• Shelbi R. Ankiewicz

CCU welcomes new Language and Intercultural Resource Center

At the beginning of the semester, a new Intercultural Language Resource Center opened at CCU to better assist students and professors.

The center opened in the beginning of August and was the result of two situations. Dr. Gary Schmidt, the director of the center and chair for Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies, applied for a grant from the Graduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program within the U.S. Department of Education. In March, Schmidt worked with professors from various departments, including English and Politics, to submit the grant.

During review process for the grant, the CCU provost made the decision to close the Foreign Language Instructional Center that was in Kearns Hall. This was a result of multiple reasons, one being that the director for the center retired and the tutoring was being carried over to the LIS Department.

Shortly after the decision was made to shut down the center, Schmidt received news that they were being awarded the grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant is $90,000 a year, for two years. With this money, the new resource center can do more than just tutoring. They now offer more programming to students, can hire more student assistants, offer scholarships to those studying abroad, can buy more resources for language learning and much more.

The resource center offers learning assistance for all language courses offered at CCU. There are about 10 workers in the center, some who are language majors, and others who are native speakers.

“The reason we like to have that mix is because, sort of native speakers, and then students who are majoring in a language and learning as a second language, are you know, different sort of different skill sets,” said Schmidt. “We are utilizing native speakers to assist our professors and conversation activities, … whereas we are using our own majors who have learned that learning a language over the last several years to do more things like grammar instruction, and explaining things like that.”

Logan Moses is one of the student assistants at the resource center. He is currently in his third and last year at Coastal. He began working just before the school year started and discovered the opportunity through an email he received. He was automatically interested, for he had done freelance tutoring in the past.

Moses said, “I personally have a desire to work in education for language. I have for quite some time, so when opportunity presented myself to actually develop that practical experience with helping people learn language and that methodology behind it, I thought it was a good option for me.”

Moses tutors those that need help with Spanish and French but wants to eventually teach Spanish as a profession. He is a LIS major with a duel language focus on Spanish and French.

It is difficult to learn a language without looking at people’s mouths; therefore, tutoring over zoom makes it difficult because the audio can cut out and the video can lag. It is easier to learn face-to-face.

“Language is one of those things that while in principle it looks like you could pick it up from your textbook, there’s so much nuance to it that you really do need to practice with people in order to develop that fluency, and we’re increasingly a culture society where you can’t just be monolingual anymore,” said Moses. “The United States is the second largest Spanish speaking country in the world, just behind Mexico. And so, I think for students, it’s a general good idea to pick up another language and in order to do that I think the best way is to practice, and get to speak with people, and you know, the tutoring center, we’re all there for that reason.”

The website for the Intercultural Language Resource Center is www.coastal.edu/ilrc/ . Students can make online appointments, or the center offers walk-ins on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The center is located in Britain 212.

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