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Evangel joins with four local colleges and universities to form Foreign Language Institute

September 18, 2012 | Evangel University News

Evangel University is joining forces with the four other Springfield-area colleges and universities to collaborate on two major projects — one academic and one service-oriented —  that were announced on Monday, September 17, 2012.

“Standing in front of a banner reading ‘Together We Can Do More,’ the leaders of Evangel, Drury, Missouri State, Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) and Southwest Baptist in Bolivar, met with the media at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce to sign the agreements and make the plans public,” said Paul K. Logsdon, spokesman for Evangel.

“First was an agreement regarding creation of a Foreign Languages Institute, and second was the disclosure of plans to work together on an annual community service project,” he said. “This year that project will be Meals a Million, in November, sponsored by Friends Against Hunger.” (see story)

 Foreign Languages Institute meets regional demand

Missouri State University will establish the Foreign Languages Institute (FLI) at the Jim D. Morris Center in downtown Springfield. Students from the other four schools will have direct access to enroll in classes offered through the FLI.

By consolidating some of the language resources into one location, the institute will be able to offer more language options than any school would be able to offer individually.

“Beginning next year, this will greatly expand our student’s opportunities,” said Evangel President Robert H. Spence. “Evangel will, however, continue to offer French, Spanish, Greek and Hebrew with our faculty, on our campus.”

The first two new languages planned for the new institute are Portuguese and Italian. The institute will also offer additional sections of Chinese and Arabic for the universities who presently cannot offer those subjects.

Evangel Humanities faculty

Faculty and staff from the five schools were present as a show of support, including (from left) Jim Williams, Evangel’s vice president for Institutional Advancement; Jason Jolley, head of the Department of Modern & Classical Languages at MSU; Dr. Robert Turnbull professor of French at Evangel; Jennifer Morrison, coordinator of the TESL program at Evangel; and Dr. Nate Nelson, chair of the Department of Humanities at Evangel.

“Southwest Missouri continues to undergo dramatic change,” said MSU President Clifton M. Smart III. “Its population is growing, its economy expanding. Language education and training are crucial elements in MSU’s focus on public affairs and its efforts to increase cultural competence.”

During the announcement, the presidents recognized that as individual universities, it is hard to get classes of sufficient size — particularly in the less commonly taught languages — to be economical.

“We appreciate the opportunity for collaboration and are very pleased that our students will be able to engage in language studies beyond those which we are able to offer,” said President Spence. “The Foreign Languages Institute will benefit Evangel students in their business and church-related careers.”

The anticipated market for the Foreign Languages Institute will include traditional Missouri State students, other higher education institutions, regional and state businesses, government agencies, school districts, and nonprofit organizations.

“The creation of the Foreign Languages Institute will meet an increasing need in our area,” said OTC Chancellor Hal L. Higdon. “As we continue to grow, education in foreign languages and cultures will become crucial to doing business, engaging our community, and supporting southwest Missouri’s position in the state and national economy.”

Also present was SBU President C. Pat Taylor. Drury President Todd Parnell was represented by Dr. Charles Taylor, vice president for academic affairs.

TOP PHOTO CAPTION: Evangel President Robert H. Spence discusses ways in which the new Foreign Languages Institute will benefit Evangel students preparing for careers overseas. Looking on are MSU President Clifton M. Smart III, OTC Chancellor Hal L. Higdon and Drury Dean Charles Taylor. Also present was SBU President C. Pat Taylor.

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