About the Grant


The goal of the Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL) Partnership, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is to create sustainable models for language instruction. We hope to transform the way LCTLs have been traditionally taught by leveraging cutting edge research and advances in instructional technology so that more students, across more institutions, achieve at least intermediate high proficiency in more LCTLs. LCTL courses have historically faced a variety of economic, logistical, or personnel-related challenges. This project attempts to bring together language specialists in a variety of LCTLs to develop sustainable models for language instruction and is designed to provide the pedagogical flexibility needed to respond effectively to the context of teaching for a given language.

The grant is facilitated by the Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA) at Michigan State University on behalf of the Big Ten Academic Alliance (formerly the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, or CIC). The grant runs from September 2016 through August 2019. Each of these three years will have its own goals and foci, building toward the creation of a Manual, which will contain curriculum templates, checklists, webinar templates, best practices, and advice from the working groups on this project. This Manual can then be used for future development of LCTL courses and will support long-term sustainability of the initiative.

Yearly Plan

In the first year of the project, the goal for development is to create hybrid/online modules targeting advanced students for one selected LCTL and to offer workshops that focus on professional development and the sharing of best practices. Swahili was chosen as the language of initial focus based on input from our partner institutions.

In the second year, the models created in the first year will be used to begin development with a second LCTL, Hindi. Implementation and modification of the Swahili curriculum will continue, as will professional development.

In the third and final year of the grant, the models of years one and two will be tested with a third LCTL (to be determined with our partners).

      Project Year 1      Project Year 2      Project Year 3
Language 1 (Swahili)             X                X
Language 2 (Hindi)                X                 X
Language 3 (TBD)                 X


Click to read a press release about the project from the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State.

Click to read a commentary from Europe Now about the project, entitled “From Collaboration to Strategic Coordination: Creating LCTL Partnerships Across the Big 10 Academic Alliance.”