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Wednesday, Nov. 29
The Indiana Daily Student

academics & research

Center for Study of Global Change receives national award

The Center for the Study of Global Change at IU has a new trophy on its shelf — it has been awarded the 2014 Paul Simon Award for the Promotion of Language and International Studies, according to an IU press release Monday.

The title is awarded by the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

According to its website, the goal of the conference is to promote the study of world languages on all levels of instruction.

The Paul Simon Award is one of a handful of accolades offered by the Conference and was first established in 1982.

Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, for whom the award is named, was an advocate for international education and foreign learning, according to the release.  

The award is given out annually to a group or individual outside of the language teaching profession, and candidates must meet four criteria to be considered.

They must have “demonstrated leadership in the promotion of language learning and in the advancement of international understanding,” among several other requirements, according to the press release.

The Center for the Study of Global Change was picked as this year’s winner for its work with the Bridges: Children, Languages, World project, which is a program that offers exploratory language and culture classes to young learners in the Bloomington area.

“The central goal of Bridges is to ignite interest in learning about different languages and cultures and inspire children to pursue both with excitement and enthusiasm all their lives,” according to the project’s website.

The project puts an emphasis on young learners due to research that suggests learning world languages at an early age enhances linguistic ability overall.

Bridges underlines the teaching of languages including Arabic, Chinese, Mongolian, Russian and Zulu, according to the press release.

These Less-Commonly Taught Languages are known colloquially as LCTLs, and many of them have been pointed out by the U.S. State Department as Critical Needs

The language programs are taught by IU undergraduates who are studying these languages, which provides the older students with practical teaching experience as well as the opportunity to pass their linguistic knowledge on to a younger generation.

Larry Singell, executive dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, said in the release he was pleased the Center received this award. The Center does valuable work with language learning and international education, he said.

“The Global Center is expansive, offering a wide variety of academic programs, community outreach initiatives and professional development opportunities,” he said in the release.

“Its focus on interdisciplinary global studies creates a strong foundation for collaboration among departments and centers in the School of Global and International Studies and across campus.”

The Center aims to become a resource base on international issues as well as meet the needs of a wide variety of professionals, spanning from pre-K-12 teachers to government officials at local, state and national levels, the press release reads.

It is one of 11 federally funded Title VI area studies centers in the School of Global and International studies, which houses more Title VI centers than any other university in the country.

The Bridges program continues to teach around Bloomington.

Anicka Slachta

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