Welcome to the Language and Culture Learning Center (otherwise known as The Language Labs) at Sonoma State University. The Center is intended to contribute to a globally-focused liberal arts and science education that will allow students to become global citizens both at home and abroad as they learn to participate in an ever more interconnected, diverse and complex world. Language and culture learning experiences are at the core of this transformative, life-changing education as our students learn new ways of being in the world, and seeing themselves and other people. The Center has the goal of being a place of information and inspiration for the teaching and learning of language and culture.
The Language & Culture Learning Center @SSU is guided by several principles:
- Intercultural, global-local learning
- Quality of student learning experience
- Community, collaboration & interaction
- Critical awareness of diversity
In order to provide globally transformative educational experiences for our students, we are creating a new Language & Culture Learning Center @ Sonoma State. It is a new dynamic, multi-purpose, learner-centered learning space designed around human interaction, digital media and wireless technologies in Stevenson Hall. A central piece of this project is the recent renovation of our current 1028 Stevenson Hall Language Lab, an out-dated facility that no longer met the needs of a global educational experience.
As a unique feature of SSU, the new Language & Culture Learning Center is designed to:
- create an accessible and inviting space for language and culture learning in the residential setting of the SSU undergraduate experience;
- provide a technologically-enhanced, pedagogically-flexible, multi-purpose space dedicated to learning languages in an intercultural setting;
- provide state-of-the-art digital language and culture learning technology and materials;
- increase language learning possibilities at SSU through multiple study options (e.g. self-study; hybrid courses) and a wider choice of languages, particularly strategic and less-commonly taught languages (e.g., Chinese, Arabic);
- prepare our students to study and work in global, multilingual and multicultural situations in the United States and abroad;
- foster interaction between SSU students coming from diverse backgrounds in the United States and from abroad;
- offer a venue for connecting SSU students to larger local and global communities.
Think of this space as a contact zone where the local meets the global, where the experience of learning to be, to think and interact within and across languages and cultures transforms lives.
Embodying these principles and goals, the Language and Culture Learning Center provides a number of ongoing and future activities available to lower-division students in Modern Languages & Literatures, as well as to the broader campus community. These learning activities include (but are not limited to):
- Conversation groups mediated by expert speakers;
- Viewing and discussing international audio-visual/digital material in pairs and groups;
- Reading and discussing print and digital texts with cultural content;
- Access to digital and online learning programs, particularly for self-study and hybrid courses;
- Study/tutoring individually and in groups in a space dedicated to language learning;
- Hands-on, project-based assignments that interface with language learning curriculum and the use of technology;
- Service Learning projects that connect SSU students to diverse language communities in Sonoma County (e.g., Spanish language learners to Spanish speaking communities);
- Assessment (placement testing, make-up tests);
- Intercultural events (e.g., films, lectures, club meetings);
- Information on language learning opportunities, SSU language programs, student language clubs, and study abroad programs;
- Classroom space dedicated to foreign- and second-language courses.
Why We Changed Our Name
In moving beyond the traditional “language lab” model , the Language and Culture Learning Center is dedicated to Sonoma State University’s liberal arts mission of graduating students who have the ability to think critically, socially, and ethically.
Reflecting SSU’s membership in the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), the Language and Culture Learning Center is committed to experimenting with and critically evaluating its practices in order to become ever better at its focused educational mission, consistent with SSU’s recognition of cultural diversity and intellectual diversity as integral to its educational program , the Language and Culture Learning Center recognizes that language is more than words; it is a way of being in the world, and language learning ultimately involves understanding the world through the lens of other ways of seeing, feeling, hearing and communicating.