VIA@MU (formerly known as the Virtual Global Language and Culture Exchange Project), based in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Marquette University, facilitates collaborative, student-to-student learning in a multicultural and multinational setting through the use of videoconferencing. The project specifically addresses the department’s vision of promoting an understanding of the cultures and traditions which make up the fabric of our own society, as well as its goal of providing opportunities for successful communication in other languages. VIA was awarded a Mellon Grant in the summer of 2010 which provided the funds for a new computer room and equipment in Lalumiere Hall, a coordination leadership team to train participants and organize all sessions, and monies to pay student assistants.
Studies in language acquisition indicate that people acquire languages rather than learn them, yet until recently the only immersion encouraged in foreign language programs was that of studying abroad. The VIA program started as a small, ground-up project to address this need in 2008, but has grown to be a departmental program in which approximately 500 Marquette students and 18 faculty members participate each semester. These language and culture exchanges occur between members of the Marquette community and the international academic community, through partnerships cultivated by its coordinators. Opportunities are then created for students to reflect upon these cross-cultural dialogues and relationships. During the 2010-2011 academic year, the program further solidified its relationship with the network of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) and its Latin-American counterpart (AUSJAL). These groups make fitting partners for VIA as they have placed an emphasis on exploring themes of universality and commonalities amidst our differing perspectives, a vision that is well-aligned with that of the program, the department and the University.
Dr. Omega Burckhardt - firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Jessica Martin - email@example.com