An Innovation Project

Chang­ing Course: Teach­ing African Lan­guages at UW-Madison in the 21st Century

Friday, October 12, 2012
4151 Grainger Hall
975 University Avenue
Madison, WI

Register by October 5 to attend lunch.

Download poster (pdf)

Download program (pdf)

See photos of symposium

Symposium Program

Attend all sessions or just drop in.

8:30-9:00am: Registration with coffee/tea

9:00-9:30 am: Welcome
Gary Sandefur, Dean, College of Letters & Science
Junko Mori, Director, Language Institute
Aliko Songolo, Chair, African Languages & Literature

9:30-10:15 am: Learning How to Learn Languages
John Mugane, Professor of the Practice of African Languages and Director of the African Language Program, Harvard University
Introduction: John Nimis, African Languages & Literature

10:15-10:30 am: Break

10:30-11:15 am: Lessons Learned: Coordinating African Languages During a Budget Crisis
Katrina Daly Thompson, Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics, University of California, Los Angeles
Introduction: Seth Ofori, African Languages & Literature

11:15-12:00 pm: Documenting Excellence Rather than Claiming Exceptionalism: The Foreign Language Profession’s Need to Redirect its Course
Elizabeth B. Bernhardt, Professor of German Studies and John Roberts Hale Director of the Stanford Language Center, Stanford University
Introduction: Samuel England, African Languages & Literature

12:00-1:00 pm: Lunch (Register by October 5 to attend lunch)

1:00-2:00 pm: Workshops with invited speakers

Elizabeth B. Bernhardt, Room 5121 Grainger Hall
Facilitator: Margaret Merrill, Second Language Acquisition

John Mugane, Room 4151 Grainger Hall
Facilitator: Sofia Samatar, African Languages & Literature

Katrina D. Thompson, Room 3111 Grainger Hall
Facilitator: Theresah Ennin, African Languages & Literature

2:00-2:45 pm: Reports on Workshops
Theresah Ennin, Margaret Merrill, and Sofia Samatar

2:45-3:00 pm: Break

3:00-4:00 pm: Panel discussion with UW-Madison faculty and academic staff
4151 Grainger Hall
Erlin Barnard, Languages & Cultures of Asia
Dustin Cowell, African Languages & Literature
Junko Mori (Panel chair), Language Institute
Dianna Murphy, Language Institute

4:00-4:20 pm: Open discussion

4:20-4:30 pm: Closing remarks
Junko Mori, Director, Language Institute
Aliko Songolo, Chair, African Languages & Literature

Despite the specificity of the title and the practical focus on the UW-Madison African languages program (the “case study”), the content of the symposium should be of interest to many language programs on campus.


Image of Elizabeth B. Bernhardt
Elizabeth B. Bernhardt. (Photo by Catherine Reiland/UW-Madison)

Elizabeth B. Bernhardt (Ph.D., University of Minnesota) is the John Roberts Hale Director of the Language Center and Professor of German Studies at Stanford University. She has spoken and written on second-language reading, teacher education, and policy and planning for foreign- and second-language programs. Her book, Reading Development in a Second Language (1991), earned her the Modern Language Association’s Mildenburger prize as well as the Edward Fry Award from the National Reading Conference as an outstanding contribution to literacy research. Professor Bernhardt’s latest book, Understanding Advanced Second Language Reading, (2011) has appeared with Routledge. UNESCO has recently published her pamphlet on teaching second-languages and her work is appearing in the Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education; Debating Issues in American Education; and in the International Encyclopedia of Education. She has published in the Modern Language Journal, Applied Linguistics, the ADFL Bulletin, Foreign Language Annals, and Reading Research Quarterly.

Image of John Mugane
John Mugane. Photo by Catherine Reiland/UW-Madison)

John Mugane (Ph.D., University of Arizona) is the Director of the African Language program and Professor of the Practice of African Languages and Cultures in the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. He is the author of Linguistic Description: Typology and Representation of African Languages in Trends in African Linguistics (Vol. 5, Africa World Press, 2003), Tujifunze Kiswahili (Aramati Digital Publications, 1999), and A Paradigmatic Grammar of Gikuyu, Stanford Monographs on African Languages (Will Leben (ed.), CSLI Publications, Stanford Univ., 1997). Among his other publications are papers on Bantu languages, linguistics, and instructional technology. Mugane’s research interests include Bantu linguistics, African languages, computer mediated language instruction, grammar documentation, and pedagogy.

Katrina Daly Thompson
Katrina Daly Thompson. (Photo by Catherine Reiland/UW-Madison)

Katrina Daly Thompson (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and African Languages at UCLA, where she is also affiliated with African Studies, the Center for the Study of Women, and the Interdepartmental Program in Islamic Studies. Her research uses critical discourse analysis to examine language, power, and identity in talk and texts from Zimbabwe and Tanzania, ranging from film to literature, from comics to hip hop, and from urban legends to ordinary conversations. Her secondary research, but main teaching area, concerns the teaching and learning of less commonly taught languages. Her book, Zimbabwe’s Cinematic Arts: Language, Power, Identity, will be published by Indiana University Press in December 2012, and she is currently co-editing a book about gender, sexuality and marriage on the Swahili Coast.

This symposium is sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison African Studies Program, the Department of African Languages and Literature, and the Language Institute.