October 20, 2004
Dr William W. Destler
Senior Vice President for Academic
Affairs and Provost
1119 Main Administration Building
Dear Provost Destler;
I forward with my enthusiastic approval the proposal from the School of
Languages Literatures and Cultures (SLLC) for a new PhD program in Second Language
Acquisition. The emerging discipline of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) is the
major research area of Professor Michael Long, director of the SLLC. Prior to coming to
UMCP Professor Long was instrumental in building the SLA program at the University
of Hawaii into the preeminent program in the country. In this enterprise, Professor Long
is capitalizing on our “unfair advantages” at UMCP:
our location on the doorstep of Washington, DC, an international city;
the presence on this campus of the Center for Advanced Study of Languages
(CASL), a federally funded University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) that
is already funding a broad range of linguistic and language-acquisition initiatives;
the presence on the SLLC faculty of a solid core of faculty whose major research
area is second language acquisition;
the presence within the College of Arts and Humanities of the National Foreign
Language Center;
and the presence of a significant population of faculty in related units in ARHU,
and, more importantly, across the campus, also dedicated to the study of language
This proposal has been carefully reviewed by the Arts and Humanities PCC
committee to determine that it contains the appropriate curricular rigor for a doctoral
program. That body voted unanimously to approve the program. It has also been
reviewed carefully by the College APAC to determine whether the resources claimed
as necessary for the program are in fact in place to support a new doctoral program.
That body also approved this proposal with considerable enthusiasm and without
As the proposal makes clear, the study of second language acquisition is an
emerging research area in which there exists the potential to attract significant
research funding. This fact is recognized by Dr. Long as well as by Director Brecht
and others endorsing the proposal in their letters of support. It may be stating the
obvious to emphasize that it is necessary for UMCP to mount this PhD program in
order to compete for this research funding. I scarcely think that I need to emphasize
the desirability to increase the base of external funding for any program on this
campus in the current budgetary climate. That we are confident that the proposed
PhD program will quickly become recognized as one of the leaders in the discipline
makes all the more compelling the case for its approval.
As you know, this College took a proactive stance in 2000, by reconfiguring four
free-standing language departments into a single School of Languages, Literatures
and Cultures. In doing so, we were creating a new model for the school, one in which
initiatives that crossed language-family barriers could grow. The master’s program in
Second Language Acquisition and Application is one such cooperative enterprise; the
current SLA doctoral program is the logical next step. I have already pledged to the
support of this program significant College resources to help launch the program.
The school is currently searching for a faculty member at the senior rank in SLA, and
they will search again in 2007 for a second new position at the Assistant Professor
level. The letters of support (in the appendices) from various departmental
administrators and faculty outside of the SLLC and from beyond the Campus indicate
the breadth of the support for this initiative. I give it my strongest endorsement and
urge its acceptance by the campus committees that must review it.
James F. Harris
Overview and Rationale
IA. The nature of the proposed Ph.D program and why it should be offered at
IA1. The scope and intellectual content of SLA
Despite the fact that most work dates only from the late 1960s, the field of second
language acquisition (SLA) is already broad in scope. It encompasses basic and applied
work on the acquisition and loss of foreign and second (third, etc.) languages and dialects
by children and adults learning naturalistically and/or with the aid of formal instruction,
as individuals or in social, e.g., migrant, groups, in foreign, second language, and lingua
franca settings. Basic questions SLA researchers ask include the following: How do
people learn foreign languages, second languages, and new dialects of their own
language? What are the relative contributions of innate and learned linguistic knowledge,
i.e., of nature and nurture, to the acquisition process? Why do so many adults do so
poorly at foreign language learning, when almost all children learn their native language
and other languages with seeming ease, regardless of IQ and social circumstances? Is
adult loss of access to innate linguistic knowledge a factor? Do individual differences
play a part? Are different psychological processes involved in child and adult language
learning? Why are some foreign languages and types of languages so much harder for
adults to learn than others? Does general proficiency in a foreign language later transfer
satisfactorily to help meet specialized adult needs in particular academic and
occupational settings, or is specialized training from the outset more efficient? Do adult
bilinguals make better (third) language learners than monolinguals? Under what
circumstances is adult success more likely? How can adult foreign language learning
environments be engineered to improve outcomes?
These are just a few of the questions at the intellectual core of SLA. In pursuit of
answers, theorists draw on knowledge bases in several disciplines, including linguistics,
applied linguistics, psychology, educational psychology, measurement, anthropology, and
increasingly, SLA itself. Research methods employed run the gamut from naturalistic
observation in field settings, through descriptive and quasi-experimental studies, to
experimental laboratory work and computer simulations. In addition, SLA researchers
design and employ a wide array of language-specific data-collection and analysis
procedures, ranging from elicited imitation and grammaticality judgment and preference
tests, through linguistic profiling and discourse analysis, to criterion-referenced, taskbased performance tests and global measures of oral proficiency. Theory and research in
SLA is intellectually fascinating, and constitutes a relatively new part of the rapidly
growing interdisciplinary field of cognitive science (a developing strength at College
Park), unified by its principal object of inquiry: the human mind.
While SLA’s overall scope is broad, the proposed Ph.D. program will be highly
specialized and visibly differentiated from all major competitors. Strongly cognitively
oriented in approach, the focus will be foreign language learning and use by adults, with
particular emphasis on the less commonly taught languages (LCTLs). The program is not
designed for, but will be open to, individuals planning to work in education programs for
school-age children, whose needs and concerns are very different. Important
specializations available to students would include work on maturational constraints and
the so-called Critical Period Hypothesis; cognitive processes, e.g., automatization and the
roles of implicit and explicit language learning; individual differences, e.g., age, language
aptitude, intelligence, memory, cognitive style, attitude, motivation, and prior languagelearning experience; foreign language speech processing; linguistic profiling and the
cross-linguistic study of foreign language development; dialect recognition and
acquisition; third language acquisition and cross-training, e.g., the effects on third
language acquisition of prior command of a typologically proximate or distant native or
second language; developmental and cross-cultural pragmatics; the advanced learner (a
hitherto much neglected but increasingly important dimension of the field); learner needs
analysis; the acquisition of specialized language abilities required for many adult
learners’ academic or professional work; and cutting across all of these (along with work
on French, German, Spanish, and other commonly taught modern European languages),
the acquisition, teaching, and testing of less commonly taught and rarely taught
languages, such as Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Pashto,
Turkish, Hindi-Urdu, etc. No other Ph.D. program in the U.S.A. is aligned this way, yet
these foci fit naturally together, with faculty strengths in the School of Languages,
Literatures, and Cultures (SLLC) and elsewhere at College Park, with widespread student
interest, with rapidly growing numbers of job opportunities in academia and government
service, and with burgeoning national and international needs and the targets of outside
funding resources.
Applications of SLA theory and research findings on which students are expected
to work include (1) the development, implementation, and validation of new procedures
for task-based learner needs analysis, (2) new measures of language aptitude and other
individual difference variables; and (3) new measures of criterion-referenced language
performance; (4) multivariate analyses of factors predicting success and failure in adult
foreign language classrooms (like those traversed by several thousand College Park
students each year), as opposed to study abroad programs and other types of immersion
experiences for adults; (5) matching foreign language instructional approaches with adult
learner types, defined in terms of profiles of state and trait variables; (6) identification of
residual linguistic, including cross-cultural pragmatic, problems of very advanced adult
learners; (7) rapid ramp-up strategies for instruction in federal government language
programs in less commonly taught and rarely taught languages, for which both trained
instructors and teaching materials are often lacking; (8) dialect identification and other
areas of forensic linguistics; (9) foreign language programs for various special learners,
e.g., the hearing impaired and certain abnormal populations; (10) the design of training
programs for foreign and second language use by adults in a variety of academic and
occupational settings; (11) evaluations of such programs; and (12) statistical metaanalyses of emerging bodies of substantive research findings in a number of areas of SLA
research, both basic and applied, which are of growing interest in the field.
Program graduates would be in great demand in the job market. The demand for
experts in SLA has never been greater, and is only likely to grow. The majority would
enter government service as expert foreign language professionals in the large training
programs operated by several federal departments and agencies, or else work in academia
in the USA and abroad, teaching SLA in departments of linguistics, applied linguistics,
and foreign languages, and sometimes directing university foreign language programs, as
well. Other options include work in refugee programs operated by a variety of NGOs and
international agencies, and careers in the training of interpreters and translators, in
publishing, and in university international program offices and study abroad programs.
Several powerful forces in today’s world, many of them highly regrettable, such as war,
famine, ethnic cleansing, and forced economic migration, as well as globalization, make
the learning of foreign and second languages by individuals, families, and larger groups
an increasingly frequent, important, and urgent phenomenon. SLA is far from the only
relevant problem-solving knowledge base, but it is a crucial one.
IA2. The relevance of the proposed program to institutional priorities
In addition to being a program that addresses critical U.S. needs, SLA is an area
where Maryland can quickly achieve a position of national leadership. As detailed in
section VIII, below, there are excellent faculty members at College Park whose combined
expertise rivals or exceeds that of top-ranked institutions in the field. A first-rate Ph.D.
program will leverage and complement existing institutional strengths, and
simultaneously provide an expert knowledge base and source of well-trained graduates
absolutely crucial, but currently in short supply, elsewhere on campus. The new federally
funded University-Affiliated Research Center (UARC), the Center for Advanced Study
of Language (CASL), and the College of Arts and Sciences’ (ARHU) National Foreign
Language Center (NFLC), for example, are both units that specialize in research and
policy on foreign languages in the USA, with LCTLs crucial in each case. Both CASL
and the NFLC depend fundamentally, although by no means exclusively, on exactly the
sort of expertise the Ph.D. program would develop and the graduates it would produce.
For these reasons, CASL is willing to provide full funding for a number of students in the
proposed program, and both CASL and NFLC will provide paid internships.1 SLA is
clearly an institutional priority, just as it is a rapidly growing national priority.
To illustrate, work on learner needs analysis, on individual difference variables,
and on matching choices among instructional options to learner types with varying
linguistic profiles, increasingly influences the design of instructional programs for adults
at very advanced proficiency levels, e.g., students in the so-called National Flagship
programs (part of the National Security Education Program’s National Foreign Language
Initiative, a contract administered by NFLC), and career diplomats and staff in a variety
of state and federal government departments and agencies. Research findings on
simplification and elaboration processes in foreigner talk discourse, and from discourse
See Appendix E for letters of support for the proposed program from the Directors of
both CASL and NFLC.
analyses of language use in occupational and educational settings, is relevant for the
design of advanced language training and the development of specialized foreign
language teaching materials, such as those currently being produced as part of the U.S.
Defense Department-funded, multi-million dollar LangNet project in the NFLC.
Research on cross-cultural and developmental pragmatics is recognized as crucial for
many of the same government employees, for those striving to improve success rates for
immigrants and members of ethnolinguistic minorities, e.g., speakers of what are often
(unjustly) stigmatized dialects, in workplace settings in the U.S.A. and countries around
the world, and for cross-cultural understanding in the global community.
IA3. Market demand
The job market in academe, government, the corporate sector, and elsewhere is
excellent locally, nationally, and internationally, and will remain so for the foreseeable
future. Most SLA Ph.D. holders teach in universities in the U.S.A. and overseas, or enter
government service, but other career options include the business sector (many major
corporations in industrialized societies, e.g., banks, airlines, and trading companies, have
their own language and cross-cultural training programs), the military, refugee programs,
publishing, and various components of criminal justice systems.
Demand for professionals with doctoral level training in SLA, especially if
combined with advanced language competency in foreign languages, and less commonly
and rarely taught foreign languages, in particular, has increased over the past ten years
due to new geopolitical and economic realities. We are witnessing enormous growth in
foreign language education programs for government employees2 and an increase in
requests for double-major foreign language options in disciplines such as business,
government and politics, engineering, and social services. In particular, increased demand
To give some idea of the scope of the demand, a number of government agencies in the
Washington, D.C. area alone each employ several thousand foreign language
professionals and operate very large foreign language training programs for their staff. A
major initiative was recently begun to raise the lowest proficiency level of all those career
foreign language professionals from level 2 to level 3 on the Interagency Language
Roundtable scale, an effort that will probably require an average of three to four
semesters of language study for most individuals. The Defense Language Institute in
Monterey provides language training to approximately six thousand students at any one
time, and employs several hundred instructors and a large research and testing staff for
the purpose. A smaller operation in Washington, D.C. does the same for high-ranking
staff, often involving intensive training in rarely taught languages for small groups of
senior officers. All branches of the U.S. military provide distance foreign language skills
maintenance programs for thousands of military linguists (foreign language specialists) in
the field. The Foreign Service Institute operates a major intensive foreign language
program for diplomatic staff in Virginia, again involving a large specialist teaching and
research staff. The major focus of all these programs is the less commonly and rarely
taught languages. Specialists in SLA are needed to staff the upper echelons of all these
and many other programs.
for professionals with dual competency in the discipline and a foreign language (at very
advanced proficiency levels) has been expressed by the National Security Agency (NSA),
the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the State Department, and the Department of
Defense, among other federal agencies.
Entry will be highly competitive, and the program heavily research-oriented.
Graduates will be among the best trained and most attractive of those produced by the 40
such programs around the country each year and if they so choose, can confidently expect
to secure tenure-line appointments at major universities in the USA and overseas in what
is very much a seller’s market, and will remain so for years to come. Major 20th and 21st
century geo-political trends -- globalization, large and growing refugee and immigrant
populations, labor markets that cross national boundaries, greatly increased international
travel, etc. -- and rapidly widening recognition of the importance of foreign and second
language development have created numerous tenure-line positions requiring doctoral
level expertise in SLA, demand as yet unmet by the hopelessly inadequate supply of well
trained applicants.
It is difficult to quantify openings in the government and corporate sector, as the
announcements tend to appear in a wide variety of publications, many not commonly
read by university faculty. Numbers in academe are easier to assess, however, and alone
provide sufficient evidence of the enormous demand for SLA specialists. Many job
opportunities are announced in SLA and applied linguistics each year, increasingly in
university foreign language departments. These openings and others will make a Ph.D. in
SLA -- with strong foreign language specialization opportunities, including in less
commonly taught languages -- (a) a natural for SLLC, (b) exceptionally useful to many
USG agencies and departments, and to CASL, and (c) correspondingly attractive for
many students. The expanding job market no doubt partially accounts for the number of
applications for doctoral study in SLA and applied linguistics in U.S. programs.
One indication of employment opportunities at the national and international level
comes in the form of a survey by Dr. Lianne Hinton, at UC, Berkeley. Hinton surveyed
university-level openings advertised on Linguist List in 2002. In that venue alone, 167
were advertised for SLA/Applied Linguistics.3 The tally certainly underestimates the total
number available, since many SLA openings are not advertised on Linguist List at all. A
survey conducted while this proposal was being prepared of position announcements for
the 2005-06 academic year on the American Association for Applied Linguistics and
The other categories were Computational Linguistics – 128, General linguistics -- 55
(generally not in a linguistics department, and tied in many cases to applied linguistics),
Syntax – 41, Phonetics – 35, Phonology – 34, psycholinguistics – 34, translation – 34,
sociolinguistics 31, Cognitive Science – 24, semantics – 21, Language description – 17,
text/corpus, linguistics – 15, Discourse analysis – 9, Forensic Linguistics - 2 (both
international), Historical linguistics – 10, Lexicography – 10, Morphology – 8,
Neurolinguistics – 8, Ling & Lit – 7, Pragmatics – 6, typology – 6, anthropological
Linguistics – 6, Linguistic theories – 5, writing systems – 3.
Modern Language Association web-sites shows approximately 100 openings suitable for
SLA Ph.D. holders.4
Based on these two statistics, and our extensive knowledge of the field, a
conservative estimate of employment opportunities for holders of the proposed Ph.D. in
SLA would be 100 annually. This number can be expected to increase steadily in the
coming years. The supply of high quality graduates for those posts alone, not to mention
those in industry, government service, and elsewhere, is manifestly inadequate. While
roughly 500 students a year probably emerge from the approximately 40 doctoral
programs in SLA in the U.S.A. and Canada each year, most seasoned SLA faculty would
estimate that fewer than 20 “first round draft picks” are produced annually by U.S. and
Canadian programs combined. It is clear that demand everywhere far outstrips supply,
and that the gap is only likely to increase for the foreseeable future, due to the
geopolitical trends outlined earlier. There is a clear, demonstrable need for a new topclass Ph.D. in SLA program, and plenty of job opportunities for its graduates. Due to
rigorous admission standards, the high quality of faculty supervision and instruction, the
heavy research orientation, and overall program and campus quality, all Maryland
graduates would be highly competitive in this market.
IA4. Student demand
There exist large numbers of high quality potential students at both masters and
doctoral levels inside the U.S. and overseas. Once in place, the new Ph.D. program would
quickly attract many of the best who currently apply elsewhere. Because few existing
programs have a national reputation, competition among applicants to enter the best two
or three is fierce. To illustrate, the University of Hawai’i’s Department of Second
Language Studies -- ranked the top program in every category in surveys conducted by
three different universities since the early 1990s -- accepts barely 50% of applicants to its
M.A. program, and approximately 1 in 20 applicants to its Ph.D. in SLA. Based simply
on student hopes for such a program at Maryland, and given the known presence of
several outstanding faculty, SLLC has received a steady stream of inquiries from
prospective Ph.D. students during the past few months (see Appendix B), and several
strong ones are eager, ready and waiting to move to College Park in Fall, 2005, if the
program is approved. Should that happen, and the program be advertised, we anticipate a
situation comparable to Hawai’i’s in short order, with demand from top students soon far
exceeding places offered in the Maryland program
IA5. UMCP’s competitiveness for externally funded research grants and contracts
SLA is a prime example of a field capable of producing a dramatic increase in
external funding won for UMCP, and the Ph.D. in SLA proposed here is the necessary
mechanism. The Ph.D. is required because a critical mass of top faculty and highly
A complete listing of the positions is available from SLLC’s M.A. in SLAA Program
Director. A representative sample is included as Appendix A.
trained doctoral students and post-doctorates is as essential in SLA as in any other field
for a university wishing to secure and staff the sizable, competitive, externally funded
contracts and grants now available, as well as to provide the expertise increasingly
needed by the NFLC and CASL to help execute many of their own grants and contracts.
IA6. UMCP to become the premier U.S. campus for solving the nation’s language
UMCP is in a position to become the leading campus in the nation for helping to
meet the country’s language needs and helping to solve its language problems. Several
units at UMCP will be relevant to attaining such a lofty, but we believe, realistic goal.
The University already has one of the top theoretical linguistics departments in the USA.
There is outstanding relevant faculty strength in Hearing and Speech Sciences, in
Measurement, Evaluation and Statistics (within the College of Education), in
computational linguistics and computer science (UMIACS), in Philosophy, in
Psychology, and in cognitive science in general. The campus houses the widely respected
and influential national think tank on language policy and foreign language education, the
National Foreign Language Center (NFLC), which oversees foreign language projects
worth millions of dollars. Most important of all, it hosts CASL, the first ever University
Affiliated Research Center (UARC) devoted to language (especially less commonly
taught foreign language) research, both basic and applied. CASL is already bringing
significant levels of funding (in eight figures per annum) to our campus, and prospects
are excellent that this figure will soon increase substantially. Last but not least, within
SLLC, where the proposed Ph.D. would be housed, there are already several very strong
undergraduate and graduate language, literature and culture programs, staffed by
excellent faculty members. Some of them are directly involved in SLLC’s popular M.A.
in Second Language Acquisition and Application (SLAA) program, but there are others,
e.g., in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Hebrew, Arabic, and Persian, who have
research interests in the field, and who would find an outlet for those aspects of their
interests by working with the SLA Ph.D. students.
IB. The size of the proposed Ph.D. program
To ensure extremely high standards from the outset, annual intake to the program
would initially be limited to between five and ten students per year. Such numbers,
resulting in an average of approximately 30 students in residence at College Park after
four years, would be manageable with available staffing levels and projected financial
support, described below. Based on the Hawai’i experience and knowledge of the field,
many times that number would soon apply each year, starting in Year 2, by which time
the new Ph.D.’s existence would have become known locally, nationally, and
internationally. An eventual acceptance rate of about 10% is anticipated.
As noted above, SLLC currently houses a master's-level Second Language
Acquisition and Application (M.A. in SLAA) program, which combines a focus on
advanced language training in French, Spanish, German, Russian, or Japanese with the
study of Second Language Acquisition. Although the program officially began only three
years ago, approximately 35 students are currently enrolled, and 15 more have already
graduated with an M.A. since Spring, 2002. While relatively small compared to SLA
programs at some other universities, these figures are considerable for a new program
that has barely been advertised, and only admits students with advanced proficiency in
one of the five languages mentioned. The respectable numbers already achieved provide
a solid indication of the demand for training in SLA at the graduate level; more telling is
the fact that the SLLC Director, SLAA Graduate Director, and affiliated faculty members
regularly receive enquiries from students wishing to combine the study of SLA with
Arabic, Chinese, Korean, or Italian (to name just a few languages), as well as from
students who would like to pursue a Ph.D. in SLA.
Given (i) the quality of expected applicants, (ii) demanding program entry
requirements, including a completed, relevant masters degree (meaning few, if any,
deficiency requirements for students to make up), and (iii) the parameters of the intended
curriculum described below, the projected average time to degree completion will be four
years. Taken together, the expected average cohort size and average time to completion
indicate a pool of 30-40 students in residence at any one time, as of the program’s fifth
year in existence.
IIA. Catalog description of the program, including educational objectives and areas
of concentration
Students in the new Ph.D. in SLA will receive rigorous training in at least two of
four areas of emphasis -- (i) second language learning, (ii) second language instruction,
(iii) second language assessment, and (iv) second language use -- as well as in (v)
quantitative and/or qualitative research methods. Students will select two of the four
areas, (i) – (iv), above. After completing any needed deficiency coursework, they will
take two courses in each of those two areas, plus two electives, at least one typically, but
not obligatorily, in the area of their proposed dissertation work. They will also take a
minimum of two research courses, for a minimum total of eight courses. For example, a
student planning to do his or her dissertation work in the area of second language
learning will take a minimum of two courses in that area, two more in one of the other
three areas, two electives, and two research methods courses. In practice, many students
may be expected to choose to take more than eight courses while at College Park,
including coursework in more than two of areas (i) to (iv). See Appendix C for sample
course rotations.
IIB. Course requirements and other program components
With the approval of their advisor and/or the Ph.D. program Director, after compensating
for any coursework deficiencies upon entry, students will complete a minimum of 24
credits of post-M.A. coursework, at least 12 credits of which must consist of courses
designated as research courses. This is in addition to at least 12 credits in SLA 899,
dissertation research. Such courses constitute a large proportion of the listings in
Appendix D, which are, in turn, a sampling of those available at College Park. Students
will choose two courses from the lists in each of two areas, and two more as electives (at
least one of which will typically be in the dissertation area), plus two courses in research
methods. In addition, students will be strongly encouraged to take at least one course in
the philosophy of science (a major area of strength at College Park), e.g., PHIL 651,
which we consider a very valuable part of the preparation of any cognitive scientist,
including those working on second language acquisition. Additional courses not listed in
Appendix D may be selected upon an advisor’s or Director’s approval.
Foreign Language Exit Requirement
Students who are native speakers of English must demonstrate proficiency in two
languages other than English. The must demonstrate proficiency in one or both languages
either at the “intermediate” level, as assessed through translation of a text in the field
(with dictionary help), or at the “advanced” level, as assessed via an oral interview.
Students who are non-native speakers of English must demonstrate proficiency in
English, plus (with the same options as above) one other language that is not their native
Comprehensive exams
As a prerequisite for advancement to candidacy, students will be required to write two
papers deemed publishable in a major refereed SLA journal by an examining committee
of three faculty members. The strong preference is that at least one of the papers should
in fact be published in such a journal during completion of the student’s program. The
papers must be presented publicly and approved by the committee after the presentation.
One of the papers must be in the student’s chosen area for the dissertation, the other in a
second area. Successful completion of the two papers and surrounding processes replaces
the comprehensive examinations required in some doctoral programs.
Admission to candidacy and the dissertation
After satisfactory completion of the research papers, a student is admitted to candidacy.
The student must then defend a dissertation proposal before five members of the
Graduate Faculty who will serve as the dissertation committee, including one as
committee Chair. After admission to candidacy, the student registers for credits in SLA
899 until submission of the dissertation, which must make a substantial and original
contribution to knowledge. The Chair of the dissertation committee, in consultation with
the other committee members, determines whether a draft is adequate to be defended
publicly at an oral examination. The dissertation must be approved by a five-member
examination committee, one of whom is the Dean’s representative. On completion of the
approved dissertation, a hard copy will be submitted to the department, along with either
a second hard copy or an electronic version for the SLLC web page.
IIC. Admissions requirements
Applicants to the program will be required to have successfully completed a master’s
degree from an accredited university in a relevant field, e.g., SLA, linguistics,
psychology, applied linguistics, or education. They must provide three letters of
recommendation from academic and/or professional referees. They must submit a
statement of purpose describing their academic and career background and future plans,
specifying why they believe the UMCP program is suitable for them, and they for it, and
how they would expect to use the training received at College Park. Finally, and most
importantly, they must provide evidence of an ability for, and desire to undertake,
scholarly work appropriate for the heavily research-oriented Ph.D. in SLA, e.g., an
excellent masters thesis and/or one or more publications. Students whose native language
is not English must provide a TOEFL score of 620 or higher unless they completed their
masters degree at an English-medium university within the previous three years. Verbal
and quantitative GRE scores will be required of all native speakers of English, and are
recommended for non-native speakers, as well.
III. Faculty and Organization
Academic direction and oversight
The Ph.D. in SLA program will be housed within a single academic department at
College Park, the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (SLLC). The Program
Director will be the Director of the current M.A. in SLAA program, who will assume
senior administrative responsibility for both programs. He or she will be assisted by the
Ph.D. program’s Graduate Faculty (GF).
In addition to members of the current SLLC faculty, and two anticipated new
hires, several outstanding faculty members from other UMCP units have enthusiastically
committed to becoming affiliate faculty members, and several others are expected to
follow. A full projected faculty listing, together with individuals’ areas of specialization,
is provided in Section VIII, below. Note that a search for one of the new hires, an
Associate or Full Professor of SLA, has been approved, budgeted for, and is already
under way, the individual to be in place by Fall, 2005; the second, at the Assistant rank, is
planned for Fall, 2007.
IV. Off-campus Programs
The program will be wholly residential. There will be no off-campus locations, nor a
distance education component.
V. Other Issues
VA. Cooperative arrangements with other institutions or organizations
None are required or currently anticipated.
VB. Accreditation
There are no accrediting bodies for graduate programs in Second Language Acquisition.
VI. Commitment to Diversity
SLLC’s M.A. program in Second Language Acquisition and Application (SLAA)
has already attracted a wide range of students who represent a diverse group of countries
and ethnicities. The Ph.D. program, which would not be tied to fluency in one of five
specific languages, as is the M.A., would open the door to an even more diverse
population of students and graduate faculty.
Many core research areas in SLA are intrinsically concerned with diversity, an
issue of special significance for the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU), the
University, and the State of Maryland. Understanding communication (and
communication breakdowns) among speakers of different languages, races, genders and
cultures in academic, workplace, and other social settings is a major research focus in the
field, especially in the work of specialists in developmental and cross-cultural
pragmatics. So is the acquisition and assessment of the ability to operate successfully and
harmoniously across cultures, including traditionally problematic boundaries of race and
class. The same is true of dialect differences, often linguistic markers of racial, economic,
social and cultural differences within communities. Development of an understanding
and appreciation of another culture is an inherent part of developing proficiency,
especially high-level proficiency, in a foreign language. Improving the efficiency of the
development process is arguably one of the best ways of increasing cross-cultural
understanding and an appreciation for human diversity.
Students and faculty in the proposed Ph.D. program will themselves inevitably
represent a rich array of languages and cultures, and many dimensions of cultural
diversity will figure among their core research interests. SLA faculty members at College
Park already reflect the diversity of which the College of Arts and Humanities and SLLC
are justifiably proud, and approximately 50% of the intake to the doctoral program are
expected to be international students. The often wide cultural differences involved in a
principal focus of the new program, the less commonly taught and rarely taught
languages, mean that, if anything, the diversity of both faculty and students in the Ph.D.
will likely be even greater than that which already exists in SLLC’s M.A. in SLAA.
VII. Required Physical Resources
VIIA. Library resources
Library resources for the new program have been discussed with Helen Pedersoli in
McKeldin, and bibliographies of books and serials compiled by faculty specializing in
each area of the program have been delivered to her. Evaluations of existing holdings are
currently in progress and expected to be completed very soon. Dr. Pedersoli reported
(10/14/04) that evaluations completed so far showed sufficient holdings in the areas
surveyed, but final figures and formal approval is still pending. Given the existence of
adequate material for SLLC’s existing M.A. in SLAA and for its long-standing programs
in most of the foreign languages likely to be involved in the program, including less
commonly taught foreign languages, and given the paucity of SLA research conducted in
most of the LCTLs (an important reason for creating the new Ph.D.), little need for
additional library resources is anticipated, but as described below, adequate financial
support is available from both CASL and SLLC, as needed.
VIIB. Facilities and equipment
Facilities and equipment for the proposed program are already abundant at
College Park. This is due to the existence of the SLLC’s M.A. in SLAA program, which
led to installation of a research laboratory in the basement of Jimenez Hall that can also
satisfy initial doctoral program needs, as well, and to excellent research facilities in
surrounding departments and other units, e.g., Linguistics, and the College’s National
Foreign Language Center. Most important of all, the University’s new federally funded
research center, CASL, is installing state-of-the-art research facilities and equipment
designed specifically for precisely the kinds of projects to be undertaken by many of the
future Ph.D. students, several of whom at any one time can be expected to be working in
CASL or on projects directly relevant to CASL’s research agenda, their doctoral studies
often funded by CASL.
Office space for two new faculty members will be required, and is available in
SLLC’s premises in Jimenez Hall. The same is true for the first year’s student cohort.
Additional office space -- two offices for Ph.D. students employed as research assistants
on outside grants or contracts -- will be required by Year 2 of the program, and thereafter.
One such office is available in Jimenez. The other will be found elsewhere on campus, or
possibly in the University’s Research Triangle (e.g., in the Patapsco building, where
NFLC is located), paid for by indirect costs from the same externally funded contracts
and grants that will be supporting the doctoral studies of the students concerned.
VIIC. Impact on use of existing facilities and equipment
By Year 2 of the program, when some 14-15 new doctoral students will be in
residence, the impact on use of the School’s SLAA laboratory will likely become
noticeable, given the number of laboratory-style empirical studies that will be under way
in house by then. Some minor expansion into an adjacent room, and purchase of
additional digital sound recording equipment may be necessary, with such equipment
budgeted for in contract and grant overheads. Other options will include borrowing
and/or renting laboratory space from surrounding units, e.g., CASL, NFLC, the
Department of Linguistics and the Maryland English Institute (MEI). Overall, no serious
overload of existing facilities or equipment is anticipated, and none that cannot be
managed financially. Additional recording equipment would be highly unlikely to cost
more than $5,000.00, which could easily be covered by School reserves (DRIF and return
on Summer offerings), and MEI has state of the art laboratory space rentable at
approximately $350.00 per day, depending on the precise facilities and equipment
required, which is the typical duration of data collection for many SLA laboratory
VIII. Resource needs and sources
VIIIA. New courses, advising and administrative requirements and personnel
The new program will involve an increase in administrative work for some SLLC
staff, e.g., those in graduate records and accounts. The existing core SLA faculty is
strong, and it will be supplemented by an affiliate faculty comprising outstanding
individuals from related programs at College Park. The program requires the addition of
no more than two new lines, and the addition of an average of two new courses per
semester specifically for the Ph.D. program. Resources with which to satisfy all these
personnel needs are already available within SLLC, as explained in VIIIB, below.
The following is a list of the anticipated core and affiliate faculty members for the
Ph.D. in SLA program, together with a sampling of their research interests. Asterisked
names denote tenured faculty members at College Park.
Core Faculty
Full Professors
1. *Michael H. Long: Theory change in SLA; age differences, maturational constraints,
and sensitive periods; processes, e.g., stabilization/ fossilization, in interlanguage
development; negative feedback (models and recasts); language aptitude; the
advanced learner; second language research methods; foreign language needs
analysis; Task-Based Language Teaching
2. *Robert Ramsey: Historical development of Korean and Japanese and historical
relationships between the two languages; East Asian dialectology; sociolinguistics.
3. *Full Professor of SLA #3 (search currently under way, tenure on arrival): Cognitive
processes in SLA; maturational constraints on SLA; adult foreign language
instructional design
Associate Professors
1. *Mel Scullen: French linguistics, second language acquisition and pedagogy, and
theoretical phonology.
2. *Kira Gor: Acquisition of second language phonology and morphology; second
language processing.
3. *Lindsay Yotsukura: Japanese discourse and conversation analysis, intra- and intercultural pragmatics, second language acquisition and pedagogy, and teaching with
4. *Roberta Lavine: Individual differences in language learning, especially learning
disabilities; languages for specific purposes, and technology.
5. *Alaa Elgibali: acquisition, teaching, and testing of Arabic; Arabic sociolinguistics;
dialect recognition and description
6. *David Branner: Descriptive and historical Chinese linguistics; southern Chinese
dialectology; traditional Sinology
7. *Masha Lekic: Russian language acquisition, Russian morphology, Russian literature,
teaching with technology
8. *Cynthia Martin: Acquisition of culture, advanced level language acquisition,
language policy, curricular design and testing.
Assistant Professors
1. Alene Moyer: second language phonology; critical period research; sociolinguistics
2. Manel Lacorte: L2 classroom interaction and language development, qualitative
research in SLA, L2 teacher education, and applied linguistics.
3. Teresa Cabal-Krastel: Spanish and applied linguistics, methodology, second
language acquisition, learning disabilities.
4. Assistant Professor #4: Second language assessment (to be hired in AY 2007)
Affiliate Faculty
Full Professors
1. *Richard Brecht (CASL): Military and intelligence applications of language study;
foreign language acquisition; study abroad programs; language policy
2. *Nan Bernstein-Ratner (Hearing and Speech Sciences): First language acquisition in
normal and abnormal populations; role of input in language learning; stuttering;
parent-child interaction
3. *Peter Carruthers (Philosophy): Philosophy of Language; philosophy of mind;
philosophy of psychology.
4. Catherine Doughty (CASL): Cognitive processes in SLA; language aptitude;
measurement of second language development and proficiency; research on second
language instruction; technology and language teaching; the advanced learner
5. *Robert Lissitz (Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation): Test equating, assessment
validity and evaluation
6. *Robert Mislevy (Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation): Applications of recent
developments in statistical methodology and cognitive research to practical
problems in educational and psychological measurement; task-based tests of second
language proficiency
7. *Thomas Nelson (Psychology): Human memory; metacognition; acquisition and
retention of foreign language vocabulary; computer-assisted instruction
8. *Rebecca Oxford (Curriculum and Instruction): Learning styles and strategies;
affective factors; autonomous language learning
Associate Professors
1. Henk Haarmann (CASL): Psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics; language aptitude;
high-level language abilities
2. *Colin Phillips (Linguistics): Theoretical linguistics, language processing, language
acquisition and neurolinguistics
3. *Grace Yeni-Komshian (Hearing and Speech Sciences): Normal language
acquisition/bilingualism; psycholinguistics; speech perception; age effects in second
language learning
Assistant Professors
1. Bill Rivers (CASL): Language and national security; military and intelligence
applications of language study; second language acquisition; language policy in the
U.S. and Central Asia
2. Rochelle Newman (Hearing and Speech Sciences): Speech perception, development
of speech perception, language acquisition, word-finding errors, word recognition,
speech production
3. Mattias Frisch (Philosophy): Philosophy of physics; philosophy of science
4. Ewa Golonka (CASL) metalinguistic awareness in SLA; acquisition of Russian as a
foreign language
5. Andrea Zukowski (Linguistics): language disorders; language acquisition; sentence
VIIIB. New faculty, staff, and TAs required for responsibilities in VIIIA, and
resources available to meet those needs
Current SLLC staff, plus an available vacant line if required, will cover staff
needs of the new program.
Where faculty members are concerned, a line and hard dollars are in hand, and a
search is under way, for the appointment by Fall, 2005, of an Associate or Full Professor
of SLA, specializing in cognitive processes in second language learning. Aware of SLA’s
immense potential at Maryland, at least one outstanding individual, unquestionably
among the two or three leading SLA researchers in the country, has already expressed a
strong interest in the position at the rank of Full Professor, so while the search is an open
one, we can be confident of a star hire appropriate and required for a top program. Two
new lines, plus the requisite hard dollars, have been pledged for the SLA program by
ARHU Dean Harris. We anticipate attracting the very best young scholar for the second
(Assistant Professor) position in AY 2007. In addition, Dean Harris has pledged a total of
$180,000.00 (new soft dollars), plus fringe, for the hire of SLA post-docs in AY 2005
and 2006, for the same purpose. Although none are anticipated, any instructional gaps
encountered during the first two years of the program can be filled using some of that
funding. These are new lines and new hard and soft dollars, provided to the School by
ARHU Dean, James Harris, it is important to note; they do not involve removing
resources from existing SLLC programs. Yet another hiring possibility -- of a mutually
agreed upon senior linguist useful both to CASL and the Ph.D. in SLA program -- funded
by CASL, is described in the accompanying letter of support for the program from
CASL’s Executive Director, Professor Richard Brecht.
Professor of SLA and SLLC Director since 2003, Michael Long was Chair of
Hawai’i’s internationally renowned Ph.D. in SLA program during its first three years.
The experience he brings from that position will be useful to the Director of UMCP’s
new Ph.D. program. During his last three years at Hawai’i, Long was also PI and Director
of a National Security Education Program (NSEP)-funded National Flagship program for
Korean. SLLC has been invited to submit proposals for National Flagship programs in
Arabic and Persian, starting in Spring, 2005. If awarded, both will provide a major source
of funding, as well as excellent research opportunities, for Arabic and Persian native
speakers among the doctoral program’s students. No TA-ships are required for the
VIIIC. Role of existing faculty and staff in the new program, and coverage for their
current duties
The core SLLC faculty listed in VIIIA, above, are already involved in teaching
courses and advising students in the School’s M.A. in SLAA program, and advanced
courses among SLAA offerings will be open to Ph.D. students, as well. An average of
two new courses per semester, however, as noted above, will be required specifically for
students in the Ph.D. in SLA, courses which will also enrich offerings for strong M.A. in
SLAA students, and also, most likely, for students from surrounding departments. This
small overall increase in the total number of courses to be covered will be handled by the
addition of the new senior hire in SLA, scheduled for completion as the program opens.
If need be, in the short term, supplementary offerings and research supervision can be
provided by adjunct faculty hires using some of the $180,000.00 in soft-funds indicated
above. The second, junior tenure-line SLA hire, scheduled for 2007, will ease the
situation further, allowing as many as four additional doctoral level courses each year to
be offered by that individual and/or by current faculty, whose M.A. level courses he or
she covers. Finally, Professor Richard Brecht, Executive Director of CASL (tenured in
SLLC), confirms that he will be willing to allow affiliate faculty who are CASL staff
members to teach occasional courses for the new program, as well as to advise
dissertation students -- something all those involved are anxious to do, and which will
serve as an extra recruiting inducement as CASL builds its staff over the next twelve
months (see accompanying letter of support from Richard Brecht). These resources,
coupled with the rich array of relevant graduate offerings in surrounding departments
(Philosophy, Linguistics, Psychology, Speech and Hearing Sciences, EDCI, and EDMS,
among others) means that the Ph.D. students will enjoy a wide array of options.
Additional advising duties (an average of one or two students each for core
faculty) would be involved, but all are aware of and ready to undertake this, viewing the
small additional load as more than compensated for by the opportunity to work with top
graduate students in their fields of expertise. Affiliate faculty members, all of whom have
expressed considerable enthusiasm for the program, will be invited on a voluntary basis
to serve on dissertation committees, and also to participate in other aspects of the
program, e.g., cooperative research projects with SLA faculty and students.
VIIID. Source of funds for physical resources identified in VII, above
SLLC’s current M.A. program already operates successfully in many of the same
areas as the proposed doctorate. Funding required for additional library purchases for the
new program is likely to be small (pending final results of the official McKeldin survey,
we estimate, less than $5,000.00), therefore, and should not be problematic. It could be
handled using existing School reserves accumulated from DRIF and Summer and Winter
Term offerings, as well as from legitimate uses of outside funding in some specialized
cases. In addition, CASL is willing to fund start-up and ongoing support for library
acquisitions up to $20,000.00, as improved holdings in SLA and the LCTLs will benefit
CASL staff as much as faculty and students in the program.
Some funding for additional digital sound equipment may be required by Year 2
of the program, probably a total in the $5-10,000.00 range. One funding source for any
needed purchases could again be existing School reserves, built from Summer/Winter
offerings. However, given the utility of such equipment for CASL and NFLC, a degree of
cost-sharing could be anticipated.
VIIIE. Other required resources and anticipated funding sources for them
The other major required resource for the new program will be student financial
support. We anticipate fully funding all our Ph.D. in SLA students, which will be
essential if we are to recruit the very best students for the program. We intend to
accomplish this without drawing on the diminishing number of TA-ships and fellowships
for students in SLLC’s existing graduate programs in literature and culture -- programs in
fields which already have difficulty funding students at Maryland, as do such programs
elsewhere. The Ph.D. in SLA program at the University of Hawai’i (a relatively poorly
resourced university compared to Maryland), has been able to fund all its students from
its inception in 1989, largely through external grants and contracts to faculty. We
anticipate the same general picture at College Park. The issue should actually prove
easier at College Park, since (i) more outside funding is becoming available for SLA
grants and contracts, especially in the LCTLS, (ii) NFLC and CASL need our students
and graduates to staff their contracts, and especially (ii) CASL is willing to fund doctoral
students working on projects of interest to them, and also students likely to provide a
sorely needed future generation of well-trained young American SLA specialists. (Please
see Appendix E for the accompanying letters of support for this proposal from CASL’s
Executive Director, Professor Richard Brecht, and NFLC’s Director, Mimi Met, where
these offers of support can be found.) In sum, we anticipate no problems at all in
supporting 5-10 students per year.
SLLC Ph.D. in SLA Budget Narrative
October 22, 2004
Several years ago, the College of Arts and Humanities made a strategic decision
to advance excellence in the languages area. In 2001, in support of this goal, several
formerly separate language departments were consolidated into the School of Languages,
Literatures, and Cultures. After a national search Professor Michael Long was appointed
as Director of the School in 2003. At that time specific resources were committed by the
Provost, the Vice President for Research, and the Dean of the College of Arts and
Humanities to assist Professor Long and the faculty of the School in achieving some of
their specific goals. Some of these resources are being allocated to support the
implementation of the proposed Program. The training of students in SLA and the
research work of faculty and students in the program will give vital support to the CASL
and NFLC programs, which are, in turn, bringing significant resources to the institution.
The primary costs of program implementation will be in faculty salaries and
student support, with modest operating expenses and limited facilities enhancement in
addition. The additional faculty required to provide the new courses (approximately four
courses each year, see below) needed for the program and to advise program students are
being recruited now, or will be next year, as part of the additional resources committed.
Specifically, the SLLC will receive a total of 2.00 FTE and approximately $145,000 to
support one tenured senior, and one tenure-track faculty appointment within the next
three years. Additional advising support and occasional teaching support will be
provided on a voluntary basis and at no additional expense to the SLLC, by the
outstanding language professionals working at CASL and NFLC. Affiliate faculty from
related programs will also work with program students. All students are expected to
receive financial and tuition support through work with faculty on external grants,
through CASL, NFLC, or elsewhere.
The SLA program will require a modest amount of staff and general operating
support, as well as require additional library resources, computer and office equipment ad
some facilities renovation. The funds required to secure these resources will come from
multiple sources. For example, we expect to support these expenses in part, from
resources reallocated with the SLLC base budget, supplemented by funds generated
through the SLLC’s summer and winter term revenues, and other entrepreneurial
activities, as well as from DRIF funds currently, and projected to be, available to the
SLLC, supplemented by funds provided by CASL. We are confident about the future
availability, indeed increase, in SLLC DRIF by year four, due to increased sponsored
research expenditures and associated indirect cost expenditures, driven in large measure
by the presence of the new SLA Ph.D. program.
The SLA program will require the purchase of additional computer equipment, with a
replacement time frame of approxima tely every three years. Most of the equipment will
be used by graduate students located in SLLC and CASL space. We have noted projected
expenses for modest facilities enhancement and renewal. We will solicit some funds
from the Campus pool for this purpose, and will provide supplemental support from
available College funds dedicated annually for this purpose as well as from incrementally
rising DRIF funds generated and allocated to the School. Any facilities renovation or
enhancement required to support SLA program research projects funded by sponsored
research funds will be paid, as allowable, from those sponsored research funds accounts.
Instruction costs
The program will only require an average of two, possibly three new courses a
semester specifically for Ph.D. students (and any M.A. students capable of taking them).
The new courses (total of four, possibly six per academic year) will be funded, as noted
in the Overview section, through (a) the new faculty appointment resources reallocated
by the Dean to the SLLC, which will provide a total of four new courses, and (b) by
CASL through the provision of language professional at no cost to the SLLC, for an
additional two new courses per year. Other program requirements or electives will be
chosen from courses in the existing M.A. in SLAA program and in related programs such
as Linguistics, Psychology, EDMS, and Hearing and Speech Sciences, where we have
affiliate faculty signed up and ready and willing to cooperate.
Graduate student support costs
We anticipate that the selection of graduate students for the Ph.D program will be
extremely rigorous, with only the most highly qualified students accepted into what is
envisioned as a full-time program. CASL and the NFLC have indicated their willingness
and ability to provide assistantships for all admitted students, so we do not anticipate
having to reallocate SLLC or College base budget funds for this purpose, nor do we
expect to solicit Campus funds to support graduate assistantships at this time.
Additionally, we expect that interested Federal agencies and other entities may “second”
specially selected employees to the Ph.D program, during which their full-time salaries
will be paid directly by the employer to the individual, as well as providing full support
for their tuition and fees. In summary, we do not anticipate than any students admitted to
the PhD program will require state-funded stipend, salary, tuition, or benefits funds while
enrolled in the program.
Tuition revenue
As noted above, we are projecting an initial cohort of 10 students in FY 06,
growing over time to a steady state of 30 students, perhaps as early as FY 07, but no later
than FY 08. For planning purposes, we have conservatively anticipated FY 06 revenue
from tuition of approximately $67,000 (based on FY 05 tuition rates) growing to
approximately $201,000 annually no later than FY 08. We expect all graduate student
tuition to be paid from sponsored research funds or funds external to the University, and
not from any State-funded tuition remission budget.
Budget summary
We believe that the committed State and one-time funds noted within the
proposal, augmented by the anticipated tuition and mandatory fees revenue, are more
than sufficient to meet all anticipated expenses associated with the SLA Ph.D program.
Further, we believe that an outcome of the Ph.D. program will be additional sponsored
research awards to the University of Maryland, thus generating both an increase in the
institution’s research and indirect cost revenue stream, and a more robust and excellent
research environment in an area of strategic national interest.
Resource Categories
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5
1. Reallocated Funds (1)
2. Tuition Revenue (bxc)
a. FTE Students
b. Tuition per credit hour
c. Annual Credit Hours
$66,780 $133,560 $200,340 $200,340 $200,340
3. Other Sources (a+b)
a. CASL for Library (2)
b. DRIF + Summer Teaching (3)
$120,375 $150,875 $253,500 $246,000 $234,000
(1) The table amount is the difference between estimated expenditures and identified revenue sources.
This shows the net additional expenditure on an institutional basis.
Specific reallocations are the following appointments, which are of much higher value, and were
made in support of the entire languages initiative, including both educational and research components.
a. One senior faculty position reallocated in year one from College of Arts & Humanities
b. A junior faculty position reallocated in year three from Provost's office.
(2) Pledged in Letter from Richard Brecht, CASL director)
(3) Presence of program will enhance funded research and therefore DRIF return, appropriately
used to enhance research infrastructure. Language expertise will allow intensive NCTL instruction
in the summer term, revenue from which can also be applied as needed for enhancements.
Expenditure Categories
Total Faculty Expenses
(b + c below)
a. # FTE
b. Total Salary
c. Total Benefits (1)
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5
2. Total Administrative
Staff Expenses
(b + c below)
a. # FTE
b. Total Salary
c. Total Benefits (1)
3. Total Support Staff
(b + c below)
a. # FTE
b. Total Salary
c. Total Benefits (1)
4. Equipment (2)
5. Library (2)
6. New or Renovated
7. Other Expenses
TOTAL (Add 1 – 7)
(1) 25% average rate
(2) Largely to support research component of the program
Supported in part by research funds.
TO: Dr. Michael Long, Director, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
FROM : Desider Vikor, Director, Collection Management & Special Collections
Karla Hahn, Collection Management Team Leader -- KH
Heleni M. Pedersoli, Western European Languages & Literatures Librarian --HMP
Library Collection supporting the Proposed PhD Program in Second Language
DATE : October 21, 2004
Historically, the area of Second Language Acquisition has been part of the UM Libraries’
Linguistics collection, which has supported at first the undergraduate programs in Spanish &
Portuguese, French & Italian, and the Germanic languages, as well as East Asian and Slavic
languages. For the past two years, SLA collections have been built to support SLLC’s M.A.
program in Second Language Acquisition and Application (SLAA). Library resources are
presently at a research level that supports well the M.A. program and will be adequate to
support the first two years of the PhD program. In order to make the program one of the best
in the country, funding for additional library resources is of the utmost importance. We
recommend that at least $25,000 per year be added to the Libraries budget to permit the
necessary collection building to sustain research and dissertation writing in future years.
As described in the proposal, the PhD program in SLA will be interdisciplinary, involving
faculty and students who will be engaged in research, and writing dissertations in the areas of
Linguistics, Education, Communication, Hearing and Speech Sciences, as well as the various
departments within SLLC.
Since the Linguistics PhD program is well established and internationally known for several
years now, the collections in general and in theoretical linguistics are at a very solid research
level. According to the stated areas of study for the proposed SLA PhD program, this review
focuses on Libraries collections support for the areas of: pragmatics, intercultural
communication, communication and culture, multicultural education, discourse analysis,
language use, languages study and teaching, as well as second language acquisition.
To assess the collections strength in the above areas, the following measurement tools were
a comparison of the UM collections against the collections of the University of
Hawaii, UNC Chapel Hill, the University of Illinois, and the University of
Arizona -- peers that have nationally ranked programs in SLA -- by performing a
subject/keyword search of the respective online catalogs;
a search of the bibliographies of core monographs and serials submitted by the
French, East Asian, Spanish, and Slavic la nguages departments, and by Michael
a search of the list of core SLA periodicals indexed in LLBA;
a search of reference titles included in Ann L. DeMiller’s Linguistics: a Guide to
the Reference Literature. 1
UM Libraries collections compare well with the University of Hawaii, being particularly
strong in discourse analysis and second language acquisition. There are some weak areas in
multicultural education, bilingualism, and language and languages study and teaching, and in
publications written in the target languages. Against the collections at the Univ. of Illinois
and UNC Chapel Hill, the collections in Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis showed greater
strengths, but the other areas such as Communication and Culture, and Language Study and
Teaching showed deficiencies.
The search against the UM catalog of the core bibliographies identified by SLLC faculty as
essential to teaching SLA courses indicated that the Libraries own almost all of the target
languages core journals, and most of the core monograph titles on the lists. Russian (7 out of
17 monographs) and general SLA (14 out of 18 titles) showed deficiencies.
Supporting the SLA programs will require addressing the identified weaknesses in the above
collections not only to support teaching but also to support research.
The search of SLA core periodicals from the LLBA list shows that the Libraries own more
than 60% of the titles or 95 out of 132 titles in SLA. Of the titles we are missing, 15 are
available at other area libraries.
As far as reference materials are concerned, a search of Linguistics: A Guide to the Reference
Literature, Second Edition, Applied Linguistics showed that the UM Libraries owned 7 of 8
dictionaries, encyclopedias and handbooks, but had a clear deficiency in Cumulative
Bibliographies – 9 out of 31 titles.
Because of College Park’s location in the metropolitan area of Washington, D.C., the
collections at the Library of Congress, NLM, and Georgetown University can be accessed
through consortia agreements and interlibrary loan. The Library of Congress has recently
reached out to the University of Maryland thro ugh the Libraries, to expand the availability of
its research services and reading rooms to the faculty and students at the College Park
As for electronic resources, the Libraries subscribe to the two most important databases for
Linguistics and SLA – the LLBA and MLA bibliographies; to the French ARTFL database,
and 10 related databases in Linguistics, 7 in SLA. Beyond that, full text articles are also
available from the multidisciplinary databases from EBSCO and Lexis Nexis. There are 20
databases available for Slavic and East European Studies and 17 for Spanish and Portuguese.
There are 85 electronic journal titles listed in Research Port.
Due to some of the grant funds the Libraries received in the past four years from the Freeman
Foundation (East Asian for 2002-2005) and the Title VI NRC (Latin American Studies for
DeMiller, Anna L. Linguistics: A Guide to the Reference Literature. 2nd edition.
Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, Inc. 2000, pp. 133-162
2000-2003 Center) some collection building strengthened the resources available on campus.
Monographs published by university presses, as well as the major English language
publishers, are covered by the Libraries’ Blackwell book purchase plan; small approval plans
for Latin American, Brazilian and German materials cover a small number of SLA titles.
Thus, although the UM Libraries collections in Second Language Acquisition are adequate to
support lower level graduate studies, including the first few years of a PhD program, the
following areas of weakness in the collections need to be addressed, as stated above:
multicultural education, communication and culture, bilingualism, and language study and
teaching, especially in the target languages.
Although the Libraries has established, in the last two years, a monograph and a periodicals
fund for SLA in order to continue building the collections to support the M.A. program, an
increase in funding is necessary to build the areas of weakness, especially in foreign language
titles, in electronic and print resources, both monographs and periodicals.
$1,000 needed ASAP to subscribe to the periodical titles suggested as core by the
$5,000 added to the periodicals maintenance budget on an ongoing basis for
subscribing to additional core periodical titles covered in LLBA;
Approximately $2,000 needed ASAP to purchase the monograph titles suggested by
the faculty.
Additional $15,000 added to the Libraries budget annually to purchase required
monograph titles to build the areas of intercultural pragmatics, communication and
culture, multicultural education, and language teaching in the target languages.
Ideally, at least one new electronic resource subscription could be added – the
Handbook of Pragmatics at 1,000 euros
Evaluation: Library resources are presently at a research level that supports well the M.A.
program in SLA and that will be adequate to support the first two years of the PhD program.
In order to make the program one of the best in the country, funding for additional library
resources is of the utmost importance. We recommend that at least $25,000 per year be
added to the Libraries budget to permit the necessary collection building to sustain research
and dissertation writing in the future years.
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