Language in Motion program expands to schools across Oregon

by University Communications,

The Language in Motion program at Willamette University is expanding to three other sites in Oregon, thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.

The grant — to be shared by Willamette University, Lewis and Clark College, Pacific University and Linfield College — will fund language and cultural activities in area schools. It will also fund local and national professional development and networking opportunities.

“Through presentations that may include photos, games, language, music, food and stories, Language in Motion seeks to provide students and teachers a snapshot of the world, within their own classrooms,” says Nomi Pearce, who coordinates the LiM program at Willamette.

Willamette’s Language in Motion program began in 2007 through a sub grant from Juniata College. Through it, study-abroad returnees, international students and upper-level language students aid local teachers by creating and presenting languages and cultural activities in their classrooms.

In LiM’s first year, Willamette students gave 11 presentations; by 2010-11, the number increased to 105. The program was formerly administered by the Office of International Education and is now facilitated through the Division of Campus Life and Office of Community Learning.

Pearce says she’s grateful to Chris Andresen, associate director of international education, who played a major role in the establishment of LiM and the development of the AVD proposal.

“In the last six years, more than 400 presentations have been delivered and thousands of students have benefited from this program,” Pearce says. “As LiM transitions to community outreach programs, there will be continued emphasis on intercultural outreach with the addition of student leadership opportunities.”

At Willamette, the grant will fund the salary of the part-time LiM coordinator, transportation, teacher advisory committee stipends for class materials and training for student presenters.

Each LiM Northwest member has committed to sustaining the program beyond the period of the grant.

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, based in Jacksonville, Fla., funds private higher education, religion, secondary education, health care and public television.