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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 10, 2005

UI Conference To Explore Integrating Foreign Language Into Broad Curriculum

Students, teachers and business leaders who share the belief that the best preparation for working in a global economy includes in-depth cross-cultural awareness and language skills will find like-minded people with whom to share and discuss innovative ideas at a University of Iowa conference on the Language Across Cultures (LAC) movement Nov. 5 and 6. Hosted by University of Iowa International Programs, the conference will be held in the Iowa Memorial Union on the UI campus. Advance registration is requested by Friday, Oct. 21.

The conference will provide participants with an opportunity to examine ways to expand the role of language and culture education beyond the traditional foreign language curriculum, said conference organizer Diana Davies, adjunct assistant professor and director of UI International Programs.

Students, teachers, international education professionals and campus administrators will explore the use of language and culture as a tool for internationalizing the curriculum across all disciplines and grade levels, including elementary, secondary and collegiate. K-12 teachers and administrators are especially invited to participate in discussions regarding foreign language and culture education in the context of "No Child Left Behind" and other federal initiatives. Business leaders also are encouraged to attend to learn more about federally funded programs designed to support the development of sophisticated language and cultural skills among college graduates and discuss how these programs relate to the needs of business and industry today.

The LAC movement provides students with opportunities to use their foreign or second language in courses outside of traditional foreign language and literature courses. LAC programs have only begun to explore their potential for infusing cross-cultural skills into the curriculum, Davies said.

"Most programs have not emphasized cross-cultural skills, while employers of recent college graduates insist that their most urgent need is for employees who have general 'cultural awareness,'" she said.

H. Stephen Straight, a professor of anthropology and linguistics at Binghamton University--State University of New York, will give the luncheon keynote, from noon to 1.30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5. Straight is a linguist specializing in psycholinguistics -- the study of language comprehension, production, acquisition and use. He has studied French, German, Japanese, Yucatec Maya, Spanish and Romanian, performed fieldwork in Yucatan, and has lived in Romania. Since 1999, he has served as vice provost for undergraduate education at Binghamton University.

Registration is free for students and $16 for non-students. An additional $12 will be charged each day for lunch. The registration fee covers materials, continental breakfasts and an evening reception.

Visit http://intl-programs.uiowa.edu/projects/CLAC_info.htm for more information on the conference, or to register or download a registration form. To mail in your registration, submit a completed registration form, along with a check made out to "The University of Iowa," to Leslie Aktan, IP Projects Coordinator, 226 International Center, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242-1802.

The conference is funded by a UI International Programs Major Projects Grant and is held in collaboration with Binghamton University and ACE: American Council on Education.

For more information or to arrange for special accommodations, contact Leslie Aktan at 319-335-3862 or mailto:leslie-aktan@uiowa.edu.

UI International Programs consists of a number of offices, centers, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and the dean of International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and to promote global scholarship, research and training.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026, lois-gray@uiowa.edu; Program: Leslie Aktan, 319-335-3862, leslie-aktan@uiowa.edu