The Department of Defense announced today the award of four grants totaling $2 million to Indiana University, San Diego State University, the University of Mississippi and the University of Texas at Austin as part of the new Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Language and Culture Project.
“The department’s goal is to expose ROTC cadets and midshipmen to the study of languages and cultures of the world critical to national security,” said David S.C. Chu, under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness. “Through this innovative effort we hope ROTC cadets and midshipmen will have the opportunity to learn a foreign language which will prepare them for future duties as commissioned officers.”
Aspart of this project, Indiana Universitywill offer scholarships for study at their prestigious summer institute in languages including: Arabic, Russian, Azeri, Kazakh, Pashto, Tajik, Turkmen, Uyghur and Uzbek. San Diego StateUniversity plans to re-shape their military science minor while drawing on the resources of the community around them to teach different dialects of Arabic as well as Farsi and Russian. TheUniversity of Mississippi will offer opportunites for study of Chinese including summers of study abroad. The University of Texas at Austin will invest in material and curriculum to expand their programs in Arabic and Farsi.
While the scope and approaches of the projects differ, additional components include study abroad opportunities and scholarships, distance learning and other technology, and additional tutoring and mentoring. The project’s aim is to increase cadet exposure to and study of critical languages as well as to enhance language proficiency and cultural awareness and expertise.
The ROTC project is overseen for DoD by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), which has a distinguished track record in partnering with U.S. higher education to enhance opportunities for students to learn critical languages. NSEP oversees the National Flagship Language Program and all participants in the ROTC effort will have access to curriculum and best practices from flagship universities.