LAWRENCE — The Institute for International Education has awarded $775,000 from the Department of Defense to the University of Kansas to provide critical language instruction to the military, making KU one of nine DoD Language Training Centers in the United States.
The award will allow KU to provide onsite language training to U.S. Army personnel assigned to the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth and to U.S. Marines stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. The award follows the three-year Project Global Officer DoD grant KU received in 2012, which funds scholarships for future military officers to study strategic languages and cultures at KU and abroad.
“This is very exciting news for the University of Kansas,” says Mike Denning, director of KU’s Office of Professional Military Graduate Education. “The significance of understanding languages and cultures for our military cannot be overstated. We are justifiably proud of the role we play providing that education to the Army and Marine Corps. This effort represents the hard work of our faculty and staff in building partnerships and educating the next generation of globally prepared military officers.”
KU instructors will travel the short distance to Fort Leavenworth to offer language maintenance courses in Arabic, French, German, Korean and Spanish to Army Special Forces officers. At Fort Leonard Wood, foundational language courses will be offered in French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. KU instructors will teach these courses using a blended learning model with onsite native speakers and online course instruction.
The director of KU’s Center for East Asian Studies, Associate Professor Megan Greene, is leading the Language Training Center program along with co-principal investigators Randy Masten of KU’s Office of Graduate Military Programs and Jonathan Perkins of the Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center. She noted that KU’s five federally funded area studies centers, its long tradition of educating experts in foreign languages and cultures, and its exceptionally strong departments of foreign languages made KU an attractive LTC site for the Defense Language and National Security Office (DLNSEO), which selected KU among nine other schools for funding in the 2013-2014 academic year.
“KU has a lot to offer in terms of the breadth and quality of our language programs, and we are very pleased to be able to extend our instruction in seven critical languages to members of the military,” Greene said.
Established in 2011, the Language Training Center program leverages the resources of the nation’s colleges and universities to provide customized training in strategic languages, cultures and area studies to meet the needs of the DoD. In recent years the DoD has identified a critical need to have more military personnel speak and understand critical languages including those being offered by KU’s LTC.