University News

Language Resource Center to reopen in SciLi

U. also seeks new director to lead initiatives, promote new technologies for language learning

Contributing Writer
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The new Language Resource Center will span half the Sciences Library’s sixth floor, where students will be able to work individually or with small groups. Resources will also be available for languages not taught at Brown.

A new space for the Language Resource Center will open on the sixth floor of the Sciences Library by March 1 as part of a six-floor renovation of the library, said Ercan Balci, director for the Center of Language Studies.

The new facility will provide a “flexible learning environment” and “cutting edge technology” for students studying languages. It will also provide technological support for language faculty members.

The new LRC will cover half of the sixth floor and include technologically advanced classrooms where students can work individually or in small groups, meeting rooms with access to computers and software and staff members available to assist students. The center will also share a recording studio with the Instructional Technology Group, which will be located on the same floor, as well as provide resources for students who wish to learn languages that Brown does not provide face-to-face instruction for, Balci said.

In addition, the University is looking to hire a new director for the LRC who will “lead Brown’s efforts to provide cutting edge technological resources and tools to foreign language teachers and learners,” Balci said. The new director, who will be hired by Jan. 1, 2016, will maintain close ties with the CLS in order to determine faculty needs and priorities and to inform faculty of new developments in language teaching and technology. He or she will be integral in designing and determining the type and quality of services provided by the LRC, he said.

Senior Lecturer in German Studies Jane Sokolosky is looking forward to the initiative’s focus on new technology. “As a teacher at Brown, it’s hard to know what’s out there because we’re so busy with our commitments with students and teaching.” She added that “having a person as the director of the LRC will help us to find what’s out there.”

The LRC was previously located on the second floor of the Center for Information and Technology, next door to the SciLi, Sokolosky said. The old LRC has not been in operation for approximately six or seven years, and a director has not been in place for about as long, she said, though she was unsure of the exact timeline. Faculty members from language departments pushed for it to be opened again, due to the growing technological needs of teaching.

New technology will include video conference services, providing a venue for virtual meetings with students in different countries, Balci said. The idea is to provide “authentic and meaningful conversation” using the languages students are learning.

There are about 2,500 graduate and undergraduate students learning languages at Brown, Sokolosky said.

Isabel Paolini ’19, a student from France who is studying Arabic, thinks the new LRC will be a great addition to the language programs at Brown. “We use technology every night.”

“The more you can do and be immersed in a language, the better you can be,” Paolini said, as she spoke about the helpful instructor, small class size and supportive community of her language class.

Sokolosky hopes the new center will provide a “comfortable and welcoming” environment that will bring solidarity to language learners around campus, allowing faculty members and students to “understand each other’s cultures better.”

“We have great language programs and our instructors are doing their best to provide the best possible instruction,” Balci said. The new LRC will further the CLS mission to “promote excellence in language teaching and language learning.”