CLAC Conference Engages a Wider Community to Promote Global Competence

Aug 01, 2014

By Caitlin Haugen

The Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum (CLAC) Consortium – a membership organization that seeks to incorporate language teaching learning across all K-16 curricula – will host its ninth annual conference at Denison University April 16 and 17 next year.  The theme of this year’s conference is “Engaging a Wider Community Through CLAC,” and organizers hope to engage with international educators at all levels to build relationships and increase national support for promoting international perspectives in the curriculum.

CLAC’s stated purpose is, “to make global competence a reality for students and to create alliances among educators to share practices and find ways to incorporate an international dimension in curricula, and, more generally, to achieve internationalization goals.”  This echoes Global Teacher Education’s mission, so the conference and organization may be of special interest to GTE members. 

Upon first glace, connections to teacher education may not be apparent.  According to Suronda Gonzalez, Director of the Languages Across the Curriculum and Global Studies Minor programs at Binghamton University and Vice Chair of CLAC, the consortium draws primarily from higher education professionals who join as institutional members (though CLAC welcomes individual members as well). “Many people come to the conference to learn about existing programs and get more familiar with CLAC principles in action.”  She argues that educators from all disciplines are welcome: “We are a collaborative group, and we’re working to ‘engage a wider community’ so please – take us at our word.”

CLAC is accepting proposals for the conference from several interest areas, including inter-institutional collaboration, global course connections, and interconnections with study abroad.  For teacher educators, Gonzalez notes, “all areas are relevant. If you have any area in mind that isn’t visible in our materials, include it in a proposal.”  Teacher educators and K-12 educators have been involved in the past.

The consortium supports language education at all levels – a useful resource and network for teacher educators hoping to expand their language learning options for pre-service teachers across all areas of the curriculum. CLAC veteran H Stephen Straight, for example, Senior Fulbright advisor and Professor Emeritus at Binghamton University, has long advocated for increased attention to world languages and cultures in K-12 education, and has presented on how language teacher education may better prepare teachers to meet the demands of two-way bilingual programs.

Interested teacher educators can submit a proposal or contact Gabriele Dillmann, Professor of German and conference organizer, at dillmann [at] denison [dot] edu.