Mission

At Oberlin, we believe that thinking globally is the keystone of a liberal arts education. The Center for Languages and Cultures is dedicated to strengthening the college as an international institution by:

  • encouraging the study, teaching, and research of languages and cultures among students, faculty and staff;
  • collaborating with the Paul and Edith Cooper International Learning Center to provide language-learning resources to students and faculty;
  • supporting collaboration on international topics among departments and programs across campus;
  • helping language and area studies faculty explore new teaching and research directions;
  • encouraging faculty who are not international specialists to broaden their expertise to include global or comparative approaches;
  • helping students understand connections across world regions, time periods, and disciplines;
  • integrating the use of languages other than English in courses across the curriculum;
  • increasing the number of students who spend time abroad as part of their study;
  • extending Oberlin’s connections with academic institutions abroad; and
  • sponsoring community events of international and intercultural interest.

Administrative Structure

  • OCLC has a director who is supported by a Steering Committee consisting of 8-10 faculty and staff.
  • OCLC’s list of affiliated faculty will include most of Oberlin’s faculty.
  • OCLC Steering Committee appoints subcommittees where appropriate (e.g., language pedagogy).
  • The director of the Cooper International Learning Center is a member of the Steering Committee and collaborates with the OCLC director .

History

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a grant of $950,000 to Oberlin in fall 2011 to strengthen international humanities teaching and research through the creation of a Center for the Study of Foreign Languages and International Cultures. The challenges facing the world today are inherently global, making knowledge of other cultures—their languages, histories, beliefs, political and social structures, and values—essential for informed citizenship in the 21st century. Climate change, national security, human rights, food security, finance and trade all require approaches and solutions that recognize not only local conditions but also the complex ways in which these issues span borders, cultures, and continents.

The center will play a critical role in meeting the college’s strategic goal of “internationalizing” Oberlin by providing an ongoing source of support for faculty development, curriculum development, and humanities programming essential to sustaining a current and vital international curriculum.

The grant from the Mellon Foundation includes a challenge grant of $500,000 that must be matched by $1.5 million in new gifts through the 2015-16 year, to create a $2 million endowment to support the center’s faculty and curriculum development activities, international programming, and staffing. To launch the center while fundraising for the match is under way, the Mellon Foundation also awarded the college $450,000 in current-use funds to begin activities of the center in 2012–13.

Services

  • Website and databases 
  • Direct programming 
  • Cosponsor programming and distribution of programming funds 
  • Distribution of curriculum development funds 
  • Student and faculty workshops, 
  • Resource center for students and faculty interested in teaching, learning, or studying world languages via Cooper International Learning Center