Professor Chevalier visits Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center
Associate Professor Frances Chevalier, Chair of Modern Languages and Director of the Language Laboratory, recently participated in an extensive visit of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) at the Presidio of Monterey -- the world's largest foreign-language institute -- in Monterey, California. Chevalier's mission was to determine how Norwich can better serve the nation's and students' foreign-language needs to address security and global issues.
At the DLIFLC, Professor Chevalier discussed the foreign-language needs of the federal government with Dr. Ray Clifford, Chancellor; Dr. Susan Steele, Provost; and Dr. Benjamin De La Selva, Dean of the European and Latin American School at the institution.
"It is very clear that the demand for military and government personnel with foreign-language and cultural proficiency at the advanced level is at an all-time high," Chevalier said. "There exists a shortage in the military, in federal agencies, and in business that is described at the national level as a critical need."
Norwich University, through its modern language programs in French, German, and Spanish, offers students an opportunity to prepare for positions in a variety of fields that include an international or global focus.
Professor Chevalier was instrumental in setting up an exchange program with the French Military Academy, the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, in an effort to provide an opportunity for Norwich cadets studying French to advance their linguistic and cultural proficiency in a true immersion experience. The Norwich professor said that she is looking forward to developing other opportunities for students to participate in immersion experiences overseas using the target language as a primary language of communication. Professor Chevalier said that the DLI has been expanding and is working to prepare linguists as quickly as possible. Despite this, the national shortage remains critical.
During her visit, Prof. Chevalier was able to observe DLI classes of French, German, and Spanish (languages that are also offered at Norwich). She was also briefed on Middle East School I and observed a class session in beginning Arabic - a language that she said she would like to one day see offered at Norwich, as well.
Chevalier's visit was coordinated by Natela Cutter, DLI Director of Alumni Relations, who also provided information regarding statistical trends. Prof. Chevalier said that she was very impressed by the leadership, students, and the operations of the DLI and looks forward to an ongoing discussion with those she met. Opportunities for partnering in some areas may be possible and will be further explored.
"The Defense Language Institute in Monterey is bursting at the seams with students from federal agencies and the military, instructors, and administrators, all dedicated to one thing: the development of foreign-language and culturally proficient linguists to address the global challenges of today," Chevalier said. "This visit was a fantastic opportunity to meet with those who know first-hand the importance of foreign-language proficiency in the field, in intelligence, and in strategic planning. I cannot emphasize enough to our Norwich students, regardless of their major, the importance of taking advantage of our language courses here, to minor in French, German, or Spanish, " Chevalier said.