Oct. 12th, 2016

SMC Awarded New U.S. Department of Education Grant

A new grant from the U.S. Department of Education will help Santa Monica College (SMC) expand its programs in foreign languages and cultures to give students the knowledge and skills they need for 21st-century careers and a competitive edge in the global marketplace.

The grant from the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Languages Program (UISFL) provides SMC with about $200,000 over the next two years as part of the program’s mission to “help strengthen the capacity and performance of American education in world languages, cultural understanding, and international studies.”

SMC was one of only 24 educational institutions in the nation to receive a UISFL grant in 2016, and the only college in California awarded one.

“Santa Monica College prides itself on a legacy of preparing students to thrive in the global community; this includes not just making sure that they are globally competitive in an economic context, but—even more importantly—that they understand the privilege and opportunity of living in an interconnected world,” said SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery. “This grant will help extend that legacy and open up exciting new avenues for so many of our students.”

Dr. Toni Trives, Chair of the SMC Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, added:

“The UISFL grant will be of great value to our students and to the community…the benefits of acquiring another language and a global perspective are invaluable when it comes to developing a career, competing for a job, or interacting with and contributing to the global community.”

A portion of the grant will be used to develop programs that integrate learning a new language with career development and a variety of hands-on experiences in both the classroom and the field. To achieve this, SMC’s Department of Modern Languages and Cultures plans to partner with the Career Technical Education (CTE) programs in Early Childhood Education, Business, Communication/Media Studies, and Nursing. The department also plans to collaborate with SMC’s Career Services Center to create opportunities for students studying Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, or Korean to participate in work-based or service learning projects where they can use their language skills.

“Employers from a cross-section of education, business, and government are expecting our graduates to be able to communicate and collaborate with peers in a global context,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. of the UISFL grants, which “help to achieve exactly that, by providing teachers, students, and our communities with the opportunities and resources for ensuring our nation’s capacity for global competitiveness.”

“The UISFL grant will help us better serve our students by offering them the opportunity to learn Spanish-language skills necessary for employment in a global marketplace,” said Dr. Maria Muñoz, Chair of SMC’s Communication and Media Studies Department. “Through extensive research, I found that many employers identified a great need for students to have training and practical experience in reading, writing, and speaking professional Spanish.”

The SMC Department of Modern Languages and Cultures offers programs that help students develop a global perspective and an appreciation of other cultural heritages through learning to understand, speak, read, and write in their choice of more than a dozen languages from around the world including Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Turkish, Spanish, and more. The department also offers a course that introduces students to the field of linguistics.

For additional information, please call the SMC Department of Modern Languages and Cultures at (310) 434-4248.