Shared Solutions for Common Problems

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2016 Conference Plenary Speakers

Mohamed Abdel-Kader Theme: LCTLs and Global Competency in the 21st Century

ABSTRACT: The 21st century brings with it a multitude of opportunities for people around the world to engage, but they must have the global competency and linguistic ability to understand the challenges ahead and solve the world’s most pressing issues.

Short Bio: Mohamed Abdel-Kader is the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE) Office at the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE). As Deputy Assistant Secretary of IFLE, Mohamed is responsible for encouraging and promoting the study of foreign languages and the study of the cultures of other countries at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels in the United States; and coordinates with related international and foreign language education programs of other Federal agencies, as established in the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act. He leads the work of IFLE in administering the domestic programs authorized under Title VI of the Higher Education Act and those overseas programs under the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange (Fulbright-Hays) Act administered by ED. Prior to joining ED, Mohamed served as the Director of Development for the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and also managed the university’s advancement strategy in the Middle East region, where he focused on major gifts and strategic engagement. Previously, while at George Mason University, Mohamed led donor development efforts for the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study and set international strategy for partnerships in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa. He has advised a variety of clients on organizational strategy, doing business in emerging markets, intercultural communication, and cultural competency in international philanthropy. Additionally, he has advised organizations on strengthening fundraising operations domestically and abroad. Mohamed speaks fluent Arabic and basic Spanish. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Clemson University, a Master’s degree in Higher Education from Vanderbilt University, and an MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.


Theme: Enhancing Language Learning through Collaboration 

ABSTRACT: The plenary session will address a number of key collaborative efforts across academe, government, and the private sector to promote research and development in the areas of pedagogy and technology such as those by the New Media Consortium, an organization dedicated to exploring the use of new media for teaching, learning, and creative inquiry composed of hardware manufacturers, software developers, and publishers who work with academe to promote the use of the latest multimedia-capable products. Select examples of joint initiatives across the three sectors will be examined:  The work between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lincoln Labs and the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center to produce state-of-the art online language learning tools; government-sponsored summits that bring together academicians, contractors, and government personnel to define and examine the latest challenges in language learning like those organized by the Defense Language National Security and Education Office; Department of Defense (DoD) university-affiliated research centers like the Center for the Advanced Study of Language; joint committees such as the American Society for Testing and Materials Committee F43 on Language Services and Products that has over 100 members from government, academe, and business; the government-funded Flagship Program at universities; work done by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and academicians towards creating a broad forum that includes the intelligence community, DoD, and academe for sharing ideas on advancing LCTL solutions, plans to create a central repository for LCTL materials accessible to all, and more.  Also reviewed in the plenary will be a sampling of government-produced online language learning tools available to the general public for use in today’s learning space, where autonomous learners access content anytime, anywhere.

Short Bio: Christine M. Campbell (Ph.D. Foreign Language Education, Purdue University, 1986) has worked in Language Education for over 30 years managing language and assessment programs and teaching world languages—Spanish, French, and ESL.  She began her career at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center as Spanish faculty before becoming Test Project Director, Dean, Assistant Provost, and Associate Provost.

Her publications have focused on language assessment, language anxiety, and technology. Author and co-author of The Modern Language Journal (MLJ) column "In Other Professional Journals" (1987-2008), she is a member of the Editorial Boards of Applied Language Learning (ALL), Dialog on Language Instruction (DLI), and Innovating Language Education: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief, which was commissioned by the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center (LFTIC) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.  She has reviewed for the MLJ, Hispania, and Language and Linguistics Compass.

She has provided service to the profession as President, American Association of the Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese and as Director of Test Development, National Spanish Examinations, an assessment taken by 70,000 high school students annually under her administration. She was a member, Board of Governors, UC Consortium for Language Learning and Teaching, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She won the Civilian of the Year Award for the Ninth Region from the Association of the United States Army in 1996. She was named Distinguished Alumna by Purdue University in 1994.


Theme: Leadership and the Language Profession

ABSTRACT: Support for language education is all around us: the American Academy of Arts & Sciences national Commission on Language Education; states taking action on the Seal of Biliteracy and “credit for competence”; businesses demanding “global talent”; Hill members again openly concerned about language. Yet, enrollments seem not to be responding. 

Commissions can recommend, foundations and government may fund, industry will support, but who is to lead? Who else but the language profession itself? We must strengthen our organizations and they must mobilize this new energy towards one goal: to make language education in this country available to all. And our organizations must do it together, in a manner that is cohesive, comprehensive and collaborative. 

Now is the time for the profession to position itself to respond to the recommendations of the AAAS commission and to take the lead in proactive implementation. First, the mindset has to be one of responsibility and accountability: we are not waiting for others to lead. Second, each language organization should look to build or strengthen its structure and functions, to make sure that its constituencies (teachers and students) are receiving the full range of services they deserve and that their members are motivated to act, optimistically.  Third, organizations should conceive of themselves as part of a whole, the language profession, not “commonly” vs. “less commonly,” or K-12 vs. higher education, or any such like.  Fourth, the language education sector should reach out to government, industry, NGO and heritage communities in a common effort:  the “Language Enterprise.”  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, organizations should nurture new generations of leaders, as any successful effort to make language an integral part of every child’s education in the US will take years of focused and unrelenting effort.

Short Bio: Richard Brecht, Harvard University Ph.D. brings with him five decades of leadership in language research and policy on behalf of education, government, heritage communities, private business and NGOs.  He has been a founder and leader of more than a dozen national language organizations and projects, including ACTR, ACIE, NFLC, NCOLCTL, CASL, and ARC.  He has convened major public discussions on language in the United States that have galvanized collaboration across education, industry, government, heritage communities and foreign partners. Dr. Brecht has testified in Congress before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor, the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, and the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Currently, Dr. Brecht is co-founder of Global Professional Search LLC, the goal of which is to facilitate employment for language students. He has recently authored one of the white papers for the AAAS Commission on Language education: “America’s Languages:  Promise and Challenges.”


THEME: Building Your Core: Effective Practices for Language Learners and Educators

ABSTRACT: What’s at the core of effective language learning?  Educators using research-informed practices develop language proficiency plus literacy and critical thinking skills. Learners demonstrating real applications of language become a program’s strongest advocacy.  Unwrap what’s behind teacher efficacy and empowerment; experience and identify core practices for effective learning.  Framed by research on teacher recruitment and retention and informed by program realities, tap ACTFL’s numerous resources and ongoing networks supporting language educators.

Short Bio:Pete Swanson is Associate Professor of Foreign Language Education at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He serves as Coordinator of K–12 Foreign Language Education and as Director of Graduate Studies. Swanson teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses focused on K–12 methodology, technology integration, assessment, and research in second/foreign language. Swanson is active in both higher education and pre-K–12 schools. He is a frequent presenter at state, regional, national, and international conferences. He has published in numerous journals, including Foreign Language Annals, Hispania, and The Canadian Modern Language Review. His research focuses on identifying the characteristics of highly efficacious teachers and integrating digital technology into instruction and assessment. In his book, Identifying and Recruiting Language Teachers: A Research-Based Approach, he advances an innovative approach to building a strong workforce of language educators. Swanson bridges all levels of language educators by serving on state and regional organization’s boards such as the Georgia chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP–GA) and the Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT). He serves as co-chair of the teacher education special interest group for the Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium. He was the recipient of the AATSP–GA University Professor of the Year Award in 2013, Foreign Language Association of Georgia (FLAG) Post-Secondary Leadership in Foreign Languages Award in 2010, and the Arch Coal Wyoming Teacher Achievement Award in 2001. Swanson has served as co-chair of the ACTFL-NFMLTA/MLJ Emma Marie Birkmaier Award and the national ACTFL/CAEP Audit Team.


THEME: The National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) E-Learning Portal

ABSTRACT: Over the past decade, the National Foreign Language Center has produced over 13,200 learning objects, video learning objects, and assessment objects in 94 languages and dialects. It has also produced full-length courses and job aids, on topics as varied as translation, ILR-level passage rating, and Arabic variants identification. Because of this rich and varied content, the NFLC decided to create a web-based portal that houses the majority of this material. The purpose of this presentation is to illustrate the nature and variety of these materials, as well as the benefits for individual, groups, and learning managers. These materials that were previously unavailable to the public are now available through the NFLC E-LEARNING PORTAL.

Short Bio:Bryan Anderson is Director of Art & Media Production at the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland, serving in this capacity since 2004. Mr. Anderson manages all audio and video production for the NFLC, as well as overseeing user interface design and web technologies. His extensive background as an audio engineer, video producer, and successful Internet entrepreneur give him a unique set of skills that inform much of the work of the NFLC. In addition to his technical skills, Mr. Anderson is a classically trained musician and spent years as a performer, arranger, orchestrator, and producer. His musical talents have been heard in places as diverse as Los Angeles, Miami, London, and Nashville, and he has provided musical services to Hal Leonard Publishing, Roland Corporation, and the Disney Corporation. Bryan holds a B.A. in Music Theory from Azusa Pacific University, with additional studies in computer science.