The U.S. Department of Education has awarded more than $3.4 million in continuing funding for four programs in three Duke centers supporting international area studies and foreign language training. The grants are made possible by Title VI of the Higher Education Act and provide four years of support for activities.
Duke University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) and the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies, housed at the University of North Carolina, received a total of $1,080,000 to support their work as Title VI National Resource Centers.
National Resource Centers serve as hubs of teaching, scholarship and outreach focused on specific world areas. CLACS, together with its consortium partner at the University of North Carolina, has received continuous Title VI funding since 1991, making it one of the longest-running area studies centers in the country.
CLACS offers an undergraduate certificate in Latin American Studies, and connects Duke students and faculty members from across the university who share an interest in Latin America and the Caribbean. As part of its extensive outreach to K-12 schools in North Carolina, CLACS works with the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership to take public schoolteachers on learning trips to Mexico each summer.
Duke’s Slavic and East European Language Resource Center (SEELRC) was awarded $685,700 to support its mission of improving national capacity to teach and learn Slavic and Eurasian languages
“We focus on helping learners acquire advanced abilities in less commonly taught languages that are spoken in 34 different countries,” said Professor Edna Andrews, director of the SEELRC. “Our work includes language proficiency training and certification, teacher training, research on ways to improve language teaching and evaluation, and the development of web-based language instructional materials that are accessible at no cost to the K-12 and university communities.”
CLACS also received $1,680,000 to support Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships for graduate students specializing in languages including Haitian Creole, Portuguese and advanced Spanish.
“The FLAS program provides essential support for graduate students who are pursuing international research agendas and careers,” said Gilbert Merkx, director of international and area studies. “These funds help us recruit and develop outstanding globally minded scholars.”
Duke’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) closed earlier this year upon the retirement of its longtime director, Professor Arie Lewin. Overall appropriations for the Department of Education program were reduced this year and several other Title VI-funded Duke centers were not renewed. Faculty leaders are working with the university’s Office of Global Strategy and Programs to evaluate potential funding and organizational models for their continued operations.