Cornell’s Languages Across the Curriculum (LAC) program was recently featured in The Washington Post. Part of a growing national movement, LAC offers flexible models of instruction that gives students multiple opportunities to meaningfully use languages they know or are learning while integrating language into disciplinary areas. LAC addresses the interest of college students to maintain or expand their language proficiency despite busy course schedules that often do not allow them to take a traditional multi-credit course sequence in a world language.
At Cornell, LAC classes add one-credit language sections to courses across the university. The focus of LAC classes is not language itself but rather field-specific academic discourse, specialized vocabulary, and technical terms drawn from the academic parent class. In addition to preparing students for the multilingual and multicultural perspectives of today’s world, LAC provides valuable teaching opportunities for graduate students in the disciplines and underscores the importance of language as a means to access, generate, and disseminate knowledge.
Since Cornell’s LAC program was launched in the spring of 2016 with funding from the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs, the Language Resource Center has set up over 60 courses in 13 languages across six colleges. Since fall 2018 the program has been funded through the College of Arts & Sciences.
Some examples of LAC courses are Indonesian for Southeast Asian Politics, Italian for Baroque Violin Performance, Latin for Wine Culture, Portuguese for Inventions of Brazil, Spanish for Molecular Diagnostics, and Yoruba for Introduction to Africana Studies.