Department of Linguistics
Updated June 24, 2006
The purpose of this document is to describe the mission, vision, program goals and strategies of
the Department of Linguistics as they relate to Vision Ohio.
Description of the Department
The Linguistics graduate program originated in the English Department, where its courses were
taught by faculty from English as well as in Modern Languages, Mathematics, Sociology-
Anthropology, and Hearing and Speech Sciences. The initiative to form a new Department of
Linguistics began in July 1967, which is the year that the Ohio Program of Intensive English
(OPIE) was formally established. OPIE provided financial support to Linguistics graduate
students who were hired as English-as-a-second-language (ESL) TAs, and this is where the
relationship between OPIE and Linguistics began. During the 1968-1969 academic year, Dean
George Klare of the College of Arts and Sciences conducted a survey to determine the need,
feasibility, and support for establishing a separate Department of Linguistics. The Dean’s final
report showed that a majority supported the creation of the new department. The report also
recommended that the new department be given responsibility not only for the Linguistics
program and OPIE, but also for the Asian and African languages. Dean Klare accepted the
majority’s recommendation and established the Department of Linguistics during the 1969-1970
academic year. In the 1970-1971 academic year, the department was given its own faculty, its
own budget, and its own space in Gordy Hall to begin full operations as an independent unit.
A great deal of growth has taken place in the department since 1970, including numerous
lucrative special projects in OPIE, the creation of graduate writing and oral communication
programs for OU’s international graduate students and TAs, the addition of a B.A. major in
Linguistics and a B.A. minor in Japanese, and the establishment of the Less Commonly Taught
Languages program. There have also been some setbacks, including Dean Jewett’s attempt to
discontinue the department due to a budget crisis in 1974, the department’s unsuccessful bid to
create a Ph.D. program in the mid 1980s, declining OPIE enrollments since their peak in 1980,
the department’s failure to renew its K-12 ESL endorsement program before it expired in 2003,
and the loss of faculty lines due to retirements. An additional important historical note is that in
December 1991, OPIE was temporarily separated from the Department of Linguistics by Dean
Ecklemann, but was reunited with the department by Dean Ogles in September, 2005.
The department currently has seventeen permanent full-time faculty members, seven of whom
are tenure-track. The tenure-track faculty have Ph.D. degrees in Linguistics and Anthropology
from major universities, including Boston University, Indiana University, Michigan State
University, UCLA, University of Colorado, University of Illinois, and USC. Their research
focuses on issues related to second language acquisition, language pedagogy, syntax, discourse
and pragmatics, psycholinguistics, dialectology and sociolinguistics, and cultural anthropology.
Two of the non-tenure-track faculty have Ph.D. degrees in Interpersonal Communication and
Instructional Technology, and the remainder of the non-tenure-track faculty have M.A. degrees
in Applied Linguistics and TESOL. All of the department’s non-tenure-track faculty are active in
research and scholarly activity related to computer-assisted language learning, second-language
writing, and materials development, and are active professionals in the TESOL, Ohio TESOL,
and UCIEP organizations.
The Department of Linguistics offers an M.A. major in Applied Linguistics and Language
Pedagogy, a B.A. major in General Linguistics, a B.A. minor in Linguistics with three areas of
concentration, a B.A. minor in Japanese Language, and a five-course module in Teaching
English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). The department also offers specialized
language training in English as a Second Language (ESL), Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian, and
Swahili, and also provides courses in a number of Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs)
through its collaboration with the Center for International Studies, the Department of Classics
and World Religions, and the Department of Modern Languages.
The department has a three-fold mission. First, we provide language training in ESL, Arabic,
Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Swahili, and a number of LCTLs that are supported through Title
VI funding. The department’s ESL offerings generate revenue, attract and help retain
international students at OU, offer outreach services to non-English speakers living in the
community (including spouses of international students and faculty), and prepare international
students for enhanced academic performance and future professional success. The department’s
core foreign-language offerings provide students with new language abilities, multicultural
experiences, opportunities to study abroad, and the ability to fulfill language requirements
necessary for graduation. Our LCTL offerings bring in government revenue, provide vital
interdisciplinary support to the Center for International Studies, and allow students to gain
cultural insights and linguistic skills that are critical to the U.S. government’s foreign diplomacy
The second part of the mission is to provide professional-level teacher training to both novice
and experienced teachers of the department’s core languages: English as a second or foreign
language, Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, and Swahili. Students in the teacher-training
program represent diverse backgrounds, and are recruited from around the world. The
department offers teacher-training modules at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and
provides extensive professional training in language pedagogy, computer-assisted language
instruction, and language assessment to its M.A. majors. Through global partnerships with
foreign institutions, our students also have opportunities to receive practical training as teachers
of English as a foreign language in authentic foreign settings. Students who successfully
complete our teacher-training program are competitive candidates for high-level language
teaching positions around the world.
The third part of the mission is to engage students and faculty in linguistic theory and empirical
research. The department’s stance is that language learners and language teachers are most
successful when they not only have practical experience but also a solid theoretical and empirical
understanding of the nature of language, the nature of language use, and the nature of language
acquisition. The department offers courses in several core areas of linguistic inquiry: phonology,
syntax, semantics and pragmatics, second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, historical
linguistics, and psycholinguistics. The faculty of the department are active researchers who
provide mentoring to their students. All B.A. and M.A. majors are required to complete a
rigorous empirical research project in an area of linguistics or applied linguistics in order to
graduate, and our students’ research projects are showcased during our annual Conference of the
Ohio University Linguistics Department (COULD), which has grown to include students and
faculty from other departments and other universities in Ohio. The department’s students who
are not interested in language teaching or other types of professional employment after
graduating are qualified for admission into advanced academic programs in linguistics and
The Department of Linguistics aims to refine each of the three areas of its mission by
concentrating its resources on the development of its strengths and areas of highest potential
growth and most positive impact. With respect to its language-training mission, the department
will actively and systematically recruit more rural students, who represent a sector of society that
has not traditionally had as many opportunities or incentives to learn foreign languages, to travel
abroad, or to have multicultural experiences. Additionally, the department’s ESL programs will
work more closely with various entities on campus in order to attract a larger number of high-
quality international undergraduate and graduate students to OU, to help prepare these students
for a more enriching experience at OU, and to provide ESL support to international faculty and
Regarding the teacher-training component of its mission, the department will enhance its
computer-assisted language learning (CALL) offerings, which have already brought the
department a good deal of international recognition. Within the next five years, in addition to
being recognized as one of the few M.A. language-teacher-training programs that offer and
require students to take CALL courses, we will gain the status of one of the top five CALL
programs in the nation in relation to the content of our CALL courses, the qualifications and
teaching effectiveness of our instructors, the technologies we make use of, the skills that our
students gain, the CALL projects that our students and faculty produce and present at national
and international conferences, and the leadership positions that our CALL faculty are nominated
for and hold in national and international CALL-related organizations. Another emphasis of the
department in relation to its teacher-training mission is to establish additional global partnerships
with foreign institutions where our students can receive supervised language-teaching experience
by graduates of our M.A. program. Within the next five years, we aim to establish such
partnerships with institutions in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Japan.
Concerning the component of the department’s mission that involves faculty and student
engagement in linguistic inquiry, the department will form a committee to promote and
coordinate the faculty’s continual procurement of external research funding and opportunities for
professional consulting. The department will also increase its financial support for student
conference presentations, and will provide incentives for faculty to work collaboratively with
both undergraduate and graduate students on their research in ways that result in student
conference presentations and publications. Finally, the department will enhance its annual
COULD research conference by promoting higher-quality and higher-profile student research, by
encouraging greater faculty participation from both within and outside our department, and by
bringing in higher-profile plenary speakers.
The purpose of this section is to detail how our departmental vision aligns with the goals of the
College of Arts and Sciences and Vision Ohio. The targets in all cases are for the next five
years—i.e., by Fall Quarter 2011.
Goal I: Provide Quality Instruction and Learning Experiences to Undergraduate Students
Strategy: Establish a common intellectual experience for all first-year students that leads to a
common set of fundamental intellectual skills. This includes the creation of an
inquiry-based core curriculum that serves as the foundation of the academic
Metric: Number of introductory 200-level linguistics courses that include inquiry-
Target: All introductory 200-level courses will include inquiry-based projects.
(Note: The department does not have any 100-level linguistics courses.)
Strategy: Offer a P-12 public school ESL licensure program that leads to an ESL teaching
Metric: Approval of our proposed licensure program by NCATE.
Target: Approval to begin offering the program in Fall 2007.
Metric: Student success rate in attaining an ESL license.
Target: 80% or higher success rate.
Strategy: Provide abundant opportunities for students to learn beyond the classroom and to
develop the ability to work collaboratively.
Metric: Number of undergraduate courses across the department that have
Target: 50% of undergraduate courses.
Strategy: Foster the acquisition of intercultural fluency in our ESL, foreign-language,
language and culture, bilingualism, second language acquisition, and
sociolinguistics courses and study-abroad programs.
Metric: Responses to new questions on our student course evaluations for these
Target: Positive responses from a majority of students about the intercultural
fluency they gained in all of the relevant courses.
Metric: Feedback from alumni who have intercultural and multicultural
experiences after graduation from our program.
Target: Positive feedback from a majority of alumni concerning how well our
program has prepared them to communicate with people whose cultural
backgrounds differ from their own.
Goal II: Provide Competitive Needs-Grounded Training to Graduate Students in
Languages, Language Pedagogy, and Applied Linguistics Research
Strategy: Support high-quality and distinctive graduate education programs that serve the
needs of the region, state, and nation. Support the development of programs and
policies that prepare graduate students for careers in academic and professional
Metric: Number of graduates from our M.A. program who are hired upon
graduation into public schools, institutions of higher education,
government agencies, and professional firms in the region, state, and
Target: 80% of students who do not continue their graduate education or seek
Strategy: Selectively invest in graduate education related to research and development as it
pertains to language acquisition and language pedagogy.
Metric: Percentage of our available foundation funds allocated to graduate
education related to research and development.
Strategy: Support growth in scholarly activity and research productivity that lead to increased
sponsored research, creative activity, and national prominence.
Metric: Number of students who receive research-related funding.
Target: 50% or more of our graduate students.
Metric: Percentage of our graduate students presenting at national/international
conferences and/or publishing their work in influential journals.
Target: 30% or more of our graduate students.
Goal III: Seek Quality and Promote Linguistic and Multicultural Diversity Among Our
Faculty, Staff, and Students
Strategy: Recruit and retain exceptional faculty and staff for creating and sustaining
preeminent programs of learning, engagement, research, creative activity, and
Metric: Faculty retention rate.
Target: 90% retention over the next five years (excluding retirements).
Strategy: Provide support to departments, faculty, and staff to develop nationally prominent
teachers, scholars, and researchers and to foster policies that support the
accomplishment of the academic mission.
Metric: Number of departments whose international students, TAs, staff, and
faculty take advantage of our English enhancement offerings.
Target: 80% of all departments that have international students, staff, and/or
Metric: Student course evaluations and feedback from departments concerning
the effects of our ESL training on their success in teaching, scholarly
activity, and research.
Target: 90% positive feedback.
Strategy: Establish and implement recruitment and hiring practices that lead to a diverse and
inclusive academic community.
Metric: Number of people from underrepresented groups who are invited to be
interviewed for open positions and to give guest lectures and plenary
addresses in our department.
Target: At least one interview per job search and at least one lecture or plenary
Metric: Percentage of students in our programs who are from underrepresented
Target: At least 50%.
Strategy: Recruit, support, develop, and retain academically talented undergraduate and
Metric: Percentage of students who place into the top 25% on scales of academic
talent, such as the SAT, GRE, and their class rankings from their
Target: At least 50%.
Strategy: Place recruitment emphasis on rural students—students who have traditionally been
among the least likely to learn foreign languages, travel abroad, and have
Metric: Percentages of our students in each program who are from rural areas
(i.e., farms or communities with fewer than 100,000 residents that are not
suburbs of larger municipalities).
Target: 10% of the students in all of our programs will be from rural areas.
Goal IV: Create a Unified Learning and Professional Environment Where Faculty and
Students Work Together to Solve Theoretical and Practical Problems
Strategy: Develop an inclusive, supportive, learning-centered research environment that
encourages all programs in the department to work both individually and
collaboratively to accomplish the department’s strategic plan.
Metric: Annual student exit interviews and faculty surveys concerning the
environment of the department and the department’s progress toward
achieving its strategic plan.
Target: 80% positive interview and survey results.
Strategy: Emphasize learning-centered and collaborative approaches to teaching and research,
and describe the department’s strategic plan during the department’s annual
orientation for new students, staff, and faculty.
Metric: Post-orientation survey on the effectiveness of the orientation.
Target: 80% positive responses to the survey.
Strategy: Develop and sustain an environment of engagement in which students, faculty,
staff, and alumni are supported and encouraged to participate in the solution of
community and regional problems related to Pre-K through grade 12 language
education, particularly as it pertains to English as a second language.
Metric: Percentage of our students and faculty who participate in the annual Ohio
TESOL conference and/or other seminars and symposia on P-12
Target: 50% of students and faculty.
Metric: Number of students who do TAships, internships, and student-teaching
practica in ESL and other language programs in the local public schools.
Target: At least 10 students per year.
Strategy: Develop an environment of inclusiveness in the department.
Metric: Exit interviews with students and annual surveys with faculty.
Target: 100% positive responses concerning the environment of inclusiveness in
Goal V: Infrastructure Goals
Strategy: Create and implement a space-utilization plan that reflects the priorities of the
college and the most efficient use of space in the department.
Metric: Exit interviews with students and annual surveys with faculty.
Target: 80% positive responses concerning the department’s use and allocation of
office, research, storage, and classroom space. Negative responses will be
evaluated by a space-utilization committee that will forward its
recommendations to the faculty.
Strategy: Procure and maintain technologies in the department’s offices, classrooms, and labs
that represent the latest advances in research (speech perception, computational
linguistics, corpus linguistics, statistical analysis) and instructional technology
hardware and software, with a special emphasis on CALL technologies.
Metric: Exit interviews with students and annual evaluation by the department’s
Target: 90% positive responses. Negative responses will be incorporated into the
technology committee’s recommendations.
Strategy: Establish a standing committee that coordinates the department’s efforts to achieve
its strategic plan.
Metric: Activity of the committee.
Target: Monthly meetings, each of which produces an action plan for the
Goal VI: Enhancing National Prominence Goals
Strategy: Use the department’s annual orientation, colloquia, and newsletters to encourage
faculty, staff, students, and alumni to apply for nationally competitive awards,
honors, and memberships in prestigious academies and societies that enhance the
national prominence of the department, college, and university.
Metric: Annual evaluation of our efforts to increase awards, honors, and
Target: Satisfactory rating by the internal evaluation committee.
Strategy: Publicize the research and scholarly accomplishments of the students and faculty of
the department through annual news releases, newsletters to alumni, and a
departmental research periodical sent to other departments in the field.
Metric: Annual evaluation of our communications efforts.
Target: Satisfactory rating by the internal evaluation committee.
Strategy: Encourage each faculty member who has a research/scholarly activity assignment to
increase in international acclaim in his or her particular area(s) of expertise.
Metric: Number of influential publications that have a broad international
Target: Each faculty member will publish at least one feature article in one of the
top 10% of journals in their respective areas of expertise within each two-
Metric: Number of invitations to give lectures and plenary addresses at other
universities and/or national/international conferences.
Target: Invitations received by at least two of our faculty per year.
Strategy: Develop and maintain a top-five rated Computer-Assisted Language Learning
(CALL) track within our B.A. and M.A. programs.
Metric: Exit interview data, alumni survey data, peer institution survey data.
Target: Over 50% of respondents will rank our CALL training as being among
the top five in North America.