Curricular Design Workshop with Benjamin Rifkin

Saturday, February 8th, 3:15pm-5:00pm
"Expanding Language Program Design to Meet Liberal Arts Goals"

Research shows that most foreign-language learners who don’t go on study abroad for at least a semester complete a college major in a foreign language at the intermediate level, but research also shows that students enter into intermediate-level proficiency as early as the 2nd year of instruction in language programs.

Many college and university programs are expected to produce learning outcomes assessment reports annually, but these reports cannot be very encouraging about proficiency-based outcomes when the progress from second- to third- and then to fourth-year in the study of a Slavic language is infrequently measurable on the proficiency scale. This creates a situation in which it may seem as if our programs are not making significant contributions to student learning after the completion of the second year of language instruction.

In this workshop, Benjamin Rifkin (Professor of Russian and Dean of Arts & Sciences at Hofstra University) will share with attendees information about liberal arts goals as articulated by the Association of American Colleges and Universities that can be embedded in any Slavic language and culture undergraduate program and will then show rubrics to measure progress toward the attainment of these goals.

Workshop attendees will work in small groups to develop the outlines of a task that could be embedded in classes taught both in the target language and in English that will provide programs with evidence of learning progress at all levels of instruction, evidence correlated not only with the proficiency goals in each of the language modalities (listening, reading, writing, and speaking), but also with broader liberal arts goals that are part of the mission of virtually every American college and university.

Expanding the learning focus of your program will make your program more attractive to students who are thinking not only of their major but also of their ultimate employment or graduate study opportunities as well as to deans and provosts who are concerned about demonstrating the value of the education we offer to boards of trustees, current and prospective students, and their families.