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May 2011 Archives

A Successful World Languages Day 2011!

This year's World Languages Day (WLD) took place on Tuesday, May 17th, 2011. The event was a great success, and very engaging for high school students.

This was the eighth annual event, and probably the most innovative since 2004.

Changes for this year included:


  • A compressed time frame, with five class hours instead of four.

  • A move to the West Bank. This change was necessitated by the absence of Northrop and Folwell, but we found the West Bank to be a convenient and accessible location.

  • A new option for students to attend virtually. Lincoln High in Thief River Falls was our pilot school, and three German classes from that school attended virtually. Beth Kautz debuted her new "Green Germany" class to this group.

  • An internally-developed welcome video directed by Lindsey Lahr, and featuring U of M language students. This video was played to enhance the live welcoming remarks, and serve as the primary welcome for students attending virtually.

You can view the video created for the Welcoming Remarks at:

Over 1000 high school students from a variety of diverse, metro public schools and several far out-state schools attended the event, along with some teachers, counselors and parents.

You can see a full list of classes, and the faculty, P&A, and graduate instructors who volunteered their time to teach at the World Languages Day site.

WLD is a collaborative effort between instructors, staff and students in several colleges and units including, but not limited to, CLA, OIP, CCE and Admissions. In all, about 120 people were on the West Bank helping in some capacity and we want to extend a huge thank you to all of our wonderful instructors, staff, volunteers and video talent, who contributed their time, energy and talent to the event.

May Session Hours

During May Session - May 23 - June 10, the Language Center Main Office and Classrooms will be open Monday - Friday from 7:45 AM - 4:30 PM. Due to reduced classroom support staff during May Session, we appreciate reservations for classrooms being made as far in advance as possible. The Multimedia Lab (Jones 135) will remain closed until Fall.

Outstanding Student Employee Awards for 3 LC student staff

The Language Center is pleased to announce three recipients of the University's Outstanding Student Employee Award: Bryant Cotner, Anna Kaminski and Bethany Schowengerdt.  This award is presented to the top 10% of student employees at the University.  Each of these students played an integral part in the support of language teaching and learning at the University of Minnesota this past year.  

Bryant Cotner works in the Classroom Support area, where he has provided calm and competent assistance to instructors and students alike for the past five years.  In addition to troubleshooting issues in the classrooms, Bryant also served as our undergraduate computing specialist and helped to keep the computers at the Language Center updated and working properly.  He was also instrumental in the remodel of the Jones 15 classroom this past summer.  Bryant is graduating this spring; he will be greatly missed.

Anna Kaminski works in the Main Office area, where she is always eager to help university language instructors and students, however possible. Her enthusiasm and dedication to language learning is admirable and she has been awarded a well-deserved Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) for Arabic and will be sent to Oman this summer for intensive Arabic instruction and cultural immersion. Although Anna has been with the Language Center for less than two years, it is hard to imagine the office running so well without her.

Bethany Schowengerdt is the Tandem Plus Assistant, where she helps connect language learners both on campus and around the globe. Gregarious, gracious, and unflappable, Bethany has been instrumental in maintaining Tandem's Face-to-Face, Class-to-Class and Guided Conversation programs and also helping launch the new Virtual Face to Face (aka "Skype Exchanges") this year. She is leaving to study in Senegal this Fall. We will miss her presence at the Language Center, but she's promised to keep us apprised of her adventures both in French and English.

Please join us in congratulating our undergraduate staff for their hard work and dedication!


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