August 14, 2008
08-136

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

VSU Earns Fulbright Program Grant for Third Year

VALDOSTA - Valdosta State University was recently awarded a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant program grant for the third consecutive year.

Established in 1968, the FLTA program puts young, native-speaking teachers in the classroom to strengthen foreign language education, while providing the instructors with opportunities to refine teaching skills, improve their proficiency in English and broaden their experiences with American customs and culture. The native-speakers add a meaningful, cultural element to courses they teach and student life in general. They also benefit by engaging in non-degree studies.

The program, which connects scholars from over 45 countries, is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Institute of International Education.

According to Dr. Ivan Nikolov, director of International Programs at VSU, Fulbright pays the expenses for each teaching assistant, while VSU contributes a tuition waiver for each to enroll in two classes per semester. Nikolov said this a fair trade considering the three additional languages classes - Arabic, Chinese and Russian - at two difficulty levels VSU is now able to offer as well as the community enrichment activities the assistants participate in with local schools, churches and non-governmental organizations. The languages offered are all of critical importance for national security.

"We are extremely grateful to Dr. Ivan Nikolov and David Starling for beginning such an outstanding initiative, which enables the Department of Modern and Classical Languages to expand our courses beyond Euro-focused languages and to strengthen our Russian offerings," said Dr. Viki Soady, Head of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. "Through these grants, International Programs greatly improves campus awareness of, and preparation for, globalization."

VSU will host four scholars for the 2008-09 year, including Nesma Mohamed teaching Arabic, Qin Wang teaching Chinese and Alena Kirova teaching Russian. Each will also be enrolled in graduate classes, participate in national and community conferences and serve as resources for community outreach.

For more information about the FLTA program visit www.flta.fulbrightonline.org or contact International Programs at (229) 333-7410.