Employee Language Program Academic Year 2013-2014 Report

Program Overview

The WWU Employee Language Program is an initiative put forth by the President's Office to support Western faculty and staff through professional development and to encourage multicultural outreach and awareness. The workshops are the result of a combined effort by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, and Outreach and Continuing Education.

Program Objectives

The workshops will support Western faculty and staff with conversational language skills, through professional development and enrichment opportunities. The program will target and prioritize those in front-line positions with a need to learn a world language. For more information on the foundations of this program click here to view President Shepard’s 2012 Opening Convocation remarks.

Workshop Participants

For this academic year there have been a total of 280 registrations - 85 participants in the fall quarter workshops, 95 participants in the winter quarter workshops, and currently 100 participants are enrolled in the spring quarter workshops. Specific information and details related to enrollment can be found in the graphs below (highlight over a specific data point to see the enrollment for that quarter).

In winter the number of participants continuing with the program surpassed the number of new participants in the program. 273 individuals (unique head count) have enrolled in Employee Language Program workshops since the program began in winter 2013.

Participant enrollment is distributed across a variety of workshops, including Basic Spanish Conversation Level 1 and Level 2, Workshops in Spanish Conversation (including Culture and Conversation and Written and Oral Communication), and the Basic Chinese Language and Culture workshop (new for spring 2014). As we have observed an increase in enrollment in the higher level Spanish workshops, we see a decrease in the enrollment in the Level 1 workshop.

Workshops: Content and Curriculum

Each quarter, the curriculum coordinators and the program manager review the current quarter offerings and make determinations regarding which workshops to offer, how many facilitators will be needed, and how many participants to expect. Once this information has been tentatively established, a campus-wide e-mail is sent out to begin the registration process.

For a full explanation of the workshop levels and curriculum, please refer to the "Curriculum" section of this web page.

Fall 2013

In fall 2013, six unique workshops were offered:

  • 3 offerings of Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • 2 offerings of Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2
  • 1 offering of Spanish Written/Oral Communication Workshop, Level 1 (Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 3)

Participants of the Employee Language Program workshops were asked to complete a program evaluation at the end of the workshop. The information gathered in this survey is used to make decisions about future offerings and program curriculum. Workshop participants gave the workshop content positive reviews; on a scale from 1-5, 5 being “strongly agree” and 1 being “strongly disagree,” the average rating for the workshop content across the categories was 4.3.

Winter 2014

In winter 2014, eight unique workshops were offered:

  • 3 offerings of Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • 2 offerings of Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2
  • 1 offering of Spanish Written/Oral Communication Workshop, Level 1 (Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 3)
  • 1 offering of Spanish Written/Oral Communication Workshop, Level 2
  • 1 offering of Spanish Conversation and Culture

Participants of the Employee Language Program workshops were asked to complete a program evaluation at the end of the workshop. The information gathered in this survey is used to make decisions about future offerings and program curriculum. Workshop participants gave the workshop content positive reviews; on a scale from 1-5, 5 being “strongly agree” and 1 being “strongly disagree,” the average rating for the workshop content across the categories was 4.32.

Spring 2014

In spring 2014, nine unique workshops are offered:

  • 2 offerings of Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • 3 offerings of Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2
  • 1 offering of Spanish Written/Oral Communication Workshop, Level 1
  • 1 offering of Spanish Written/Oral Communication Workshop, Level 2
  • 1 offering of Spanish Conversation and Culture
  • 1 offering of Basic Chinese Language and Culture

Facilitators

Fall 2013

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages selected 13 students enrolled in upper-division Spanish courses to act as facilitators for the fall quarter programming. Fall quarter facilitators were:

  • Courtney Clifton, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • William Enriquez, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 3
  • Cecilia Guzman, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • Josh Johnson, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • Kristina Johnson, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • Bradley Mills, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2
  • Marilu Morgan, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2
  • Diane Perez, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 3
  • Erin Philbeck, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2
  • Nick Shriner, Spanish: Friday Conversation Session
  • Robert Stolzberg, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • Eldred Vidal, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2
  • Pauline Wiltz, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1

At the end of fall quarter, participants were asked to complete an evaluation of their experiences from the quarter. Workshop participants gave the facilitators positive reviews; on a scale from 1-5, 5 being “strongly agree” and 1 being “strongly disagree,” the average rating for the facilitators across the categories was 4.69.

To investigate a specific category, hover over each bar to see the full evaluation criteria and average rating.

Winter 2014

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages selected 14 students enrolled in upper-division Spanish courses to act as facilitators for the winter quarter programming. Winter quarter facilitators were:

  • Luis Ayllon de Mingo, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • Courtney Clifton, Spanish: Written/Oral Communication Workshop
  • Cecilia Guzman, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • Sara Hanson-Lynn, Spanish: Written/Oral Communication Workshop; Friday Conversation Session
  • Joshua Johnson, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • Kristina Johnson, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • Zoe Lowery, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2
  • Sarah Niklason, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • Diane Perez, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 3
  • Erin Philbeck, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2
  • Nick Shriner, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2
  • Robert Stolzberg, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 3
  • Eldred Vidal, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2
  • Pauline Wiltz, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1; Friday Conversation Session

At the end of winter quarter, participants were asked to complete an evaluation of their experiences from the quarter. Workshop participants gave the facilitators positive reviews; on a scale from 1-5, 5 being “strongly agree” and 1 being “strongly disagree,” the average rating for the facilitators across the categories was 4.56.

Spring 2014

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages selected 14 students enrolled in upper-division Spanish courses and one student enrolled in upper-division Chinese courses to act as facilitators for the spring quarter programming. Spring quarter facilitators are:

  • Giselle Alcantar Soto, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2
  • Luis Ayllon de Mingo, Spanish: Written/Oral Communication Workshop, Level 2
  • Brianna Backus, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • Courtney Clifton, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2
  • Sara Hanson-Lynn, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2; Friday Conversation Session
  • Jenny Ji, Chinese: Basic Language & Culture
  • Joshua Johnson, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2
  • Zoe Lowery, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • Sarah Niklason, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2
  • Diane Perez, Spanish: Conversation & Culture; Written/Oral Communication Workshop, Level 1
  • Erin Philbeck, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • Nick Shriner, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 1
  • Robert Stolzberg, Spanish: Written/Oral Communication Workshop, Level 2
  • Eldred Vidal, Spanish: Basic Spanish Conversation, Level 2
  • Pauline Wiltz, Spanish: Written/Oral Communication Workshop, Level 1

Narrative Reviews and Evaluations

The following are sample narrative reviews from the quarterly evaluations for fall and winter quarter programming.

Fall 2013

What do you especially like about this workshop?

"The student-instructors were excellent--enthusiastic, playful, knowledgeable, conscientious, very encouraging. They adapted their style and content very well to the interests and needs of the class members. The informal, non-judgmental atmosphere created by the instructors, with no exams or grades, minimizes "performance anxiety." I appreciated the opportunity to converse with other students at a level comparable to mine, and the opportunity to converse with instructors who are patient and able to listen and speak slowly, and correct gently."

"They taught the basics and make it easy to understand what they were speaking toward AND I can see the progress in my own language skills."

"I enjoy learning the new language even though it is extremely difficult for me. This quarter was especially good as the facilitators were very open to what we expressed we needed and then that is what we worked on. It was fun, it was interesting and it was a good experience for everyone that I know of. I believe it would be good for the facilitators of any workshop to ask up front what the students want to get out of the class, as these did. It really made a difference for me and I know it helped us to do the workshop bonding thing that is really important when one is feeling shy about speaking or acknowledging their ignorance about something. I'm very grateful to have this opportunity."

"I think it is a great opportunity for both students and staff. Students get the opportunity to teach adult learners and faculty and staff get the chance to see what it's like on the other side of the desk."

"I really liked how I could learn at my own pace. Because there was no homework or grades, there was no pressure to learn faster than I was really able to effectively pick up material. I was able to learn and retain the material, had a place to practice speaking, and had helpful teachers to address questions to. I also liked how it was an opportunity to meet other staff and faculty from WWU who I would otherwise not have any interaction with."

Please describe how this workshop has impacted your abilities in your current position:

"As a senior faculty member, the workshop reminded me of how it feels to be a student. I enjoyed discussing learning styles and pedagogical styles and techniques with the instructors and classmates. It was a refreshing break in my week."

"I am working with Spanish speaking organizations and need elementary (and more Spanish) as part of my research. I am excited about my Spanish speaking and writing skills growing."

"Two from our department took the class and it helped us forge a new connection. Also, flexing my Spanish muscles has helped keep them strong and was a great mental break from the usual. I think it is a great investment as far as promoting diversity, brain health, and connecting goes. Thanks to President Shepard for supporting this! Thanks to EESP for organizing it. I feel so much more confident interacting in Spanish, and look forward to the opportunity."

Other Comments, Suggestions, or Feedback?

"I think it is a great learning opportunity for everyone. Thanks for this opportunity."

"Please keep the program going. Working full time makes it difficult to study and practice as much as I would like but the ability to take the program over until I'm comfortable moving on has been great. I actually feel like I'm getting it and getting confident enough to try to talk with people I know who speak Spanish. I know if I keep at it I will improve. This is a wonderful opportunity."

"I would like to take the time to thank everyone who makes this program possible. Everyone I have spoken to who participated in the workshop thinks that it is a great success!"

Winter 2014

What do you especially like about this workshop?

"I enjoy meeting employees from other departments and getting to practice Spanish during the day. This program has provided me with a great foundation for Spanish grammar that has really helped me to direct my own learning outside of class."

"The facilitators this quarter are incredibly well-prepared yet flexible. They plan around the specific needs of the class!"

"I appreciate the opportunity to learn a new skill that I can apply both professionally and personally."

Please describe how this workshop has impacted your abilities in your current position:

"My ability to observe bilingual candidates, observe in bilingual programs, and to talk with potential bilingual students and their parents is improving! That's HUGE!"

"When needed, I feel much more comfortable in attempting to communicate in Spanish with students/parents."

"I feel like I can communicate on a basic level with Spanish speaking students and parents. It also has helped me in interactions with foreign exchange students. I better understand the difficulty of speaking a new language and how to speak slowly or change wording so someone can understand."

"I worked with exchange students from Chile and their faculty leader. This class gave me tools, skills, and confidence to communicate in Spanish!"

Other Comments, Suggestions, or Feedback?

"I appreciate that you are not giving up on this program. Realistically many of us will not be where we want to be in one, two, three, maybe four, five, six years! However, the learning continues to build and we are ALL better for the trying. Thank you for your patience!"

"Instructors were excellent, materials & lessons well organized & well sequenced; created environment conducive to class participation in a fun yet instructional manner."

Looking Forward

As the WWU Employee Language Program continues to grow, we are looking at expanding the offerings to include more languages, beginning with Basic Chinese Language and Culture in the spring. We are planning to offer Spanish workshops in summer quarter, offer Friday conversation sessions and joining with students from the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at events, when appropriate.

For spring quarter, we continued to offer extra-curricular events and programming and hosted the 2014 Employee Language Program Spring Symposium. Workshop facilitators engaged in scholarly activity, presenting their experiences at the IX Spanish Matters Colloquium, held at Western in April, and at the Scholars Week poster session as part of the WWU Scholars Week event schedule.

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