September 1, 2014

UW to help meet critical language need

The University of Wisconsin will help address the U.S. military’s need for foreign language speakers. The UW is one more than 25 schools nationwide which will help train more than 800 ROTC cadets in languages deemed “critical” by the U.S. Department of Defense. Laura Hammond will coordinate Project GO on campus. “The Project GO program staff thinks that we will have 850 to 1,000 ROTC cadets learning language this year across the nation,” she said. “What we are expecting here in Madison is probably closer to 30.”

While the list of critical languages does change from time to time, it currently includes Russian, Turkish, Arabic, Hndi and Urdu. “I think ROTC cadets, as well as other students from around the nation who are doing more area studies programs, is really going to help all of the students sort of see the world in a bigger way,” said Hammond.

UW-Madison recently was awarded nearly $490,000 through Project GO. Hammond says the classes can be quite rigorous – Turkish and Arabic, for example, are offered as “immersion” courses, with the students speaking the foreign language all day long. The Project GO funding provides fellowships for ROTC cadets from all branches of service to enroll this academic year and next summer in domestic and study abroad programs

UW-Madison is an international leader in language education and research, offering instruction in dozens of modern and ancient languages. The UW also is among the few U.S. universities that host Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC programs, which offer students opportunities to earn a commission as an officer in any of the three armed services.