UTSA | COEHD | University of Texas at San Antonio | College of Edcuation and Human Development
Mon, January 20, 2020

Sidury Christiansen selected by U.S. Dept. of State for English language specialist assignment

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The U.S. Department of State announced the selection of Dr. M. Sidury Christiansen of The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) for a two-week English Language Specialist project focusing on writing centers and academic writing for publishing in Russia. She will be working at three different universities and a research consortium in the cities of Kazan, Samara, and Moscow. Christiansen is part of a select group, as one of approximately 80 U.S. citizens each year selected to serve on an English Language Specialist assignment.

"The U.S. Department of State English Language Program is a tremendous opportunity for the college to continue our research and scholarship on an international level," said Dr. Margo DelliCarpini, dean of the College of Education and Human Development. "We are very proud of Dr. Christiansen's selection into this prestigious program. Her work in linguistics and digital literacy will be a wonderful asset to the program, and to the educators, students, and researchers she will work with during her time in Russia."

Christiansen, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of TESOL/Applied Linguistics in the UTSA College of Education and Human Development's Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies, and is a former Fulbright Scholar. In her research and pedagogical practice, she has explored the intersections between literacy and language ideologies, identities, and culture online. In the area of digital literacy, her current work focuses on the use of digital technologies for second language writing development (e.g., digital storytelling, use of apps and video making to advance academic essay writing). In this project, Christiansen will help Russian academics on two fronts: first, she will help Russian universities develop writing centers to aid English for Academic Purposes (EAP) development in undergraduate and graduate students. Second, she will help the academic community learn the rules of academic writing and research for international journals beginning with teaching notions on the foundation of solid research.

"I'm in a new stage in my career where I am able to both publish my research and inform and advance theory," said Christiansen. "This honor to go to Russia on behalf of UTSA and the U.S. Department of State provides me the opportunity to share this theory with practitioners internationally to improve the English language learning experience of students around the world."

The English Language Specialist Program is the premier opportunity for leaders in the field of teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) to enact meaningful and sustainable changes in the way that English is taught abroad. Through projects developed by U.S. Embassies in more than 80 countries, EL Specialists work directly with local teacher trainers, educational leaders, and ministry of education officials to exchange knowledge, build capacity, and establish partnerships benefiting participants, institutions, and communities in the United States and overseas.

Since 1991, the English Language Specialist Program has sent hundreds of TESOL scholars and educators abroad to promote English language learning, enhance English teaching capacity, and foster mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries through cultural exchange. On assignment, EL Specialists may conduct intensive teacher training, advise ministries of education or participate in high-level educational consultations, and offer plenary presentations at regional, national or international TESOL conferences. These projects are challenging and those selected represent the best of the U.S. TESOL community. In return, the program provides professional development opportunities to help participants experience different cultures and build skills that can greatly enhance their TESOL careers back home.

"I'm looking forward to the exchange of ideas with English language teaching scholars in Russia and to the many fruitful connections that I can create for UTSA," said Christiansen.

English Language Specialists are counted among the more than 50,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. The Specialist Program is administered by the Center for Intercultural Education and Development at Georgetown University.

For further information about the English Language Specialist Program or the U.S. Department of State, please visit our website, contact us by telephone at 202-632-6452, or e-mail ECA-Press@state.gov.


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