Grant to Establish Undergraduate Russian Flagship Center

UW–MADISON NEWS (March 22, 2010) — The University of Wisconsin-Madison will continue to be a national leader in language learning with the recent award of nearly $1 million from the National Security Education Program to establish an undergraduate Russian Flagship Center.

The three-year grant will establish an innovative program to promote advanced language learning, giving undergraduate students of all majors a unique opportunity to achieve a professional level of proficiency in Russian.

The grant will support scholarships for Russian study abroad, expand contact hours and course offerings, and increase opportunities for on-campus Russian language use and exposure.

Students will also be able to take a yearlong capstone study abroad and internship program in St. Petersburg, Russia.

“The University of Wisconsin–Madison is proud of our strong and well-established Russian language, literature, and area studies programs and our support of less commonly taught languages,” says Karen Evans-Romaine, the center’s director. “The Russian Flagship Center will build further on an already solid foundation and help us prepare our students for lives as global professionals.”

According to Gilles Bousquet, dean of the Division of International Studies, “More and more, Russia is a significant player in national security, international relations, the global economy, the energy sector, the environment and our understanding of culture and history in the United States.”

“UW–Madison is already a national leader in foreign language education, with a demonstrated commitment to innovation in undergraduate language learning based on sound principles of how second languages are learned,” says Dianna Murphy, the center’s associate director. “We are excited about the opportunity to build on our strengths in foreign language education, research and outreach.”

The innovative center is a collaborative initiative in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature; the nationally recognized Language Institute; the Center for Russia, East Europe and Central Asia; and the doctoral program in second language acquisition. The Language Institute is an initiative of the College of Letters & Science, with substantial support of the Division of International Studies.

The Russian Flagship Center is the second flagship language program at UW–Madison, joining the African Languages Flagship Program directed by Antonia Schleicher. The language flagship program is an initiative of the National Security Education Program in the U.S. Department of Defense.