CLAC is designed to enrich coursework by encouraging students to study texts and materials in languages other than English, which they typically can’t do in standard content courses due to unavoidable limitations in these settings. The program provides students with opportunities to explore Asian language interests outside of the language classroom and across a wide-ranging curriculum in humanities, social and environmental sciences, or professional fields such as engineering or business. CLAC allows students to integrate Asian language skills into content study in their field of interest, allowing them to enrich their studies of both. As defined by the nationwide CLAC Consortium: "CLAC supports translingual and transcultural competence as a reality for all students, not simply for those who major in a foreign language or participate in immersive study abroad programs. CLAC engages languages and intercultural perspectives to achieve a better and more nuanced understanding of content. It focuses less on bringing disciplinary content or culture into the language classroom than on assimilating languages and cultures into instruction and research across a wide range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary contexts.”
CAS received funding from the College of Arts & Sciences to launch a CLAC pilot project over the 2017-18 academic year. Since then, we have worked with faculty members to develop one-credit CLAC courses taught in conjunction with the following existing courses:
- Introduction to Islam (RLST 2202), Dr. Aun Hasan Ali, Arabic
- Chinese Literature and Popular Culture in Modern China (CHIN 3341), Dr. Andrew Stuckey, Chinese
- Writing Lives: Diaries, Memoirs, Autobiographies, and Letters as Historical Sources in Japan and Japanese America, 1860-1950 (HIST 3718), Dr. Marcia Yonemoto, Japanese
- The Power of the Word: Subversive and Censored 20th-Century Indian and Pakistani Literature (HIND 3811), Dr. Rahul Parson, Hindi/Urdu
- Modern Korean Literature in English Translation (KREN 3841), Dr. Jae Won Chung, Korean
- Screening India: A History of Bollywood Cinema (HIND 3441), Dr. Rahul Parson, Hindi/Urdu (fall semester)
- The Arabic Novel (ARAB 3330), Dr. Levi Thompson, Arabic (fall semester)
- Devotional Literature in South Asia (HIND 3851), Dr. Rahul Parson, Hindi/Urdu (spring semester)
The grant also allowed us to bring CLAC Consortium officers Suronda Gonzalez (CLAC Chair) and JY Zhou (CLAC Secretary/Treasurer) to campus to give public lectures and hold faculty training workshops regarding CLAC:
Video of CLAC: An Effective Approach to Globalizing the Curriculum by Dr. JY Zhou; presented at the University of Colorado Boulder on September 28, 2017.
Video of Engaging International Students through CLAC by Dr. Suronda Gonzalez; presented at the University of Colorado Boulder on April 10, 2018.
We also hosted Expanding Inclusive Excellence and Intercultural Competency: Content Instruction through a Multicultural and Bilingual Lens on February 16, 2021. Click the link to view the presentations and discussion from the event, where faculty members who have added CLAC to their course offerings shared their experiences and talked about the benefits and opportunities that CLAC has to offer.
We encourage faculty members with an interest in CLAC to contact CAS Executive Director Danielle Rocheleau Salaz to discuss options for getting involved. You can also take a look at our Course Development Checklist and Resources to start thinking about how to CLAC your class.
"Reading in Hindi closely gives [the CLAC students] a closeness to the text that is unique. I want to say that there's an investment in the text that is different because they're invested in how the text now gets interpreted. They almost become "politicized" by the translation. They are interested in how the information gets processed between languages. The confidence the [CLAC] students gained has also really empowered them in the parent class. It has changed the way they are reading in the main course … I actually think the students in the parent course are envious of the CLAC students." Dr. Rahul Bjorn Parson, Assistant Professor of Hindi Studies, Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley (left CU in 2020)
"The CLAC focus has been on developing the students’ Japanese reading skills. They’re translating letters from the Japanese battle front, and I want them to bring what they’ve seen and learned to the main course. Because the CLAC students have done the extra work, they’re more engaged in the main class. They’re already good students, but they’re more tuned to sources and the nuances that are in them. They’re improving at reading and questioning the details of a translation. They’re also learning about the experience of translating, which is new to a lot of people." Dr. Marcia Yonemoto, Professor of History
“I was interested in the CLAC class because over the past few years as more and more students in China have been enrolling in my English-language classes, I’ve seen a need to have a space where they could use their own language in ways that they would understand would benefit the overall educational process.” Dr. Andrew Stuckey, Assistant Professor, Asian Languages and Civilizations (has since left CU)
“I learned a lot about Arabic cultures worldwide. I particularly loved discussing current events and by consequence gaining a better understanding of Arab culture.”
“It was the first opportunity I have had to use [my native] Chinese in Colorado.”
“The CLAC course increased my confidence with Japanese and inspired me to seek out other materials in the language.”
For more information about CLAC:
- CLAC Consortium Homepage
- CLAC 101 Basic Introduction and Tutorials
- CLAC Clearinghouse Publications
- Developing Responsible Global Citizenship Through Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum (CLAC): Selected Papers from the 2016 CLAC Conference, edited by Dan Soneson and Caleb Zilmer and published by the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) at the University of Minnesota, 2018.