CERCLL Receives Federal Grant Renewal

 

The College of Humanities' Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language & Literacy, or CERCLL, has been awarded a four-year grant renewal from the U.S. Department of Education. 

The Title VI grants support teaching, research and outreach on critical world regions and languages and help the UA prepare students to thrive in a globalized world. Along with CERCLL, the University of Arizona's Center for Latin American Studies and Center for Middle Eastern Studies have been awarded grants totaling more than $4.8 million. 

The grants are designed to respond to the "ongoing national need for individuals with expertise and competence in world languages and area or international studies" and contribute to developing a globally competent workforce, expand access to foreign language learning, and support teaching and research on critical world regions and langauges. The grants provide opportunities for students, researchers and the community while confirming the UA's status as a leader in foreign language and area studies instruction and international engagement. 

As a Title VI Language Resource Center, CERCLL will receive $756,000 to develop resources for the teaching and learning of foreign languages at K-16 levels across the United States and promote the learning of languages that are less commonly taught. In addition to receiving Title VI funds, the centers have received institutional commitments from their home colleges, the provost's office, the Office for Research, Discovery and Innovation, the Graduate College, the College of Education and UA Global.

"It is paramount that we prepare our students to thrive and lead at the global level. The competencies they will need for next-generation careers go well beyond practical skills. That includes not just knowing a second language, but also understanding and appreciating the rich diversity of our world," said UA President Robert C. Robbins. "This funding helps us meet that need and confirms the UA's leading role in teaching and research in foreign language learning and international studies."

The grant award for CERCLL marks the center’s fourth consecutive Title VI grant since it was founded in 2006. The CERCLL is one of 16 national Language Resource Centers that support global education in the U.S. by fostering innovative research and quality educational practices related to the learning of world languages and the development of intercultural competence.

“I am thrilled about our CERCLL receiving another Title VI Grant," says College of Humanities Dean Alain-Philippe Durand. “Under the excellent leadership of Beatrice Dupuy, Chantelle Warner, and Kate Mackay, CERCLL has established itself as the language center for the entire University of Arizona and Tucson’s communities and beyond. In full agreement with the heads and directors, the College of Humanities decided to significantly increase financial support to help CERCLL in its mission to prepare the future leaders of the fourth industrial revolution, multilingual leaders, that is.”

Together with generous commitments from the College of Humanities and others across campus, this new grant will bring a series of cross-disciplinary initiatives to the UA, including applied research projects in language learning and teaching, and outreach and professional development opportunities for educators. Through its projects and initiatives over the last 12 years, the CERCLL has established itself as an innovation hub for language teaching and learning in the southwest and beyond, say CERCLL co-directors Chantelle Warner and Beatrice Dupuy.

"The biggest challenges facing society today are global in nature, and that calls upon a citizenry ready to negotiate complex encounters taking place across permeable borders where getting by in English is not enough and might even be dangerously deceptive," Warner says. "Multilingual and multicultural awareness and an ability to mediate between languages and cultures is integral for students, whatever futures they imagine for themselves."

In 2014, a bipartisan group of Congressional members called on the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to examine the nation’s current capacity in languages and recommend actions. The Academy published a report in which they underscored how critical the ability to communicate in world languages is to success in business, research and international relations. Dupuy says the CERCLL’s grant renewal application proposed a set of new activities that directly responded to this call.

The research projects and initiatives that the CERCLL will support with this new grant integrate culture, language and interdisciplinary themes such as global awareness, science literacy, media literacy and information literacy.

"The focus will be on sustained language learning that prepares citizens to successfully engage with a diversity of peoples and cultures near and far," Warner said. "This work has become more urgent over the last decade as economic and social realities have become more globally connected."

CERCLL will continue to host the biennial International Conferences on the Teaching and Assessment of Intercultural Competence, the largest professional event on this topic in the country, and the Second Language Digital Literacies Symposium, a hybrid event which was most recently convened this October with a focus on participation, equity and inclusion.