The Department of World Languages and Cultures has been awarded a three-year grant of $156,445.00 by the Department of Education to develop authentic multimedia instructional materials at the Intermediate and Advanced levels of Amharic, Swahili, and Wolof languages. The grant is part of the International Research and Studies program which aims to improve and strengthen instruction in modern foreign languages, area studies, and other international fields.
The project is led by Dr. Leonard Muaka who is the Interim Chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures. The project draws on the expertise of African language teachers, African linguists, pedagogists, local knowledge experts in Africa, and technologies to enable students to access digital materials wherever they are. It is hoped that the project will enhance virtual learning especially during these challenging times. The knowledge gained from working on this project will be replicated by the other languages in the department. The Department currently offers 16 languages and of these, 7 are African languages. Every year students who enroll in foreign languages are about 2800. About 700 of these students take African languages. The project will be conducted over a period of three years beginning July 1, 2021. Apart from Dr. Muaka, who is the PI of the project, other faculty who will help work on the project are Dr. Esther Lisanza (Swahili), Dr. Khady Diene (Wolof) and Professor Tafessework Gebeyehu (Amharic).