Forty years ago when Richard “Dick” Feldman arrived at Cornell, students learning a language had only a basement lab in Morrill Hall stocked with audio tapes to help them. When Feldman retires June 30, new director Angelika Kraemer will take the helm of a Language Resource Center bustling with technology, programs and resources.
“I’ve loved my position here,” said Feldman. “I think teaching and language learning is a fine human activity that brings out some of the best in the students and brings together some of the finest people to do it.”
Kraemer said: “I’m very excited to build on everything that is already in place. I’m looking forward to advancing programmatic efforts to bring more units together and to provide more resources for language learning and teaching at Cornell and hopefully also in the community.”
Kraemer said she is particularly impressed with the Jumpstart and Foreign Language Across Curriculum courses Feldman launched to expand language access at Cornell.
As executive associate director of the Center for Language Teaching Advancement at Michigan State University since 2013, Kraemer has sought to share what she calls the “transformative power of language,” such as the Language Advocacy Campaign. Kraemer brings to Cornell a familiarity with emerging technologies, space design, and new approaches to language teaching and learning she hopes will enrich language learning at Cornell.
LRC’s new space has allowed it to expand its programs with the move from Noyes Lodge to Stimson Hall. “We’re so central here now, close to students and teachers, that it’s very easy for students to drop in,” Feldman said. “During the spring semester we launched language conversation hours in 17 different languages. We couldn’t have done it in Noyes Lodge because students just wouldn’t have come.”
The LRC serves as the focal point for language teachers and language learning at Cornell. “One main thing I’ve done is bring in speakers to present the language field here, to keep teachers up to date and share their intellectual life with others doing the same work. Most of the leading people in the field have spoken at Cornell,” Feldman said.
Although Cornell offers more than 50 languages, Feldman worked to expand those offerings through an initiative with other colleges to teach less commonly taught languages through the Shared Course Initiative. Another LRC initiative is a recently launched podcast, Speaking of Language, that focuses on language learning and pedagogy.
Kraemer said she is looking forward to reaching out to those involved with languages across campus and listening to ideas and needs. “I feel people are really interested in collaborative efforts and in sharing ideas,” she said. “I’m very excited.”
Linda B. Glaser is a staff writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.