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August 23, 2013
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine

Language Center offers global portal

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Slippery Rock University has launched its first Language Center to help students improve their foreign language skills and promote globalization.

Seungku "Steve" Park, a South Korean native with two doctorates, is the director. He started this semester.

Park's responsibilities include running the center, which is temporarily housed in his Strain Behavioral Science Building office, recruiting teachers, building international relationships with foreign intuitions and administering the English as a Second Language Program.

"The SRU Language Center is an educational institute for language teaching and learning," he said. "The English as a Second Language Program is especially important for many international students who want to study at SRU but need English language training. Also, the Language Center will offer many English courses for specific purposes - business English, non-native English speaking teacher practice courses and English camps for children."

"The center's short-term goal is to offer SRU international students an English language support program to help them to integrate into American academic and cultural life. The long-term goal is to expand programs to offer other foreign languages - Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Russian, Spanish, for example - to people in nearby areas, and help them understand the idea of "multiculturalism," he said.

"Globalization is essential, and it starts with 'the awareness of cultural diversity,'" he said. "By hosting the English as a Second Language Program in the Language Center, we will see more international people on campus and most of them will be, we hope, future SRU students. The language center's program aims to be SRU's portal to the world."

Park studied at Yale, received his first doctorate in linguistics at Sogang University in Korea and his second doctorate in English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

"I am really new and very excited," he said. "All American universities are seeking ways to globalize and their English as Second Language Programs on campus are the major part of globalization. I feel very excited about this position since I believe I can play an important role in SRU's strategic planning."

Ana Marie Caula, associate professor of modern languages and cultures and department chair, said the center will give more speaking and writing language support to international students and open English as a Second Language classes to international students.

"As the chair, I would love to see more activities and interaction between the international students and the American students taking languages," she said. "They can help each other with their language skills as well as learn from each other cultures."

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.