Greetings from the Department of Modern and Classical Languages (MCL)!
This is an exciting time for language educators, with interest and enrollments in languages at an all-time high. According to the findings of a survey by the Modern Language Association, “Enrollments in languages other than English at US institutions of higher education have continued to grow over the past decade and are diversifying to include an increasingly broad range of language studies.” The newly-established Foreign Language Institute reflects a strong commitment on Missouri State’s part to be a leader in meeting the growing demand for instruction in certain less-commonly taught languages, and the department is taking other steps to provide the best possible language instruction to its students and the broader community.
What is the Foreign Language Institute?
On September 17, 2012, then-Interim President Clif Smart and his counterparts at Evangel University, Drury University, Southwest Baptist University, and Ozarks Technical Community College signed an agreement to create the Foreign Language Institute (FLI). This marked the culmination of several years of collaborative discussion and planning.
The FLI is a Missouri State-led partnership among five Springfield-area institutions of higher learning. Its purpose is to expand opportunities for students at all of the partner schools and in the broader community to learn languages, particularly those identified as critical or less commonly taught languages. Although most area schools are able to offer robust language programs in Spanish, French, and German, many cannot offer courses in other languages because of low enrollments or the lack of faculty resources. The FLI will allow the partner schools to combine students and to share instructional resources, such as faculty and facilities, thus saving money and making it possible to offer collaboratively many languages that could otherwise not be offered.
The classes will be held in the Jim D. Morris Center in downtown Springfield. The first offerings, in Italian and Portuguese, debuted this spring. Other languages to be offered by the Institute include Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Russian. Students from the partner schools will pay tuition to their home institutions to enroll in regular, three-credit classes. Members of the community interested in taking language courses on a non-credit basis may enroll in semester-long classes but will pay reduced fees. The Institute may also offer shorter, specialized courses, such as Spanish for medical or law enforcement professionals or travel-prep courses in various languages for groups preparing to study abroad.
The Institute will be jointly administered by MCL and the International Programs office and will also have an advisory board consisting of Missouri State personnel and members from the partner institutions and the community. You can find more information about the FLI at its new website.
There’s never been a better time to learn a language. So, what are you waiting for?