COLLEGE STATION, July 14, 2008: Texas A&M University has received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to help strengthen the abilities of future military officers in language and cultural competency.
The grant, part of the 2008 Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Language and Culture Project, is for two years and is renewable for a third year, for a total amount of $750,000.
Offered through the National Security Education Program on behalf of the Defense Language Office, the grant will be used to create both on-campus and overseas programs to enable students in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets to gain greater exposure to the Chinese and Arabic-speaking worlds, as well as to create courses and other programs to improve language skills.
The project is a collaborative effort between four Texas A&M units ? the Institute for Pacific Asia (IPA), the Corps of Cadets, the Study Abroad Programs Office and the Arabic and Asian Language Office in the College of Liberal Arts.
University officials say diversifying and globalizing the Texas A&M community are top priorities as the institution seeks to expand the number of students involved in study abroad programs and to strengthen leadership skills in a global context. They add that the grant will help reinforce courses in critical languages, as well as provide scholarships for cadets to study abroad in China and in the Arab world, participate in on-campus summer language immersion programs, interact with current military officers serving around the globe and participate in other programs to enhance their cross-cultural competence.
Currently, approximately 1,800 young men and women are members of Texas A&M?s Corps of Cadets and a significant portion of these cadets are members of the ROTC. With Air Force, Army and Naval (Navy and Marine Corps) ROTC instruction available, Texas A&M stands as one of the few schools to offer military commissions in all branches of the service and typically is a leader nationally in commissioning officers into the armed forces.
?We have created this program to address a specific need in national security, which is cultural and linguistic fluency among U.S. military officers,? said Randy Kluver, director of the Institute for Pacific Asia at Texas A&M and the principal investigator of the project. ?Texas A&M?s unique role in forging leadership for the armed services makes us a natural choice for creating a program to train future leaders with linguistic and cultural competence.?
Charles Johnson, dean of Texas A&M?s College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M, said the demand for Chinese and Arabic language programs, as well as other of the designated ?critical languages? for national security, has been growing rapidly in the last two years. ?The Arabian and Asian Language Office was established in 1997 to answer to the campus and national need for fluency in Arabic, Chinese and Japanese,? Johnson said, ?and as interest in these languages continues to expand, we will be able to offer advanced classes in each language.?
The ROTC Language and Culture Project provides opportunities for ROTC cadets and midshipmen to study the languages and cultures of world regions critical to U.S. national security and prepares them to respond to the global challenges of the 21st century.
Texas A&M is one of eight recipients of this 2008 grant. Other recipients are Arizona State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Louisiana State University, North Georgia College and State University, The University of South Florida, The University of Utah and The Virginia Military Institute.
For more information about this new language program for ROTC at Texas A&M, visit the IPA Web site at www.ipa.tamu.edu , or e-mail Carmen Suen at firstname.lastname@example.org .
For more information about the 2008 Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Language and Culture Project, visit the Department of Defense Web site at http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=11924 .