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I. Mission (Voted 4 June 2015 Meeting)

The Council on Language Instruction supports language faculty as they pursue excellence in language instruction and curriculum development and prepare Northwestern students to engage with the world as global citizens.

By organizing regular workshops, seminars, talks, and symposia for the Northwestern community on the teaching and learning of language and culture, the Council creates and promotes best practices inside and outside of the classroom based on the latest research on effective pedagogy, second language acquisition, applied linguistics, and the teaching of culture.

The Council encourages collaboration with other campus units in order to promote professional development as well as to extend learning beyond the classroom and facilitate practical applications of communication skills. These activities may include study and research abroad, local and international internships, and service projects in the community.

Recognizing the importance of digital technologies, the Council promotes the development of innovative tools and the effective use of established and emerging technologies for language instruction.

The Council also encourages faculty to engage in campus initiatives, conduct research in fields relevant to language and culture, and pursue professional development in order to maintain excellence in language and culture instruction.

II. Membership in the Council on Language Instruction (Council or CLI) (Voted 20 May 2016)   

Membership in the Council is open to language teaching faculty and representatives of the Multimedia Learning Center, the Weinberg Language Proficiency Committee, AccessibleNU, and the Weinberg Advising Office.      

Language teaching faculty are either full-time or part-time and include faculty teaching English speakers of other languages (TESOL).   

Membership is by application to the Membership Committee. Faculty members must formally accept membership in the organization. Application for membership is accepted at the end of Spring Quarter and there is an additional opportunity to join the Council at the end of August. Council membership is for a term of two years.      

In order to maintain membership from year to year, faculty members must accept an appointed position as an officer or serve on a committee and attend most business and committee meetings, workshops, and presentations, unless there are teaching obligations or personal emergencies.       

All members are eligible to vote on matters placed before the Council.

III. Leadership (Voted 16 November 2016)

The Chair provides leadership to the Council and is responsible for the operation of the Council. The Dean of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences appoints the Chair in consultation with Council members and department chairs for a term of three years.  Any full-time, continuing language teaching faculty member,  (regardless of rank) may become chair.  The term begins on September 1 and ends on August 31. The appointment may be renewed.

A.   Duties of the Chair

The Chair is responsible for promoting communication and collaboration across language departments with the goal of improving the teaching of languages and cultures. He/She will work collaboratively with language faculty to identify professional development opportunities that allow for individuals and language programs to align instructional pedagogy with "best practice" models as developed by professional organizations.  The Chair will also work with department chairs and with Weinberg and Northwestern units to facilitate the implementation of broader College and University initiatives.

B.   Appointment of the Chair

In the last year of the Chair's term, before the end of the third week of Fall Quarter, the Advisory Committee will solicit nominations from the membership for a new chair.  Nominees must agree to have their names placed on the ballot and have the support of their department or program chair.  The Advisory Committee will produce an electronic ballot and all Council members will vote for one candidate by the end of the fifth week.  The committee will compile a ranked list of the three top candidates that will be submitted to the Associate Dean of Teaching-Track and Visiting Faculty by the end of the seventh week. The Weinberg Dean appoints the CLI chair.

IV. Advisory Committee (Voted 2 February 2017)

A. History

The Council has evolved from an organization of 13 members representing 11 languages to 55+ members involved in 20 language programs.  In order for the organization to respond to College and University initiatives in a timely manner, it is necessary to have an Advisory Committee that can provide guidance to the chair and Council as it works to maintain its traditions of excellence in the teaching of languages and cultures.  The Advisory Committee members will provide an important connection to the departments and will aid the chair in project work.

B.   Advisory Committee and Structure

Units represented on the Advisory Committee: Asian Languages and Cultures, Classics,  English Language Programs, French & Italian, German, Middle East and North African Studies, Program of African Studies, Slavic, Spanish & Portuguese. (9 members)

Consultants: The co-chairs may request counsel and advice from representatives of other units (AccessibleNU, Buffett, International Program Development, Study Abroad, Weinberg Advising Office, etc.) and other outside experts.

The Membership Committee will organize an election for each unit to choose one member for the advisory committee.  A nomination procedure will be followed by an electronic election. The representative will serve for a period of two years from September to September. Council members may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms on this committee. The nomination and election process will be completed by the end of the Spring Quarter. During the first year, one half of the committee members will be elected for for one-year terms and one half of the committee members will be elected for two-year terms.  This will allow for staggered terms.  

C.   Responsibilities       

The Advisory Committee will meet typically once or twice a quarter with the Chair to advise on project work and the activities of the Council.

V. Officer Positions (Voted 20 May 2016)

Using the recommendations of the entire Council, the co-chairs will appoint members for two-year terms to the following positions:

These members may be reappointed to one (1) additional two-year term.

VI. Committees (Voted 20 May 2016)

Council members not holding an elected or appointed position are expected to actively serve on one or more committees.  The standing committees are:

A.   Committee Structure           

Committees are organized by the committee co-chairs who are elected by the members of the committee for a period of two years.  Committee co-chairs may be re-elected for an additional two-year term.  The terms of committee co-chairs are staggered so that there is a yearly election of a chair.

B.   Committee Membership    

Council members become members by contacting one of the chairs of the committee and requesting membership after requests for membership are communicated during the Spring Quarter and Fall Quarter. Every member of the Council on Language Instruction must have an officer position or belong to one or more committees and is expected to attend committee meetings and contribute actively to committee work.            

The Council on Language Instruction co-chairs appoint members to the CLI Excellence in Foreign Language Teaching Award Committee from among the language faculty who have received Council, Weinberg or Northwestern teaching awards.

C.   Committees meet at least once a quarter and report on their activities through quarterly reports that are collected by the Council co-chairs and made available to the Council on Language Instruction membership in the BOX account.     

D.   New committees may be created by the vote of the Council. Standing committees may be discontinued by the vote of the Council.

VII. Affiliated Units (Voted 20 May 2016)     

AccessibleNU, Buffett Institute, Program of African Studies, Jewish Studies, Linguistics, English Language Programs, Weinberg Advising Office, Weinberg Language Proficiency Committee, Multimedia Learning Center (MMLC), Study Abroad Office, International Program Development Office

VIII. Languages at Northwestern  (Voted 20 May 2016)                         

Ancient Greek, Arabic, Chinese, Czech, English (TOESL), French, German, Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish

The Council on Language Instruction has representation from:

the Program of African Studies
the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
the Department of Classics
the Department of French and Italian
the Department of German
the English Language Programs (The Department of Linguistics and The Graduate School)
the Program in Middle East and North African Languages
the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
the Department of Spanish and Portuguese
the Media and Design Studio (Formerly known as the Multimedia Learning Center)

For detailed information regarding language study and language requirements at Northwestern University, please consult the Language Brochure that is published annually by the Council on Language Instruction.

For more information about the Council on Language Instruction, please contact

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