Language Center has been fortunate to work with Beth Dillard, Rachel Sherman Johnson and Fang (Andie) Wang for several years. These three graduate students have held multiple positions and worked on multiple projects. Andie brought expertise in traditional and non-traditional assessment, Rachel, expertise with statistics and learning abroad, and Beth, expertise with professional development and project management. They all brought a collaborative spirit, and a willingness take on new challenges. Whenever a need arose, they were always among the first we would contact, just hoping they might be available for a new project. Fortunately, they often said yes!

Please offer your congratulations to the following graduates!

Beth Dillard, PACE Communications Coordinator, will defend her dissertation this summer. She looked at instructor learning in inquiry groups, with a special focus on how “lesson study” might be modified for the needs of language instructors in higher education. In Fall 2016 she heads out to the West Coast as Assistant Professor of Second Language Acquisition in the College of Education at Western Washington University. As a language teacher educator, she will be working with graduate and undergraduate K-12 education students, preparing them to work with linguistically and culturally diverse students.

Rachel Sherman Johnson, former Assistant Coordinator and current PACE Project Researcher, is graduating this spring with a PhD in Comparative and International Development Education. She defended her dissertation, "Creative Minds Abroad: How Design Students Make Meaning of Their International Education Experiences" on April 27. She plans to pursue a career in higher education administration.

Fang (Andie) Wang, former Intercultural Competence Specialist and LPE Developer, will defend her dissertation on Chinese international graduate students' cross-cultural experiences of learning to teach using the theoretical framework of teacher identity in summer for the PhD program in Second Languages Education in the Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction. Afterwards, she will start her assistant professor (non-tenure track) position in the Department of East Asian Studies at Colby College, Maine. She will be teaching Chinese language courses and foreign language education courses in the department.

A Penny for my Thoughts? We’ll Give you Ten Bucks!

The PD Peer Team would like to thank you for being part of our community, and for engaging in PD events this year. As you wrap up your semester, we would like to hear about your PD needs and interests. Help us shape our professional development agenda for next year, tell us about your experiences and challenges -- what would you like to implement in your classroom? -- and earn a buck doing it.

Complete this survey by Friday, May 20, 2016 and you will be entered in a drawing for a $10 Bordertown Gift Card!

The survey should take no more than five minutes to complete and is compatible with mobile devices. Ready to try your luck? Click here to complete the survey.

We greatly appreciate your feedback as we plan ahead for the AY 2016-2017.

New Community of Practice: Basic Linguistics for all Language Learners

Do you ever wish your students were more prepared to learn a foreign language? Are there linguistic concepts that would be helpful for all language learners to review? If you are interested in discussing how to help your students better understand how language works so that they can be more successful in our courses, then this new Community of Practice (CoP) is for you! We anticipate meeting regularly beginning in Fall 2016. If you might be interested in being part of this group, let the Language Center staff know! We will be in touch with you before our first meeting next fall.

What is a CoP? It is a group of people who share a passion for something that they know how to do and interact regularly to learn how to do it better. By exchanging stories, problems and solutions, the CoP can bring its collective knowledge to bear on individuals' problems. As a community, we will explore concepts we believe are most important for beginning language learners and how these concepts could be demonstrated or "unpacked" for students in an engaging way. All languages welcome!

How interested are you? Let us know!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Congratulations 2016 SELP Honorees!

Did you know that the Language Center employs approximately twice as many undergraduate student staff as continuing non-student staff? Our undergraduate student staff provide primary assistance to students and instructors in public areas like the Main Office and Multimedia Lab, and provide Classroom Support for our four classrooms. In addition, undergraduate students play a vital role on the following teams: Dev Studio, TandemPlus, Technical Support, Testing and Instructional and more. The Language Center could not run without our dedicated and skilled undergraduate team members.

The Student Employee Leadership Program (SELP) provides an opportunity to recognize student employees who go above and beyond expectations in their work at the university through the annual SELPie awards for Outstanding Student Employees and graduates of the SELP program. Award winners will be honored May 2, 2016 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in McNamara Alumni Center.

The 2016 winners from the Language Center are:
  • Salma Bile: Outstanding Student Employee Award
  • Keerthana Shankar: Outstanding Student Employee Award
  • Anna Sisombat: Outstanding Student Employee Award
  • Hunter Slack: Outstanding Student Employee Award
Congratulations to all!

Language Center Undergraduate Staff Graduations

After this spring semester, five long-term Language Center undergraduate employees will complete their undergraduate programs. All of them held unique positions in our department and made valuable contributions to language education at the University of Minnesota. Please join us in congratulating the following graduates, and wishing them the best in their future endeavors!

Dimitra Andreadaki, Main Office Assistant, is graduating with a BA in Biology, Society, and the Environment with a minor in Public Health. She is currently working as a nursing assistant and will be starting a year of service with the Minnesota College Health Corps working to increase healthcare access to low-income students in the Alternative Learning Center in Rochester. Afterwards she will apply to graduate school in physician assistant studies.

Salma Bile, TandemPlus Assistant and previous Multimedia Lab Lead Student, is graduating with a degree in Biology. After graduation she will pursue a master’s degree in Nursing at the University of DePaul. After graduate school, she hopes to work abroad as a nurse to help spread health literacy and work as an advocate for the rights of children and women around the world.

Keerthana Shankar, Classroom Support Assistant, is graduating with a degree in Asian Languages and Literature with a focus in Korean. Her plan for after graduation is to find employment at Sejong Academy or a Pet Hotel and then apply for Teach For America next year. Her other goal is to create comics that has plots related to social justice and make an impact in people's lives.

Hunter Slack, Main Office and Moodle Course Assistant, will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business, majoring in Marketing and minoring in Design. While the short term has yet to be decided, his long term career goals are to be working in brand management for exciting consumer brands.

​Shoua Thao, Main Office Assistant, will graduate with a Bachelors of Individualized Studies Degree in Mass Communication, Political Science, and Interdisciplinary Design Minor. She is currently finding more opportunities to advance in her marketing and design skills with more internship experience, or FT job in any business marketing department. After a few years of working, she plans to attend graduate school once she narrows down her interests. Her long-term goal is to achieve a position in a PR or advertising agency, working specifically in the creative services department, and possibly become a creative director one day. As for now, she needs a break from school.

Workshop on Disabilities and Inclusive Design - We Need your Input!

On March 25, 2016, the PACE Project and CARLA hosted a workshop on Language Learning and Disabilities presented by Dr. Kristi Liu and Dr. Martha Thurlow from the National Center on Educational Outcomes. The workshop explored answers to questions on the distinction between disabilities and teaching-learning challenges, as well as on the identification of institutional and community resources available on campus. Drawing upon specific second language learners’ profiles, the presenters illustrated ways to overcome instructional challenges such as dealing with test anxiety, cultural expectations, and undiagnosed learning disabilities.

The workshop generated many excellent talking points and ideas for working with students needing different types of accommodations. From these conversations came an expressed interest to further explore strategies for working with students with disabilities and learning about the applicability of inclusive design principles and strategies to provide equal access to all learners.

Furthermore, the Disability Resource Center (DRC) and the College of Liberal Arts are receiving an increased number of petitions from students with documented disabilities for modification to the second language requirement. This is in line with the expanded definition of disability provided by the ADA Amendments Act, as well as the nationally acknowledged growing number of students disclosing mental health conditions.

A future workshop is being designed through collaboration between the Committee on Second Language Education (ComSLE), The Disability Resources Center, and the College of Liberal Arts office of Undergraduate Education. The workshop is intended to more closely align with current teaching practices, and provide meaningful strategies for integrating inclusive design into course curriculum.

As such, we are seeking your input in a survey that will help us gather some ideas on your experiences working with students with disabilities and methods of instruction typically used. We appreciate your help in providing such useful information for the development of this workshop. Survey responses are appreciated by Friday, May 6, 2016.

Click here to complete the survey. You will be able to save your entries and return to complete the survey if necessary.