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New Focus for CLA Language Outreach in 2015

The University of Minnesota's College of Liberal Arts is reshaping its language outreach programming and will not be hosting World Language Day (WLD) in 2015. We are thankful for the thousands of high school students and hundreds of teachers who attended WLD between 2004 and 2014. The WLD planning and instructional team, and the units that support the event, have valued this partnership with Minnesota high schools.

As part of the changes in our language outreach, we want to update you on three new major language-related projects and programs underway that will enhance language education at the university and in the state.

  • Chinese Flagship: The University of Minnesota is now one of twelve United States universities offering a Chinese Language Flagship Program. The Flagship grant provides resources to expand language learning opportunities and intensive experiences to undergraduate students.
  • PACE Project: The Proficiency Assessment for Curricular Enhancement (PACE) project will provide an integrated program of language assessment and continual curricular improvement for students of French, German, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish with a goal of helping move all students to higher stages of language proficiency.
  • Spanish Certificate: The Certificate of Advanced-Level Proficiency in Spanish is a new option for students who are interested in achieving advanced-level proficiency in Spanish, and having their skills formally recognized.

With the increased focus on connecting K-12 outreach on new programs and integration into CLA Showcases, we believe we can provide more enriched and ongoing experiences. We also invite teachers of all languages to consider a group campus tour for their students.

The University of Minnesota remains committed to K-12 outreach and language promotion. Please email if you have questions about languages at the University of Minnesota.

World Languages Day Returns to Northrop


World Languages Day (WLD) at the University of Minnesota continued its tradition of success with the eleventh annual event, held on May 20, 2014. This year more than 1000 enthusiastic students came to campus from 23 schools from near and far. One teacher commented:

"This is a great opportunity for students to have. Many of my students are never in the cities and it is good for them to get out of their comfort zone... My rural students need this experience so much!"

Students voiced their appreciation for meeting new people at the event as well, stating that the event was "very fun and I enjoyed the campus and attending these classes with other schools."

This year's event brought some exciting new changes. The beautifully remodeled Northrop Auditorium was well received as the location for Welcoming Remarks. Having an auditorium large enough to seat all attendees at the same presentation created a sense of community for the event. One teacher commented, "I like that the entire group of participants were seated together rather than split into smaller groups." Additional spaces in Northrop were used for informational college-readiness and Admissions sessions, and a few language and culture classes. Guests at the event were very impressed by the beauty of this newly-reopened space.

This year's World Languages Day also featured an expanded emphasis on heritage and immersion language learning. The event featured a greater number of classes taught in the target language for learners studying Chinese, German, and Spanish. Additionally, some new classes were added this year that focused on students' conversational and self-assessment skills. The TandemPlus class was a highlight of many students' WLD experience, with one student of Chinese commenting, "I feel adventurous!" after participating in conversations with native speakers. The self-assessment classes were likewise well received, with comments such as "It helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses in speaking French," and "[It is] very interesting to be able to hear your own voice and to assess yourself."

Students expressed enthusiasm for all of the classes offered this year and the instructors who volunteered to teach them with comments such as "I actually want to learn Portuguese in the future because of this class", "I really enjoyed this, the instructor was super nice and now I really want to learn Japanese and go to Japan!" and "The teacher was really fun and lit up the room!"

World Languages Day 2014 was summed up best by a student who simply wrote, "It was great!! Go Gophers!!"

World Languages Day 2014: A Giant Thank You to All!

A giant thank you to everyone who made World Languages Day 2014 possible. This year's event featured a return to Northrop, a new itinerary and more classes and classrooms than ever before.

The event was a success because of our instructors, staff and volunteers. It is a broad group effort, and we could not pull off this event without the support of multiple colleges and units, including CLA, GPS Alliance, CCE, CEHD, Admissions, Facilities Management, Parking and Transportation and more.

Instructors and volunteers include current students, instructors and staff in all classifications, and former university employees and students who came back to support an event they remembered fondly from their time at the university.

Here Are Some of the People Who Made this Event --
You'll notice that some people wore many hats!

The Core World Languages Day Development Team --
They worked on this event all year long

Ellen Buckner, Anna Kaminski, Sara Mackenzie, Margie McGee-Newton, Diane Rackowski & Alaina Witt

Ellen and Anna recruited most of the instructors, communicated with schools and handled the many administrative details required throughout the year. The end of the event was bittersweet, because it was Anna's last day as a Language Center employee! Margie helped recruit the Welcoming Remarks leaders. Sara recruited and trained all of the Admission Guides. Diane and Alaina updated the website which provides registration for the event and the WLD video.

Our Building Captains & Other Special Support --
The people with the walkie-talkies who managed each location

Ellen Buckner, Anna Kaminski, Diane Rackowski, Jenise Rowekamp, Keerthana Shankar, Hunter Slack, Stephanie Treat, and Caroline Vang

Our Undergraduate Welcoming Remarks Leaders --
They co-lead led the remarks to 1100 high school students

Jonathan Prestrud and Nivie Roberts

Our Classroom Support Techs --
Provided essential technical support for the Welcoming Remarks and classes throughout the day

Fatima Babu, Jenny Boe, Alyssa Bonnac, Maya Christensen, Scott Eaton, Jonathan Prestrud, Diane Rackowski, Keerthana Shankar, Caroline Vang, Henry Wahl and Alaina Witt

Our World Languages Day Instructors --
Talk about Essential! These are the folks who taught the day's classes

  • Monica Barbieri: Introduction to Italian: Benvenuti!
  • Lydia Belatèche: Les Délices de France: Learn to Eat (and Speak) like the French
  • Nels Berge: Introduction to Italian: Benvenuti!
  • Jim Bierma: So You Want to Be A Millionaire: How Preparing for College Can Help!
  • Martha Bigelow: ¡Wacala!/Yuck!
  • Juliette Cherbuliez: From Atheists to Libertines: French Philosophy and the Limits of the Imagination
  • Hangtae Cho: The Korean Alphabet in 40 Minutes
  • Kate Clements: TandemPlus Chinese Language Exchange
    Assisted by Chinese Language Partners:   Junhua Chen, Yuyang Fan, Yi-Ju Lai, Sun Li, Zhaoxiang Lin, Xuewu Qin, Jin Stone, Qian Wang, Qingying Xue, and Yufei Zhao
  • Cristina Cocchi: Introduction to Italian: Benvenuti!
  • Rachael Cullick: How Many Ways Could a Roman Stick Out His Tongue?
  • Yuliya Dzhol: Basic Ojibwe
  • Mohammed Elmeski: Introduction to Arabic!
  • Satty Flaherty-Echeverria: Portuguese for Students of Spanish
  • Daniela Goldfine: ¡Bienvenidos a Argentina!
  • Abdelkader Hamouchi: Introduction to Arabic!
  • Stephanie Hernandez: Dominican Republic Culture Class
  • Maria Hofmann: Sweden: From Viking Raids to Rap Music
  • Sungok Hong: Holi: Indian Spring Festival of Colors & Come Enjoy Bhangra Dance!
  • Minori Inada: Introduction to Japanese
  • Ruben Joanem: Haiti: History of Mixed Cultures and Languages
  • Marlene Johnshoy: Using Technology to Hunt for Language Treasure
  • Bryce Johnson: The Korean Alphabet in 40 Minutes
  • Anna Kaminski: The Arab Avant-Garde: From Egyptian Surrealism to Palestinian Hip Hop
  • Daniel Karvonen: Survival Finnish
  • Beth Kautz: Green Germany
  • Keiko Kawakami: Introduction to Japanese
  • Betsy Kerr: Parlez-vous franglais? Frenglish through the Ages
  • April Knutson: Haiti: History of Mixed Cultures and Languages
  • Viviana Limon: Wacala!/Yuck!
  • Maxwell LeYang: Hmong Culture
  • Chi-ping Li: Instant Chinese
  • Qijie Li: Experiencing Chinese Language
  • Jacqueline Listemaa: Sweden: From Viking Raids to Rap Music
  • Sara MacKenzie: U of M Admissions: The Inside Scoop
  • Sidow Mohammed: Introduction to Arabic!
  • Brad Neubarth: Big D Deaf: Deaf Culture in America
  • John Nordstrom: Sweden: From Viking Raids to Rap Music
  • Anna Olivero-Agney: Introduction to Italian: Benvenuti!
  • Paul Peterson: Introduction to Icelandic<
  • Catalina Phan: U of M Admissions: The Inside Scoop
  • Luis Ramos-Garcia: United States Latino Theater: Human and Civil Rights
  • Matthias Rothe: A Song, Two Poems, Two Paintings - Messages in a Bottle from Socialist Germany
  • Ryan Seaberg: Eureka! The Greek Alphabet and (R)evolution of Writing
  • Rachel Sherman Johnson: International Game Time
    Assisted by Game Leaders:   Carlo Fernandez, Alex Fox, Nivie Roberts, Chris Michaels and Alaina Witt
  • Ginny Steinhagen: Bastelstunde! German Arts & Crafts
  • Gabriela Sweet: Self Assessment for Chinese, French, German, Spanish and Spanish Immersion Students
  • Kenichi Tazawa: The Art of Paper Folding 'Origami'
  • Rick Treece: Vive la Rèsistance! The French Resistance in World War II
  • Emilie Van Leemput: Nederland, Land Van Tolerantie (Netherlands, Country of Tolerance) & Overleven in Nederland (Survival Dutch) & Wat Maakt Nederland, Nederland? (Dutch Culture)
  • Pablo Viedma: ¡España es Diferente!
  • Eva Von Dassow: Cuneiform Tablet Demo
  • Pei-Cheng Wei: Instant Chinese
  • Maria Wentworth: Where in the World Will U Go? Study Abroad as a College Student
  • Alex Zeibot: Big D Deaf: Deaf Culture in America
  • Yongling Zhang-Gorke: Zhong Gua Hua: Learn Chinese through Popular Songs
  • Hanna Zmijewska-Emerson: The Face of Modern Norway
  • Zhen Zou: Instant Chinese
  • Eva Palma Zuniga: Chilean Culture Class

Admissions Guides --
Helping students find their classes and providing information about the university

Alyssa Anderson, Emily Ask, Katie Ask, Emily Csuy, John Jurgens, Jack Joyce-Lynch, Andrea Larson, Brian Miller, Emily Myers, Ryan Olson, Catalina Phan, Riley Webster

Our Check in and Classroom Assistants --
Helping with Check in, assisting in classes and so much more!

Fatima Babu, Ellen Buckner, Carlo Fernandez, Alex Fox, Louis Janus, Rachel Sherman Johnson, Mory Kaba, Na Hee Lee-Workman, Chris Michaels, Patrick O'Brien, Cheryl Oulicky, Joanne Peltonen, Jonathan Prestrud, Erica Qualheim, Crystal Rose, Rachel Sherman Johnson, Carol Skalko, Hunter Slack, Dan Soneson, Stephanie Treat and Sao Yang

And Thank You Participants

Finally, thank you to all the high school teachers, students, counselors and parents who took time out of their busy spring semester to come to this event. This kind of field trip is complicated to organize and execute, and we appreciate everyone's effort and good cheer on the day. We hope you enjoyed your visit to the University of Minnesota!

Language Center Staff Graduations!

After this spring semester, five long-term Language Center employees will complete their undergraduate programs. All of them held unique positions in our department and made valuable contributions to language education at the University of Minnesota. Please join us in congratulating the following graduates, and wishing them the best in their future endeavors!

Will Benton, Classroom Support Assistant, will graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Individualized Studies, focusing on Chinese, Business and the History of Technology. After graduation he hopes to make his way to China and teach English while becoming more fluent in Mandarin.

Mackenzie (Kenzie) Haws, Multimedia Lab Lead Student through Fall 2013, will graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Supply Chain and Operations with minors in International Business and Spanish Studies. This August, Kenzie will move to Nashville, Tennessee to begin working in a plant for General Mills. Before her move, she plans to spend time with her family in Chicago and enjoy country music concerts.

Anna Kaminski, TandemPlus and World Languages Day Assistant, will graduate with a Bachelor's degree in both Art and Global Studies with a triple minor in Art History, Asian Languages and Literature, and Social Justice. She plans on continuing to make art over the next year and remain in academia by eventually pursuing a PhD in either Art History or Philosophy.

Saoirse McMahon, Main Office Assistant and Elsie Speaks Editor, will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She will continue working at Fraser with children with special needs and hopes to obtain a position working in clinical mental health then pursue graduate school to become a therapist.

Alaina Witt, AV Assistant, will graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Korean Language and Literature and a minor in Linguistics. She will continue working in the AV Studio throughout the summer. She hopes to teach in Korea this upcoming academic year before returning to the U.S. to attend graduate school.

The Enduring Spirit of Labor Featuring the Art of Anna Kaminski

TandemPlus and World Languages Day Assistant Anna Kaminski will exhibit and participate in a public lecture on April 23, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at Regis Center for Art. The exhibition called The Enduring Spirit of Labor speaks to injustices rampant in labor industries and services and celebrates the struggle against systemic forces of injustice. Anna and other artists featured in the exhibition have worked collaboratively and individually on projects that speak to deeper dimensions of human rights violations in labor industries, challenging participants to consider elements of injustice existing beyond physical and explicit violence.

The Public Program for The Enduring Spirit of Labor will feature artist introductions and a discussion led by Anna Meteyer, Anna Kaminski, and Lindsay Keating. The discussion will highlight the role of artistic advocacy in social justice, the critical need to fuse art and political activism, and the advantages--and challenges--of incorporating interdisciplinary work into the fine arts. A Public Reception with the artists and curators will follow.

World Languages Day: Please Volunteer to Help on May 20, 2014

World Languages Day (WLD) is the largest outreach event at the University of Minnesota associated with language promotion. It is possible because of the efforts of our volunteers, who come from around the university. Some volunteer because they support K-12 outreach or language promotion, and others just think interacting with high school students is fun.

The event is scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, 2014 on the East Bank, and we need volunteers to help make it a success. Volunteers help with setup and check in, and support the classes that students attend.

If you are available on May 20, please consider signing as a volunteer at the WLD site.

User Name = volunteer2014
Password = pass2014

While at the WLD website, you can look at the classes scheduled for 2014, and learn more about this year's event.

Volunteers will receive a light breakfast and lunch.

The World Languages Day planning group and the College of Liberal Arts sincerely thank everyone who is able to volunteer for this important outreach event for the University of Minnesota.

World Languages Day 2014: Class List now Available!

World Languages Day 2014 is fast approaching. Check out the classes available at this year's event!

Thanks to the University of Minnesota's creative and talented language instructors, we are able to offer almost sixty classes representing more than twenty different languages.

This year's event features several classes intend to expand students' knowledge of the language they currently study in high school. These options include a variety of Spanish immersion courses, such as ¡Wacala!/Yuck!, where students can learn about all things gross, and ¡Bienvenidos a Argentina!, which will immerse students in the history, geography and culture of Argentina. Students of Chinese can try practicing their conversation skills with native Chinese speakers in TandemPlus Chinese Language Exchange. Self-Assessment classes are offered for Chinese, French, German and Spanish students interested in learning more about their own language skills.

Students can also sample a brand new language or culture. We are offering a variety of introductory language courses, including Basic Ojibwe, Survival Finnish, and Introduction to Arabic!, as well as many culture classes. Students can learn some new dance moves in Come Enjoy Bhangra Dance!, or explore international art in The Art of Paperfolding 'Origami' and Bastelstunde! German Arts & Crafts.

This year's World Languages Day has something for everyone!

Have you ever wanted to try your hand at teaching high schoolers? If so, World Languages Day (WLD) is the perfect fit for you! WLD is an event that welcomes about 1000 high school students from around the state to campus for short sessions like "The Korean Alphabet in 40 Minutes," "Sagas of the Vikings," and "Caribbean/Cuban Music," plus fun new ideas that instructors like YOU contribute!

This year's event is scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, 2014 on the East Bank and we are still recruiting instructors of every language and cultural area to offer language, history, art, or culture sessions. We would love to have every language at the U represented at WLD 2014!

Please visit to learn more about about the event and email as soon as possible to volunteer to share your expertise.

Breakfast and lunch are provided. Most instructors report that they enjoy the opportunity to work directly with high school students.

Congratulations to Rachel Faynik Marbell!

Congratulations and best wishes to former World Languages Day assistant Rachel Faynik Marbell, who completed her MA program in International Education. She is now working as the France Programs Coordinator at Intercultural Student Experiences. Although she graduated from the university, Rachel has maintained ties to campus by volunteering with World Languages Day, and continuing to serve as an assistant Gopher Hockey Cheerleading coach.

During the November 15, 2013 game against Mankato State, Jeff's Cagle (a graduate of Mankato) surprised Rachel with an an on-ice proposal. Fortunately, she said yes, and you can see the video on YouTube.

World Languages Day 2014: Application of Interest Submission Period

The CLA Language Center is pleased to announce that the Application of Interest for the 11th annual World Languages Day (WLD) will be available on the WLD website from January 15th through January 31st. World Languages Day is a great opportunity for Minnesota high school students to explore the languages and cultures of the world and to experience life at the University of Minnesota.

We would also like to welcome Ellen Buckner as the newest member of the World Languages Day team. Originally from the Twin Cities, Ellen has spent the past two years teaching English in a rural village in South Africa. Prior to living in South Africa, Ellen taught ESL in Houston, Texas; she currently works in a metro-area junior high school. She is excited to be involved in continuing the tradition of World Languages Day.

This year the event is intended for sophomore-level language classes but all students in those classes are encouraged to participate. There is no cost to register, and teachers, counselors, and parents are also invited to attend. Interested high school teachers should fill out the application; official invitations will be extended to schools in February after applications are reviewed. If more teachers submit applications than we can accommodate, the planning committee will select groups to invite based on our goal of bringing as much geographic, linguistic, and cultural diversity to the event as possible. Any groups that we are not initially able to accommodate will be placed on a waiting list.

The Application of Interest form requires a username and password. If you did not receive this information via email, please contact or fill out this short form to join our contact list. If you have any questions regarding the application, please feel free to contact us via email at or refer to the FAQ on the WLD website.

The event is scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, 2014 and will take place on the East Bank of the University of Minnesota campus. Schools that are invited will have their students register for three language and culture classes in April. Similar to last year, there will be an extended version of the schedule for schools interested in having their students attend a class on topics like college readiness or study abroad. This extended version of the schedule allows all students to sample up to three languages while still giving them them the opportunity to attend an informational session. Below is an overview of this year's itinerary. We hope to have you join us for the 11th Annual World Languages Day!

Standard Session

9:20 AM - 9:50 AM   Check-in and light breakfast
10:00 AM - 10:25 AM   Welcoming Remarks
10:35 AM - 11:15 AM   First Class
11:25 AM - 12:05 PM   Second Class
12:15 PM - 12:55 PM   Third Class

Extended Session (includes an extra informational class)

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM   Check-in and light breakfast
9:10 AM - 9:40 AM   Welcoming Remarks
9:45 AM -10:25 AM   Optional Informational Class
10:35 AM -11:15 AM   First Class
11:25 AM -12:05 PM   Second Class
12:15 PM -12:55 PM   Third Class

CLA-OIT System Maintenance Window on Saturday: Websites Unavailable

Saturday, October 19, 2013 8:00 AM - 2:00 p.m

Due to the CLA-OIT maintenance window, some web sites and services will be unavailable Saturday morning and afternoon, including the following:

If you have questions about CLA-OIT's maintenance work and website availability, please contact the department directly 612-624-4357 or

World Languages Day 2014

The World Languages Day planning committee is excited to announce that we have begun planning the Eleventh Annual World Languages Day. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, 2014 and will take place on the East Bank. Like last year, students will register for three language and culture classes. We will not offer large informational classes among the options for the three classes, but rather there will be an extended version of the schedule for schools that are interested in having their students attend a class on topics such as college readiness or study abroad.

We have decided that in addition to providing a light breakfast we will also offer a snack before the third class. We believe that this will help to keep students energy up and improve the dynamic in the third class. After all, language learning is hard work! As we move forward with the planning of the event we appreciate suggestions for the event and of course new ideas for language and culture classes are always welcome. We are looking forward to working with you and to making this the best World Languages Day yet! For the most up to date information on new developments or questions, don't hesitate to visit our website or email us at

World Languages Day - Please Welcome Anna

Please welcome back Anna Kaminski to the Language Center. She will serve as the new World Languages Day Assistant. Anna says:

I am excited to start working on planning this important annual event at the U of M and work to make it the best WLD yet! After a year studying Arabic in Amman, Jordan, it is great to be back in Minneapolis and at the University of Minnesota. Prior to my year abroad studying at the Middlebury School in the Middle East, I worked both in the Main Office as well as in the TandemPlus program. I feel that these positions prepared for the large organizational task of planning WLD and hopefully this year will see lots of positive growth and changes. It's great to be back!

World Languages Day 2013: Changes and Successes

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World Languages Day (WLD) 2013 saw many new developments and changes this time around. This year WLD attracted approximately 1,000 high school students, came home to the East Bank, and featured smaller, more personal Welcoming Remarks. 2013_poster.png

WLD began gradually and humbly as energetic volunteers directed students from school buses and instructors checked in to teach their classes. For breakfast, croissants were served with beverages in the indoor courtyard of Rapson Hall.

To acquaint high school students with the University of Minnesota's vast campus, Admissions Guides took the students on a short tour the Knoll area, so they could see their classroom buildings.

Several schools attended, comprising a variety of studied languages:

  • Avalon (Spanish)
  • Apple Valley (French)
  • Augsburg Fairview Academy (Spanish)
  • Cannon Falls (Spanish)
  • Coon Rapids (French and Spanish)
  • Melrose Area High School (Spanish
  • Milaca (Chinese)
  • Park High School (ASL, French, German, Spanish)
  • Robbinsdale Cooper (French, Spanish)
  • South High School (Spanish)
  • St. Louis Park (French, German, Hebrew, Spanish)
  • St. Anthony Village High School (Spanish)
  • Washburn (English)
  • Zumbrota-Mazeppa (Chinese)

Thank You

A big thank you to everyone who made World Languages Day 2013 possible. The event was a huge undertaking this year with a new itinerary, a return to the East Bank, a different Welcoming Remarks format, and more locations than ever before.

The event was a success because of our instructors, staff and volunteers. It is a broad group effort, and we could not pull off this event without the support of multiple colleges and units, including CLA, GPS Alliance, CCE, CEHD, CDes, Admissions, Facilities Management, Parking and Transportation and more. Instructors and volunteers include current students, instructors and staff in all classifications, and former university employees and students who came back to support an event they remembered fondly from their time at the university.

Here are some of the people who made this event possible:

The Core World Languages Day Development Team --
They worked on this event all year long

Francisco Salinas Vega, Trang Nguyen, Sara MacKenzie, Jenny Boe, Diane Rackowski, Boon Xiong

Francisco recruited most of the instructors, communicated with schools and handled the many administrative details required throughout the year ... and he did it all while completing his degree. Trang created the Welcoming Remarks PowerPoint presentation and recruited the Welcoming Remarks leaders. Sara recruited and trained all of the Admission Guides. Jenny scheduled most of the volunteers. Diane and Boon developed the website and website registration.

Our Building Captains --
The people with the walkie-talkies who managed each location

Jenny Boe, Catherine Clements, Trang Nguyen, Diane Rackowski, Francisco Salinas Vega, Stephanie Treat, Caroline Vang

Our Undergraduate Welcoming Remarks Leaders --
Each led remarks to 125 to 350 high school students

Angel Cecere, Holly Harrington, Laura Hoogeveen, Natalie Pascutoi, Brian Zarate

Language Center Staff Milestones

After this busy spring semester, many of the staff here at the Language Center will be engaging in some important life transitions! We want to highlight some of these milestones and accomplishments by congratulating the following staff members:

Jennifer Boe, Classroom Support and Assistant Main Office Coordinator is graduating at the end of the summer with a Master's in Teaching ESL (English as a Second Language). Jenny's research topic is on sense of belonging in first generations students at the University of Minnesota.

Kowsar Khuriye, Multimedia Lab Attendant, will be graduating at the end of this summer with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Public Health.

Meghan McFadden, Classroom Support Coordinator, is currently in the Second Languages and Cultures Masters of Education department and will be obtaining a Minnesota Teaching License for K-12 French and K-12 ESL in June.

Saoirse McMahon, Main Office Assistant and Elsie Speaks Editor, recently became a U.S. citizen. Her naturalization ceremony took place on March 25.

Francisco Salinas Vega, World Languages Day Assistant, is graduating this semester with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Economics, along with a minor in Spanish. He also recently became a U.S. citizen. His naturalization ceremony was on April 19.

Jessica Troyan, Classroom Support staff, will be studying abroad this summer for two months in Toledo, Spain. She is currently a sophomore.

Caroline Vang, Classroom Support Coordinator, will be graduating with a Master's from the Second Language Studies Department in teaching ESL. Her current paper is about the function of Japanese bilingualism for Japanese-American heritage speakers and how it relates to Japanese-American identity.

Congratulations, everyone!

Congratulations to the 2013 SELP Winners

Did you know that the Language Center employs approximately twice as many undergraduate student staff as continuing non-student staff? Our undergraduate student staff provide primary assistance to students and instructors in public areas like the Main Office and Multimedia Lab, and also provide support to smaller teams like the Dev Studio and TandemPlus. The Language Center could not run without our dedicated and skilled undergraduate team members.

The Student Employee Leadership Program (SELP) provides an opportunity to recognize student employees who go above and beyond expectations in their work at the university through the annual SELPie awards for Outstanding Student Employees. The 2013 winners from the Language Center are:

  • Abdulkarim Maalin: Testing Assistant and Somali LPE Developer
  • Francisco Salinas Vega: World Language Day Assistant
  • Jessica Troyan: Classroom Support Lead Student
  • Henry Wahl: Main Office Lead Student
  • Alaina Witt: Dev Studio Assistant and AV Developer

World Languages Day: Class List Now Available!

World Languages Day 2013 is just around the corner. You can check classes that are now available on the World Languages Day website. There is a selection of 41 classes this year, in 20 different languages. The courses are diverse and vary in themes. A virtual 360 degree tour of Vienna is featured in a German course titled A Virtual Walk Through Vienna. Students can play a fun quiz game about Swedish pop culture and find out surprising facts in Sweden: From Viking Raids to Rap Music. For a quick crash-course in Korean, there is Korean Alphabet in 40 Minutes.

Other courses focus on the influence of many different cultures in one language or country. The class "Parlez-vouz franglais ? Frenglish through the Ages" can satisfy student's curiosity about the origin of English and French words in each language. Students can learn about social and cultural issues related to U.S. Latino groups in United States Latino Theater: Human and Civil Rights.

Extended sessions will also be offered again this year for students wanting to learn about college, in So You Want to be a Millionaire: How Preparing for College Can Help!, Where in the World Will U Go? Study Abroad as a College Student, and U of M Admissions: The Inside Scoop... And there are many more exciting courses featured on the site!

World Languages Day: Three Quick Updates

  • The 2013 Application of Interest went live on Monday January 14. See Elsie Speaks for information on how schools can apply to attend WLD and a summary of the May 21 event.
  • WLD is now on Twitter! Follow the event at
  • Thank you to the development team for the recent updates to the website. Best wishes to Boon Xiong, our excellent student programmer who is leaving his position to focus on academics.

World Languages Day Application of Interest

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World Language Day (WLD) planning continues to go forward and beginning January 14, 2013 high school teachers will have the opportunity to register their interest by submitting an Application of Interest to attend the tenth annual event.

WLD is an opportunity for Minnesota high school students to explore some of the languages and cultures of the world and to experience academics at the University of Minnesota. This year, the event is intended for sophomore-level language classes and all students in those classes may attend, even if they are not sophomores. Teachers, counselors and parents are also invited to attend.

There is no cost to attend and the feedback provided last year by attendees was enthusiastically positive.

The event is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21, 2013. This year, the itinerary has changed to ensure that all students are able to register for three language and culture classes. We are offering a Standard Schedule, which includes three language and culture classes and an Extended Schedule, which includes three language and culture classes, along with the choice of an additional informational class.


9:20 - 9:50 AM Check in, Breakfast
10:00 - 10:25 AM Welcoming Remarks
10:35 - 11:15 AM First Class
11:25 AM - 12:05 PM Second Class
12:15 - 12:55 PM Third Class


8:30 - 9:00 AM Check in, Breakfast
9:10 - 9:40 AM Welcoming Remarks
9:45 - 10:25 AM Informational Class
10:35 - 11:15 AM First Class
11:25 AM - 12:05 PM Second Class
12:15 - 12:55 PM Third Class

The three informational classes to choose from are:

  • So You Want to Be A Millionaire: How Preparing for College Can Help!
  • U of M Admissions: The Inside Scoop
  • Where in the World will U Go? Study Abroad as a College Student

Between Jan. 14 and Jan. 31, 2013, teachers will have the opportunity to submit an Application of Interest, which is the first step toward bringing a group of students to the event. The application will be available at the WLD website.

Teachers who have not received an email with the username and password may request this information by signing up for the WLD email list.

Shortly after January 31, the planning committee will review all applications and invite teachers representing a total of 850 students. If more teachers submit applications than the event can accommodate, the planning committee will select which groups to invite. The goal will be to bring as much geographic, linguistic, and cultural diversity to the event as possible. The committee will also consider the teacher's reason for wishing to bring their group to the event. Any groups that we are not initially able to accommodate will be placed on a wait list.

The Language Center and the WLD planning committee are excited about offering this event again and hope to see a mix of new and returning schools on May 21, 2013. Please see the WLD site for updates on the event.

World Languages Day International Music Playlist

Have a favorite non-English language song? Now's your chance to share it! The World Languages Day team is currently working on an international music playlist for the event. Music will play while students are waiting for the welcoming remarks and at other transitional times. We are looking for songs that are in a second language, and are modern, upbeat, interesting and relatively short (less than five minutes). The lyrics should be in a language other than English and appropriate for high school students. In particular, we are looking for additional song suggestions for Arabic, Dutch, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian and Russian, but all ideas will be considered. Please email with the name of the song, artist, language and purchasing information. All songs must be available for digital purchase in the United States.

World Languages Day Comes Home to the East Bank!

For the 10th annual event, World Languages Day will return to the East Bank of the University Of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, after two years on the West Bank. High school students will take classes in the recently renovated Folwell, Jones and Nicholson classrooms, as well as the beautiful Bell Museum!

On Tuesday, May 21st, 2013 approximately 850 high school sophomores will come to campus to take three short classes on a variety of language and culture topics. Since the event was last held on the East Bank in 2010, Folwell has undergone a complete interior renovation, and most of the Jones Hall computer classrooms have been updated.

Breakfast and check in materials will be distributed outdoors, and welcoming remarks will be spread across several classrooms for a more personal and interactive experience for students.

The other big change is that all students will register for three interactive language and culture classes with 25 to 35 to students in each class. We will not offer larger informational classes as one of the options for the three classes. Schools interested in informational topics, such as admissions, college readiness and learning abroad can register for an additional class scheduled before the first language and culture class. This will allow all students to sample up to three languages, while retaining access to useful information related preparing and applying for college, and getting the most out of the college experience.

Students that do not attend the optional information class will have a shorter day, and a later start time. Students whose teacher has selected an optional class will have an extended day and attend a total of four classes.

The World Languages Day team is currently working on an international music playlist to play during periods of time when students are waiting. If you have a favorite modern, upbeat, non-English language song, please email your suggestion to

More information about the 2013 event will be available on our website later this fall.

Welcome Francisco, New World Languages Day Assistant

Please welcome the new World Languages Day student assistant: Francisco Salinas Vega. He is a senior majoring in Applied Economics. He is also a native Spanish speaker born in Queretaro Mexico. Francisco believes that learning a new language provides a person with different perspectives, and he has experience with event planning and outreach to the Latino community.

As an update on our previous assistants: Bethany Schowengerdt completed her BA in Global Studies and French, and a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. Over the summer she taught ESL and worked for AFS, a cultural exchange organization. She is currently preparing for her Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) grant to travel to Rwanda.

Rachel Faynik Marbell completed her MA in International Education this past May. She is now working as the France Programs Coordinator at Intercultural Student Experiences, a non-profit educational organization that helps high school language teachers plan short-term immersion programs abroad with their students. She is still involved with the University of Minnesota through her position as the Assistant Coach of the Hockey Cheerleading Team.

A big thank you to everyone who taught, provided staff support, or assisted in any way with World Languages Day on May 15, 2012. The feedback we have received so far from students and teachers has been extremely positive. They appreciated the educational opportunity, learned something new, and had a lot of fun.

This event is successful because of our instructors, staff and volunteers. It is a broad group effort, and we could not pull this event off without the support of multiple colleges and units, including CLA, GPS Alliance, CCE, CEHD, Admissions, Facilities Management and more.

A full list of instructors and volunteers is below. Some of the individuals I would particularly highlight include:

The core World Languages Day work team:
Rachel Faynik Marbell, Bethany Schowengerdt, Jenny Boe, Diane Rackowski and Boon Xiong

Rachel left the project mid-year, but worked hard on it through January, and was instrumental in its success. In many ways, it remained her event, even though she was only present on May 15 in spirit. Bethany took over from Rachel, and worked very efficiently and enthusiastically, even recruiting many of our instructors and volunteers from her academic program, and even her own family. Jenny served as the primary manager of volunteers. Diane and Boon worked on the event almost year round by maintaining the complicated registration system.

Our tech support leaders and key problem solvers:
Diane Rackowski, Catherine Clements, Ross Gebelin, Marlene Johnshoy, Jenise Rowekamp and Luis Ramos-Garcia

Our volunteer instructors from the community:
All instructors volunteered their time and energy to plan and teach their classes. Most instructors had an affiliation with the U of M, either as an employee or as a graduate student. A growing number of WLD instructors are affiliated with the university, but not currently with department that teaches the language they shared at the event.

However, the following instructors participated, despite not having any official affiliation with the university. They volunteered simply because they believe in second language education and K-12 outreach. The fellow U of M who recruited and supported them are also noted:

Marlene Milesi: Co-instructor of Les Delices de France: Learn to Eat (and Speak) like the French. She was recruited by her co-instructor Lydia Belatèche.

Sigga Gudmundsdottir: Instructor of Eyjafjallajokull: Don't fear the word, fear the volcano! She was recruited by fellow Icelander Thorunn Bjarnadottir, who taught an ISSS class.

Jonathan Townsend, Miguel Hurtado and Russell Packard: Co-instructors and musicians for Afro Cuban Music. They were all recruited by fellow instructor and musician, Gabriela Sweet.

Here is (I hope) a list of everyone who volunteered to teach or provide support on May 15:

Instructors: Said S. Ahmed, Lydia Belateche, Nels Berge, Sara Bianco, Jim Bierma, Thorunn Bjarnadottir, Yunseong Cheon, Juliette Cherbuliez, Hangtae Cho, Thuy Doan, Kait Dougherty, Chantal Figueroa, Satty Flaherty-Echeverria, Monica Frahm, Sigga Gudmundsdottir, E. Haven Hawley, Mary Hermes, Ari Hoptman, Cynthia Hornbeck, Miguel Hurtado, Daniel Karvonen, Beth Kautz, Keiko Kawakami, Sara Khanzadi, Sean Killackey, Natalia Krasnobayev, Juavah Lee, Eric Leinen, Qijie Li, Jacqueline Listemaa, Sara MacKenzie, Frances Matos-Schultz, Molly Micheels, Marlene Milesi, Patricia Mougel, Avrora Moussorlieva, Alphonce Nicholaus, Jenneke Oosterhoff, Russell Packard, Barbara Pierre Louis, Kathy Rider, DeeAnn Sime, Dan Soneson, Gabriela Sweet, Kenichi Tazawa, Danielle Tisinger, Jonathan Townsend, Rick Treece, Sarah Tschida, Ulrike Tschirner, Toke van Gehuchten, Ishaa Vintinner, Emelee Volden, Ling Wang, Betsy Warner, Sondes Wooldridge, Ellen Wormwood, Xinyi Wu, Hanna Zmijewska-Emerson, Zhen Zou

Welcoming Remarks Presenters: Evelyn Davidheiser, Yer Her

Staff and Volunteers: Linda Andrean, Katie Ask, Fatima Babu, Clare Beer, Jordan Bengston, Will Benton, Liri Berglund, Jenny Boe, Catherine Clements, Ingrid Cook, Naomi Crocker, Danielle Dadras, Elizabeth Dillard, Eva Dixon, Andrew Ensign, Gwen Evans, Ross Gebelein, Andre Gordillo, Mackenzie Haws, Yer Her, Phil Hanley, Mohamed Hussein, Louis Janus, Marlene Johnshoy, Richiko Kamata, Jeonggyun Kang, Nick Keller, Kaishan Kong, Deborah LeClaire, Kate Martin, Anise McDowell, Saoirse McMahon, Jesse Millard, Trang Nguyen, Kaoru Nunn, Cheryl Oulicky, Meghann Peace, Joanne Peltonen, Liza Pierre, Diane Rackowski, Luis Ramos-Garcia, Jenise Rowekamp, Bethany Schowengerdt, Robyn Schowengerdt (and the rest of the Schowengerdt family), Ashley Rose Steinhauser, Zach Stern, Allison Suhan, Ian Taylor, Gebisa Urgessa, Henry Wahl, Willie Wong, Xue Xiong, Dongming Yang, Soa Yang, Brian Zarate, Siwei Zhao

We haven't yet discussed the possibility of offering World Languages Day 2013, but if we do it will be our (drumroll) 10th annual event! We would welcome any ideas about how to shake things up, and find new ways to engage students in lifelong language and culture learning!

A Whirlwind Tour of World Languages Day

The West Bank was a scene of bustling activity on May 15th this year. Volunteers arrived early (early by the "real world" definition as well as the college one) to set up for the 1100 high school students who would soon be arriving for World Languages Day. I passed them several times greeting the students with schedules, maps, breakfast, and a smile. While weaving in and out of the groups of students in line for their croissants and coffee, I was pleasantly surprised by their energy and that of the volunteers patiently directing them.

For many students, World Languages Day is probably just another field trip. I was hoping that for some, it would be a time for a "light bulb" moment and give them a minute's inspiration to continue their language learning. But there was not much time to muse about this, as I got a call that more buses were arriving and creatively deciding on new drop locations.

Soon, it was time for welcoming remarks by Yer Her, a student ambassador, and Evelyn Davidheiser, director of the Institute for Global Studies and then off to classes for the first group of students. While in previous years of World Languages Day, I had the opportunity to sit in and do small tasks in the actual classes, this year of World Languages Day was my chance to see the workings outside of the classes that make them possible. It was passing smiling Stephanie Treat, the World Languages Day coordinator umpteen times in the halls as she was on her way to a new mission and waving to instructors I know. It was greeting my co-workers from the Language Center and volunteers, as they busily guided students, moved materials, solved technical difficulties in the classrooms, and kept some of the more spirited high schoolers in check. Months of planning made for a smooth World Languages Day, with over 50 classes in a variety of languages and cultures. But every year, as World Languages Day staff can tell you, comes with its individual challenges and successes.

Between waving my arms in the parking lot to direct traffic, checking in with everyone, and navigating students, I did have a few moments to peak into some classes. Then, riiinnngg, the pizza arrived! Lunch was one of the highlights of my World Languages Day, as I had the chance to thank instructors and volunteers, and chat with them to see how their various tasks and classes went. While walking between buildings during the clean-up phase, the high school students, their teachers, and chaperones were enjoying the beautiful sunshine and lunch. After picking up and of course flipping through some of the surveys, I saw a few typical teenage responses, a blank form with checks by appropriate boxes. However, a spin on this typical response caught me by surprise in my search for comments. One student had made a box next to the "very good", checked it, and wrote "amazing" underneath. Yes, despite all the running, all the planning, the unexpected downfalls and triumphs that come with any event, I think we can call World Languages Day 2012 a great day. Thank you to all of the staff and volunteers that made WLD not just possible, but fantastic!

Branch out and Learn: The 2012 WLD Poster

This year's World Languages Day will feature sustainability-themed content courses for French, German and Spanish. The three classes are taught in the target language, and the classes are based on content recently developed for U of M language courses. See Elsie Speaks for more information on the university courses.

The World Languages Day courses are:

  • French: Water Conservation and Ecology taught by Patricia Mougel

  • German: Green Germany taught by Beth Kautz

  • Spanish: Sustainability, Insects and Spanish taught by Frances Matos-Schultz

These classes will give high school students an opportunity to participate in a science-based content course taught in a second language.

These courses are highlighted on our 2012 poster, designed by Paul Fosaaen, our Multimedia Lab Lead Student, who is graduating at the end of this semester. Congratulations Paul!

In addition to designing the WLD poster, Paul is the artist of Mi Casta Su Casta, a piece hung in the Multimedia Lab.


Congratulations Bethany, Fulbright Scholar!

Bethany Schowengerdt, TandemPlus and World Languages Day Assistant, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) grant to travel to Rwanda. From January to September 2013, she will serve as a teaching assistant at a university in Rwanda and also do volunteer work.

Bethany is graduating at the end of Spring 2012 with a double-major in Global Studies and French, and a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. Her areas of concentration are Africa and the International Political Economy. While an undergraduate at the U of M, Bethany participated in a study abroad program in Senegal, and also served an internship at BestPrep, a non-profit that facilitates guest speaker presentations and an email exchange between high school students and business professionals.

We will always remember Bethany for her friendliness, positive energy, willingness to take on any task, and her commitment to second language education and student support. We wish her the best in her latest international endeavor!

World Languages Day: Schools Attending the 2012 Event

Registration for World Languages Day is almost complete, and we are pleased to welcome the following high schools to the event on May 15: Apple Valley, Austin, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Creative Arts, Floodwood, Melrose, Pine Island, Robbinsdale Cooper, Moose Lake, Prior Lake, South, St. Louis Park, Waconia and White Bear North.

Most students coming to the event study French, German or Spanish. There are also a few ESL, Hebrew and Japanese students expected, and some students are currently in advanced-placement or immersion programs.

Over 1000 students will be on campus for the event. You can see a list of classes at

World Languages Day: Registration Opens!

Student registration for World Languages Day 2012 opened on Monday, April 9. Students from a variety of schools have started registering. So far, the most in-demand classes include perennial favorites like: Origami: The Japanese Art of Paper Folding, Survival Finnish, Les Délices de France and Introduction to Italian, as well as new classes like Afro-Caribbean Music, A Short and Fun Trip to China and Dancing with Differences (offered by ISSS).

You can check out the class list at the WLD website.

World Languages Day: Branch out and Learn!

While University of Minnesota students and faculty are counting down to various deadlines and the end of the semester, the World Languages Day planning committee continues the count-down to World Languages Day, and we can't wait! The event is scheduled for Tuesday, May 15, just two months away. We expect to draw over 1000 high school sophomores to campus.

This year, we are happy to see returning high schools from last year, from the Twin Cities metro area, as well as the northern, southern, and central areas of Minnesota. We also welcome new schools or schools that participated prior to 2011 representing a wide range of cities and town in Minnesota.

New teachers and students are in for a treat. Returnees will recognize perennial favorites on the course list, and will once again be able to learn traditional Hmong dance, greet each other in Italian, and play American Idol in German - and that's just the a small sampling of the offerings!

Reading over the course list is like flipping through a virtual travel catalogue, one that sparks cultural inquiry. Students can take Arabic Language and Culture: a Trip to Tunisia, Excursion Brazil, and A Virtual Walk through Vienna, all without leaving the U of M campus. For students who do want to leave campus, information on travel all over the world will be offered in three study abroad information sessions.

New this year will be the sounds of Afro-Cuban Music, a Spanish course which will include special musical guests. Experiencing the Chinese Language takes students on a journey through thousands of years of history. Classes such as the debut of From Atheists to Libertines: French Philosophy and the Limits of the Imagination challenge our assumptions in learning about other cultures and places, and the people we meet along the way.

There is also a cross-curriculum focus on sustainability offered this year: Water Conservation and Ecology (French), Sustainability, Insects, and Spanish, as well as Green Germany, each taught in the target language. Students will have the chance to apply their knowledge of science and the economy to their language studies in these different cultural contexts.

Take a look at our online course list for both new and proven ways to stretch imagination, broaden cultural knowledge, and express yourself in 23 different languages offered at World Languages Day this May.

In the meantime, the planning continues! Look out for more information on registration coming soon. You can view the class list, and learn more about the event at our website.

World Languages Day: Application to Attend 2012 Event

World Languages Day begins accepting Applications of Interest on January 17th, 2012!

What is an Application of Interest and why do we require it? Read on!

The origins of a fun language and culture event:
Interest from high school teachers to bring their students to attending World Languages Day has been growing ever since the event debuted in 2004. On the day of the event, approximately 1000 high school students visit the University of Minnesota campus to take three mini-courses on foreign language-related topics. Most of the courses are introductory and interactive and help get participants excited about continuing their study of a current language, or learning a new language.

Overwhelming popularity:
In 2009, after 1600 students enrolled for an event intended for 1000 students, we decided that we needed a new registration system. In 2010, we debuted the Application of Interest, along with a two-step registration process.

Organizing enrollment:
This January, interested teachers are invited to submit an Application of Interest to bring their students to attend the 2012 event. This application includes a short summary of the reasons they wish to bring their group to the event. If more teachers submit applications than we can accommodate, the planning committee selects which groups to invite. The goal is to bring as much geographic, linguistic and cultural diversity to the event as possible. We also give priority to schools who are underrepresented at the U of M and we place emphasis on sophomore-level classes, to ensure that we are reaching the best possible audience. Any groups that we are not initially able to accommodate are placed on a waiting list, and we are often able to invite some schools from the wait list.

In addition to the approximately 1000 students who attend the event in person, we will also accommodate some schools who wish to attend the event virtually and participate in interactive online classes.

This year's event is scheduled for May 15, 2012 and we will be accepting Applications of Interest from January 17 through January 31, 2012 at

High school teachers on our email list have received a user name and password for the Application of Interest, and the application link will go live on Tuesday, January 17.

For more information about the event, please visit our website:
or contact Stephanie Treat at

Start Getting Excited for World Languages Day 2012!

Planning for the 9th annual World Languages Day is underway! The date is set for Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 and, similar to last year, the event will take place on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota campus.

World Languages Day is an opportunity for Minnesota high school students to explore some of the languages and cultures of the world and to experience life at the University of Minnesota. The event is intended for sophomore-level language classes, although other high school students are invited to attend, as well as teachers, counselors and parents.

This year we hope to once again offer the option of virtual attendance. Once we get a better idea of what the interest and expectation will be, we hope to create a virtual experience that will be enriching to high schools who are unable to attend the event in person.

We also hope to offer some new courses this year and we are always open to ideas, so please let us know if you have a suggestion for a new class on language or culture or if you would like to recommend a potential instructor. We are hoping to find an instructor to teach Hindi, Hebrew and a Native American language, since these subjects had to be dropped last year. We plan to offer a new panel class, which will focus on what college life and language study is like. Student ambassadors will lead the panel and allow high school students to ask questions that are relevant to them.

Interested in learning more? Read this summary of the 2011 event or visit the World Languages Day website.


Want proof of how much high school students enjoy World Languages Day?
This student, who attended the 2011 event, painted each of her fingernails as a different flag of the world!

Green Germany and World Languages Day: An Interview with Beth Kautz

Over the past year, a Green German project has sprouted and continues to grow. A four-person team, including a faculty member, an instructor, one undergraduate and one graduate student has developed course materials for 3xxx-level German courses, and learning modules for high school German classes.

In Spring 2012, Dr. Charlotte Melin will offer a new German-language course Contemporary Germany: Food, Energy, Politics, that students can use towards the completion of a Minor in Sustainability Studies as well as a Major or Minor in German.

kautzbeth.jpgBeth Kautz, Director of Language Instruction in GSD and liaison to the CLA Language Center, piloted some of this course content at World Languages Day (WLD) on May 17, 2011, with a short Green Germany class for high school students. German students from Lincoln High, in Thief River Falls, Minnesota attended this course virtually through AdobeConnect. The class was offered three times, and for two of the class periods, only virtual students attended but one class was a mix of 50% virtual students, and 50% in-person students (not from Lincoln).

By offering this course at WLD before the U of M credit-course is offered, Beth was able to acquire feedback from the students on their engagement with the material, as well as feedback on the effectiveness of the virtual course teaching methodology. The students' reactions to this course will be extremely beneficial for the continuing development of the Green German course curriculum.

I asked Beth to further explain the project, how planning and teaching a class virtually was different from teaching in a traditional classroom setting, and what she gained from this virtual teaching experience.

How did the idea for a class focused on the environment and sustainability develop?

There are three factors that came together. First of all, there was a personal interest on the part of Dr. Melin and myself in topics related to the environment and sustainability. Secondly, the topic is and has been very important culturally, politically and economically in Germany for decades. Finally, this type of course is a step toward offering more courses at the university that integrate foreign languages and cultures into various disciplines and content areas, a program known as FLAC (Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum).

How will a knowledge of the German language benefit those who wish to pursue a career in environmental science and sustainability studies

Germany is a world leader in research, development and use of renewable energies, including solar, wind and bio-mass power. There also are German architectural firms that consult all over the world on urban planning and design. Our students can help bring that knowledge to American companies and communities investing in green technologies and sustainability initiatives at the local, regional and national level.

How is the process of planning a virtual class different from planning a regular class?

By far the most difficult aspect is structuring opportunities to get feedback from the virtual participants. In a face-to-face classroom environment, I really heavily on visual cues and body language to gauge how well my students understand me or the task I have asked them to complete. When I see that students need help, I can walk over to them and address their concerns verbally with the support of gestures. In the virtual classroom, I made use of "polls," similar to a clicker-response system and group responses on the virtual whiteboard to get feedback from students.

How did you engage the virtual students, and insure that they didn't feel they were simply on the receiving end of a lecture?

In this virtual course, all the participants were together in one classroom in Thief River Falls along with their regular German teacher. I was the only one physically separated from the larger group. For several activities, I introduced a short video clip and discussion questions, which they then watched and discussed in small groups face-to-face in their classroom. After 10 minutes, we established contact again and they shared their insights with me and the whole group through a multiple-choice poll or written text on the group whiteboard.

What did you learn from this experience that will inform the development of the German credit course?

In the virtual class I taught, I used a variety of authentic German materials from the internet. These online materials are extremely helpful not only in explaining the basic concepts of sustainability, but also provide a very rich cultural context for exploring how concerns about food safety, the maintenance of nuclear power plants, the preservation of urban green-spaces, etc. play themselves out throughout society. As our project has progressed, we have continued to compile an extensive set of web links to videos, websites, images and interviews for 15 different learning modules. Through Title VI funding from CARLA, these materials also will be available to high school and university instructors throughout the country.

What piece of advice would you give an instructor interested in planning a virtual or hybrid class?

Keep your learning objectives at the forefront of your lesson planning. Ask yourself the same questions you would when planning any lesson: "What should students know or be able to do at the end of the lesson?" "How will I know that they learned it?" "What kind of support, information and instructions to students need before, during and after to successfully complete the task?" Then you need to think about which online tools best facilitate each of the those activities. In general, it requires more advance planning and preparation so that all the resources are available to students online and instructions are clearly understood without additional verbal explanation.

Thank you to Teran Pederson-Linn, recent CLA graduate and former Language Center staff member, for her work on this article.

For more information on World Languages Day, see this summary of the 2011 event.

World Languages Day Welcome Video News

Lindsey Lahr has produced alternate versions of the WLD welcome video at the request of Discover CLA.

A full-length video was re-cut to eliminate references to WLD, so that it could be used to promote language-learning at the U of M in general:

In addition, three short videos were produced that highlight unique language learning opportunities available at the university:

Living and Learning Communities:


Learning Abroad:

You can view the original video here:

World Languages Day Featured on This Week @Minnesota

World Languages Day (WLD) was featured in the last-week's issue of This Week @Minnesota. The report features great footage of Kenichi Tazawa's class, Origami: The Japanese Art of Paper Folding.

You can view the entire video of This Week @Minnesota video here. The WLD section begins after 40 seconds.

A small correction to the report: there were actually over a thousand students present on the day, but not thousands. However, if you look at the event cumulatively over the years, thousands is correct.

Minnesota Public Radio covered the story as well.

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.

World Languages Day (WLD) 2011 class list now online

WLD is scheduled for Tuesday, May 17, and we are expecting approximately 1000 Minnesota high school students, including approximately 70 virtual attendees. Registration will open in two weeks, and the class list is available at We are offering several new classes this year including Arabic Culture and Language: A Trip to Tunisia, An Easy Way to Learn Chinese Tones, Green Germany, Introduction to Icelandic, Latin Music, Dance and Food, and Fútbol is Played with the Feet!. A big thank you to all instructors who have agreed to teach this year!

Conversations in the Language Center: World Languages Day!


The Language Center is starting a new audio podcast series titled Conversations in the Language Center. We will be presenting and discussing a variety of topics revolving around the Language Center including technology in the foreign language curriculum, languages across the curriculum, opportunities for speaking languages with partners from other cultures, and initiatives of the Language Center highlighting center staff and programs.

Our first episode focuses on World Languages Day, which this year is May 18th. Listen to these conversations:

  • Stephanie Treat the World Languages Day Coordinator interviewed by Zhen Zou, Educational Specialist at the Language Center on WLD planning

  • Rick Treece, a past instructor on World Languages Day, talking with the Language Center's Technical Coordinator, Diane Rackowski

  • Teran Pederson, a current University student who is working on planning WLD this year and is a past student participant talking to the Language Center's IT Fellow, Lindsey Lahr

Stay tuned as Alyssa Ruesch tells us about the latest news and events at the Language Center. This podcast is hosted by the Language Center Director, Dan Soneson.

Download Episode 1 of LC Podcast - World Languages Day

World Languages Day: Step One on My Journey to Italy

In my high school French class, hearing English spoken by the instructor was an unmistakable sign of important news. Naturally, my studious tenth-grade self stopped packing up my materials and paid attention to the announcement. "We have been invited to attend World Languages Day at the University of Minnesota in a few weeks. This is a great opportunity for you all to not only experience languages other than French, but to earn a little bit of extra credit as well." These were the only words spoken in English we had heard in the past 55 minutes and, at least to me, some of the best spoken all day.

The opportunity to leave my humble town of 80,000 people to venture into Minneapolis was not something to be turned down. Little did I know that what I thought to be a chance to get out of town (and class) for a day would be the catalyst that helped me to realize experiences in life of which I wanted to be a part.

My initial introduction to the University of Minnesota left me in awe. My first memorable impression of the campus was of the giant "M" fused into the floor at the entrance to Coffman Union. I felt instantly connected to the campus due to the fact that the maroon and gold of the "M" were my high school's colors as well as the university's. After being formally welcomed by staff in the Great Hall, my classmates and I participated in a short tour of campus as we were guided to the Knoll area. I remember walking through the Mall staring up at Northrop and thinking how magnificent and collegiate it seemed. I was immediately intrigued. Once we reached our destination, majestic Folwell Hall, I knew that this was the university that I needed to attend. Solely based on my observations of the campus, I was fully convinced of the possibilities and opportunities the university offered before I even entered a classroom.

The classes I participated in throughout World Languages Day only solidified my interest in attending actual classes at the U of M. The language classes were fun, engaging, and different from any of the French classes I had taken at my high school. I was introduced to Latin playwrights, the Greek alphabet, and Italian greetings and phrases. Not only was I learning about the different languages, but I was introduced to the culture behind the languages as well. This was a welcome substitution for the usual grammar and vocabulary I would have otherwise been learning that day.

The Italian class had an especially significant impact on me and my college career. After applying and being accepted to the U, I was faced with the decision of choosing a foreign language to study. I recalled my time spent at World Languages Day and remembered how much fun I had had learning greetings, the correct pronunciation of gnocchi, and a few of the vast amount of hand gestures used by Italians. Having some background knowledge of the language from participating in World Languages Day helped me choose Italian to fulfill my foreign-language requirement.

Attending the Italian classes offered at the U has led me to pursue a minor in Italian in conjunction with my major in English and to study abroad for a summer in Lecce, Italy. All of these experiences which essentially resulted from attending World Languages Day are those which I will always remember and be influenced by. I believe that World Languages Day was one of the major deciding factors in my decision to attend the University of Minnesota and helped me realize the amazing opportunities learning a second language could open up.

World Languages Day, May 18, 2010

After the success of World Languages Day (WLD) 2009, the College of Liberal Arts Dean's Office and the WLD Planning Committee have decided to go forward with the seventh annual event. It is scheduled for Tuesday, May 18, 2010, the week after U of M classes end.

WLD is an opportunity for Minnesota high school students to explore some of the languages and cultures of the world and to experience life at the University of Minnesota. The event is intended for sophomore-level language classes, and all students in those classes may attend, even if they are not sophomores. Teachers, counselors and parents are also invited to attend.

Demand for the 2009 event far exceeded capacity, and we attracted the most diverse group of students in the event's history. The biggest change for 2010 is a more controlled registration process that we hope will result in even more geographic, linguistic, and cultural diversity.

We are in the early stages of planning, but some information is available at Information on the event, particularly for high school teachers and counselors will also be available via Twitter at

Please let me know if you have suggestions for the 2010 event or would like to be involved.

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