The national decline in the study of foreign languages is a cause for concern with implications for US National Security that depends on the preparation and training of the next generation of regional studies experts with proficiency in foreign languages. There are a growing number of universities across the country that are responding to this trend through the offering of Global Semesters to their first-year students.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program’s (UISFL) Global Classrooms Project at the University of Maine in Farmington (UMF) will jump start the development and revision of 11 existing courses that incorporate Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) approaches into the curriculum to provide an affordable and sustainable way to increase student interest in international and foreign language studies. By focusing on faculty training and support, curriculum (re-)development, and strengthening UMF’s international partnerships, the 2-year project will ensure that the project has a life beyond the grant.
Initial funding for student participation in the Global First Year Seminar Program (GFYS) courses will create the basis for marketing future offerings to incoming students and establish a basis for approaching potential donor support for student scholarships with continued funding guaranteed through UMF’s Global Education Fund.
MNA is excited to be evaluating the project.