In order to promote diversity, multiculturalism, and to contribute to the further internationalization of our curricula and programs, Dr. Sedycias has devised and is in the process of implementing a program to raise the profile of the FLL Department on campus, in the city of Edwardsville and in southern Illinois, and internationally. This program consists of a three-pronged approach to developing and expanding the offerings in the FLL Department , especially in the field of foreign languages for the professions, both on campus and in study-abroad settings. Specifically, it is a program based on clearly defined market research that involves the following goals, some of which have already been accomplished:
Campus outreach initiative vis-à-vis other department and programs at SIUE. Geared especially to students in the professional schools at SIUE, this initiative aims to offer foreign language courses custom tailored to the professions to add additional value to majors in different areas and to enable our graduates to compete successfully in a globalized economy. Past experience has shown that when we combine a foreign language with a degree from a different academic area like business, nursing, pharmacy, construction, engineering, social work, or criminal justice, the end result is often tangible value added to an already valuable credential, which then becomes more marketable and profitable. This is a welcome and much needed skill because increasingly more college graduates are having to rely on the use of foreign languages and cultures to better meet their professional needs.
1. Critical Languages - After interfacing with other programs on campus to determine how best the FLL Department could add value to the training that their students are currently getting, in the fall of 2012 Dr. Sedycias established the Critical Languages Program at SIUE. Teaching critical or less commonly taught languages using a self-managed format, as per NASILP (National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs) guidelines, is arguably the most cost-effective form of instruction delivery for foreign languages at present. This program was established in order to meet the academic and professional needs of students who require this specialized training for business, scientific, diplomatic, military, national security, or geopolitical reasons. We are currently offering Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, and Turkish, and plan to add Farsi, Hindi, and Pashto in the near future.
2. Community outreach program with Latino / Hispanic enclaves in southern Illinois and the St. Louis metro area in order to increase the number of Latino / Hispanic students on campus. Dr. Sedycias is currently working to establish at SIUE a community outreach program similar to the one he was able to conceive and successfully implement at Essex County College in Newark, NJ, from 2006 to 2011. To that end, he has reached out to the school districts in the area with large Latino / Hispanic student populations such as Caseyville, Collinsville, and Fairmont City, and has already been able to establish long-range working partnerships with some of these schools.
3. International community outreach program partnering with institutions of higher learning in BRIC countries, especially China and Brazil. On behalf of his department, Dr. Sedycias has made contacts with the objective of developing exchange programs with universities in these countries in order to increase the number of visiting or exchange students and faculty at SIUE, thus contributing to the internationalization of our curricula and programs. He is pursuing this initiative in order to take advantage of the auspicious economic moment that countries such as China and Brazil are currently enjoying, where their federal governments have been actively financing and encouraging their citizens to participate in study-abroad programs. Dr. Sedycias traveled twice to South America in AY 2011-2012, and was able to negotiate the terms of a student and faculty exchange agreement between SIUE and the Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil. The final document was signed by the chancellor of SIUE in April 2012.