2020-21 Cluster Events

2020-21 Cluster Events: Global Literacy and Languages for Specific Purposes

Friday, October 2: "New Directions in LSP Research"

Below is the recording of the meeting, during which we discussed the chapter of Language for Specific Purposes: Trends in Curriculum Development (2017) on “New Directions in LSP Research.”

Monday, November 9 “Developing Intercultural Competence”: 

Below is the recording of the meeting, during which we discussed the chapter of Language for Specific Purposes: Trends in Curriculum Development (2017) on “Developing Intercultural Competence.” We were  joined by SMU alum, Dr. Edward Pita, president and CEO of PSI, Inc., a company that specializes in foreign language training for small- and medium-sized businesses.


Edward Pita profile imageDr. Edward Pita holds undergraduate and M.A. degrees in Spanish (SMU class of 1960, 1962), an M.B.A. (U.T. Austin), and an Ed.D (University of Houston). He maintains that the traditional Spanish curriculum is insufficient for many of today’s undergraduate students, who would benefit from learning to apply their language and communication skills to their future professions. He notes, “The main reason and only reason that I switched from the Ph.D. in Spanish to an M.B.A. was because of the low pay as a teacher vs. the high pay as a multi-language executive, which I did for 34 years. I suspect that the Dallas market for second language learners in English or Spanish and other languages is very high.” Dr. Pita’s first Accounting professor at U.T. told him: “When you finish this year with me, you will be able to run a business anywhere, including the moon.” It was true – Dr. Pita went on to become the President and CEO of PSI, Incorporated, where he has developed language training courses in English, Spanish, and Portuguese for small- and medium-size businesses. During the first thirty minutes of our cluster meeting on November 9, Dr. Pita will share his personal and academic trajectory, from studying Spanish at SMU to becoming the CEO of a company founded on the fundamental belief that Languages for Specific Purposes is a vital and essential discipline. In preparation for his short talk, Dr. Pita has also generously shared some written reflections on his experiences as a sixth grader in 1949-1950 Havana, Cuba. Read reflections.


Friday, February 26, 2021 “Educators as Career Counselors”

Chapter 8 of Languages for Specific Purposes addresses a common problem in today's higher education landscape: faculty often bear the "invisible workload" of serving as informal career educators. Our February meeting focused on how to "make these efforts economical" while also complementing the work of campus career offices and helping students to integrate their career paths with their current studies.  Download the chapter of Language for Specific Purposes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021 Guest speaker, Mary K. Long, editor of Language for Specific Purposes

Professor Mary K. Long discussed national trends in higher education curricula and how SMU might turn the challenges of introducing a new common curriculum amid the yet unknown effects of the COVID-19 pandemic into an opportunity to strengthen ties within our campus, reinforce our commitment to shaping world changers in the global community, and produce graduates with increased intercultural competence and international experience in a range of possible future professions. 

Mary K. Long, PhD

Mary K. Long, PhD (Princeton University, 1995) is Director of the Spanish for the Professions Major, course coordinator and Senior Instructor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, CU Boulder where she has worked since 1997. Her research focuses on cross-cultural communication and exchange between Latin America and the United States, globalization and cultural identity, ethics in relation to international professional exchanges, and 20-21st Century Mexican literature and culture. She is the editor of Language for Specific Purposes: Trends in Curriculum Development (Georgetown UP, 2017) And has co-edited two other volumes: Teaching Gender through Latin American, Latino and Iberian Texts and Cultures (Sense Publishing, 2015) and Mexico Reading the United States (Vanderbilt UP, 2009). Her articles have appeared in a variety of journals and volumes published by AATSP/Thomson, the Edwin Mellon Press, SUNY, Routledge, and the Fondo de Cultura Económica (México). She presents regularly at a variety of conferences and has lead workshops in approaches to Language for Specific Purposes. She is one of the faculty coordinators for the bi-annual International Symposium on Languages for Specific Purposes (ISLSP)/CIBER Business Language Conference. She is a member of the Modern Language Association of America, American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages, the Latin American Studies Association and the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. She serves on the CU CIBER Advisory Council. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Long has taught courses in Latin American Literature and Culture, Spanish for international business, Spanish for environmental and sustainable issues, Spanish for health professions, Spanish for 21st Century Media, and courses in applied translation for professional settings.

May 12-27: OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview) 2-week hybrid training workshop (12-14 hours total)

Asynchronous course materials:

Will be made available to all registered participants via Schoology starting May 12. 


Synchronous sessions (Zoom links shared with all registered participants):

Thursday, May 20 – 3:00-4:30 PM Central Time

Thursday, May 27 – 3:00-4:30 PM Central Time


Course facilitator: Virginia Mauer (Harvard University, Senior Associate at the Derek Bok Center for Teacher and Learning) has conducted teacher-training workshops for a range of education and government institutions in over 40 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific. Most recently, she conducted language proficiency assessment training for the Peace Corps in Ghana and the Gambia. Full bio here. All fees and materials were covered by the research cluster. The cluster’s 2021 activities concluded with this optional, fully-funded ACTFL OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview) familiarization workshop led by a certified facilitator. OPI testing is one of several initiatives that can lead to better-prepared undergraduates and future job candidates with certified language skills.