Monday, July 25, 2011

Certificate in Language Studies Introduced at Rio Salado College

Tempe, Ariz. – July 21, 2011 – Due to the ever-growing global economy, second language proficiency is an important skill to compete on the international business platform. Rio Salado College has initiated the first academic certificate in language studies for the Maricopa Community College District. The academic certificate in language studies provides a foundation in the study of culture and documents proficiency in a foreign language.

“Something that is unique to languages is that we all grew up with one, but that doesn’t mean the student has had an academic preparation in that language,” said Dr. Angela Felix, faculty chair of languages. “The academic certificate in language studies is more than saying you know how to speak a language; it is the additional skills as well, that are valuable in the work place.”

The academic certificate is designed to help students demonstrate their language skills to a potential employer or university admissions officer.

“Up until now there has not been a way for students to show proficiency to potential employers or use as evidence to universities,” said Felix. “We have so many students out there that have these valuable skills that have not been validated.”

Rio Salado College offers many elective courses to satisfy requirements for the academic certificate in language studies: with 48 start dates, students can complete their certificate without interruption.

“We never cancel classes,” Felix said. “Students will never need to take a semester off because a class was canceled; this really is one of our strengths in the program.”

Rio Salado College’s program also includes an online language lab that has lowered the cost of acquiring the certificate by providing an alternative to traditional course materials and expensive textbooks.

“We used to charge upwards of $200 for textbooks and course work. Now with the online language lab we have been able to reduce the cost to under $60 and are continuing to try to reduce the cost to students.” said Felix.

According to Felix, the online language lab is more individualized than a traditional in-person class room setting.

“Something that is unique to the online format is that students are getting individualized feedback on every oral assignment,” said Felix. “The feedback is all saved in the student’s grade book; you have that constant feedback loop that is not always available in a large class.”

Felix says there is great value in learning a second language, and the certificate will encourage students to study a language beyond the bare minimum requirements. The academic certificate in language studies satisfies all the requirements for Bachelors of Arts.

Felix added, “I really want our students to know that it is such an important gift and talent to speak another language; and we value it in our community, we value it here at Rio and we want to make sure they take advantage of this opportunity.”
Rio Salado College was founded in 1978 and serves one of the largest online enrollments nationwide. The college was recently recognized as one of eight highly productive institutions of higher education in the nation by McKinsey & Company. Rio Salado offers general education courses as well as a variety of degree and certificate programs with more than 62,000 students enrolled annually. It is also Arizona’s largest provider of Adult Basic Education.

The Maricopa Community College District is one of the largest community college districts in the nation and serves more than 250,000 students annually. It includes 10 colleges - Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Estrella Mountain Community College, GateWay Community College, Glendale Community College, Mesa Community College, Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix College, Rio Salado College, Scottsdale Community College and South Mountain Community College. The District also includes the Maricopa Skill Center, SouthWest Skill Center, several satellite campuses and business/industry, technical and customized training institutes.

Tyler Pace, Rio Salado College

Delynn Bodine, Rio Salado College
480.517.8205(w) 480.215.9456 (c)