Languages across the Curriculum

Oberlin’s Languages Across the Curriculum Initiative (LxC) is based on a simple but significant objective: to broaden the engagement of language departments and foreign language learning with the wider campus

This is accomplished by encouraging the integration of work in languages other than English into courses whose subject matter touches on those areas of the world where such languages are spoken (e.g., Spanish in a course on Latin American Politics; French in a course on French history).

The initiative grew out of Oberlin’s 2005 Strategic Plan—which specified the internationalization of the curriculum as a key institutional priority—and ongoing discussions within the field of language pedagogy on a broader level.

LxC seeks to internationalize the curriculum by creating concrete opportunities for students and faculty to employ and improve their language skills meaningfully in a larger number of courses that are currently available to them.

A first LxC pilot was initiated in fall 2009. Students enrolled in Prof. Steve Volk’s 3-credit HIST 293 Dirty Wars and Democracy were given the opportunity to earn an extra credit by:

  1. attending a weekly discussion section conducted in Spanish,
  2. doing some writing in Spanish (through a discussion board or blog on Blackboard), and
  3. doing part of the course readings in Spanish; and
  4. using some Spanish-language sources for their research papers.

Almost half of the 35-student class signed up for the extra section.

In 2011, Oberlin received a New Directions Grant from the Mellon Foundation to fund an LxC curriculum development workshop. A dozen faculty from 10 different departments participated.

Oberlin College is part of the Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum Consortium (CLAC ).