The Concordia Language Institute (CLI) is a collaborative program offered through Concordia’s department of world languages and cultures in partnership with Concordia Language Villages. This unique program gives students the opportunity to explore new languages interactively with others in a comfortable online learning environment.
The CLI was implemented because of Concordia’s and Concordia Language Villages’ strength and reputation in language teaching.
“We realized many colleges around the country are not able to offer the extensive options or the quality of courses we can, and we hope to continue expanding access to undergraduate students around the country,” said Rebecca Amundsen, executive director of Graduate and Continuing Studies. “Because we were already teaching courses online this last year, it seemed like the perfect time to expand our online course offerings.”
The CLI program is available for anyone. In addition to undergraduates, potential students could be adults who are just interested in language or organizations who need employees to study languages more intensely.
Additional languages and course options are in the works, including accelerated courses designed for specific industries and organizations.
“We encourage people to reach out if there is a specific language or need they are interested in,” Amundsen added.
This summer, Arabic, BCMS (Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian), Bulgarian, Chinese, Dakota, ELL, French, German, Korean, Ojibwe, Russian, and Spanish will be offered throughout the summer for undergraduate credit or as a non-credit option.
Dr. Gay Rawson, chair of the world languages and cultures department and professor of French, was excited to announce that both Dakota and Ojibwe would be offered at CLI.
“I am not sure how many other programs are teaching Indigenous languages, but it’s not enough,” Rawson said. “Speakers of Indigenous languages are dying every day. We must move quickly if we are going to save them. And, as these languages are Indigenous to what is now the United States, they are not spoken elsewhere. It is up to us.”
While courses are offered over a variety of dates and time periods, the current focus is on summer programming. The program may expand to year-round in the future.
Language courses are taught by experienced faculty from Concordia College and Concordia Language Villages. Faculty have backgrounds in multiple languages and varied educational experiences. They have traveled the world and been recognized for their excellence in world language instruction.
There is a critical need for people with knowledge of a second language. In addition to employers seeking global knowledge skills, there are many other reasons to learn another language – from increasing critical thinking skills to improving test scores to salary increases in certain jobs by as much as 20%.
The American Association of Colleges and Universities confirms that 96% of employers place a great degree of importance on areas such as intercultural skills and 55% believe global knowledge is important, yet only 20.7% of U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home and only a fraction comprehend a second language well enough to use professionally.
For more information about the institute, contact Rawson or Amundsen or view the CLI website.
“We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Rawson added. “By sharing our neighbors’ languages and cultures, we are living Concordia’s mission.”