The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today the award of eight major grants totaling $3.07 million dollars, as part of the 2008 Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Language and Culture Project, sponsored by the National Security Education Program, on behalf of the Defense Language Office. This year’s recipients include Arizona State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Louisiana State University, North Georgia College and State University, Texas A&M University, The University of South Florida, The University of Utah, and The Virginia Military Institute.
The ROTC Language and Culture Project provides opportunities for ROTC Cadets and Midshipmen to study the languages and cultures of world regions critical to U.S. national security, and prepares them to respond to the global challenges of the 21st century. Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness David S. C. Chu emphasized that “increasing the number of less commonly taught languages in college curricula remains a challenge in which we are actively engaged. This is another program that will ensure our forces have language and cultural capabilities necessary for today’s global operations.”
Each university will offer something unique to the two-year-old program.
· Arizona State University’s Critical Languages Institute offers students Tadjik, Uzbek, Tatar, or Russian, and allows participants to travel to the region for cultural immersion.
· Georgia Institute of Technology will use grant funds to develop semester and year-long study abroad opportunities in Korea and the Middle East for students pursuing technical degrees.
· Louisiana State University offers Arabic and Chinese through their Global Studies Residential Hall with residential advisors who will also serve as language tutors, and will fully fund study abroad experiences for participants.
· North Georgia College and State University will develop a creative recruiting strategy to attract cadets and midshipmen from across the state to study Chinese.
· Texas A&M University offers study abroad scholarships and other opportunities for students to study Arabic and Chinese.
· The University of South Florida was selected to receive a planning award which will cover costs associated with aiding and building critical language programs.
· The University of Utah will offer participating ROTC students the option to choose from strategic languages including Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Persian, Hindu-Urdi and Pashto.
· The Virginia Military Institute plans to develop and staff supplementary writing, reading, and oral/aural centers to help their students gain proficiency in Arabic, and provide summer scholarship support for selected students with allotments targeted to science and engineering majors.
Each program will also benefit from association with the National Security Education Program–National Flagship Language Program and have access to successfully proven practices in language curriculum development. Last year a total of two million dollars was awarded to Indiana University, San Diego State University, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Texas-Austin.