USU hoping to build a center for languages and culture

LOGAN – Utah State University is hoping the legislature in its current session will approve funds to build a center for languages and culture on campus.

Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHaSS) Joe Ward said right now language classes are held all over campus.

”And that’s really my driving point of this proposal, is to bring all of our languages together, with our intensive English Language Institute which serves international students,” Ward said. “So, we think this is going to make it much more convenient for the students to interact with each other, and with their faculty.”

Dean Ward said there is a thriving dual immersion program in Utah schools at the K-12 level.

”Increasing numbers of students are going to come to campus already having achieved fairly high proficiency.

“But once they’re on campus they are going to want opportunities to push that proficiency and to maintain that proficiency to match it up with whatever major they may have. So we’re really excited about this opportunity.”

Ward said it will be built on the site where a parking lot sits south of Old Main.

USU has requested $14.5 million of the $17 million building costs, the balance coming from private donations.

It will be named the Mehdi Heravi Global Teaching and Learning Center after an Iranian-born CHaSS alumni who has given generously to USU in both his name and his father’s name.

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  • Chad Anderson February 10, 2020 at 11:10 am Reply

    Horrible idea, I know… “Let’s get rid of more parking spaces on campus to make room for people to come take language courses. I wonder where they will park while they are up on campus.”

  • Dr. Susan Carkin February 10, 2020 at 4:21 pm Reply

    This is a very exciting opportunity for USU to engage its extensive international student base and to provide enhanced opportunities for interactions among language learners at a range of levels and from diverse cultural backgrounds, including local ones. Language students will have access to speakers of multiple languages. It also has the potential to honor and apply the work of the late linguistics professor, Dr. John Lackstrom, a renowned expert on English for Specific Purposes, as language students engage their second (or third or fourth) language in a variety of academic fields. Keeping ESL in the mix of World Languages is a progressive response to the “English Only” movement, and I am happy that USU appears to understand that regardless of where a language is spoken, or what groups speak it, languages are worthy of academic credit and best studied within cultural and academic contexts. Frankly, every college/department that enrolls international students and values the efficacies that bi/multi-lingualism confers should be interested in this vision. Kudos to USU for this vision and the work to make it happen.

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