The nature of academic training and the needs of academic research and travel mean that many scholars develop some abilities in many different languages outside of their core research or teaching focus. These language abilities then sit idle because of a lack of opportunity, or sit on a back burner because of a lack of pressure to keep them active.
Starting this Fall, the Fries Center for Global Studies aims to provide faculty and staff with opportunities to improve or keep some of these language abilities active by supporting a low-pressure reading and conversation groups that meet once a week through the academic semester.
We hope these collaborations will strengthen connections between Wesleyan and educational institutions in other countries, make faculty more likely to pursue and maintain their own international connections and collaborations (by keeping their language abilities active), and provide a model for students of the value of a lifelong commitment to pursuing intellectual and cultural connections across the globe.
For the 2021-2022 academic year we will pilot this with one language group, in German, and hope to expand to other languages in the future.