Transforming Language Instruction

Sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

In June 2016 the University of Chicago Language Center (CLC) received a $2 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the project “Transforming Language Instruction at the University of Chicago and Beyond: Collaborative Curricula and Professional Development.” The grant, initially awarded for five years but now extended until June, 2024, began as a way to increase learner access to less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) and support those language instructors through professional development.

UChicago Mellon Workshop Policies and Practices

Taking part in the Transforming Language Instruction project is a demanding and rewarding experience. With that in mind, we adhere to the following policies and practices.

Workshop sequencing and attendance

Participants must follow a specific progression between the workshops. Everyone who participates in the Mellon Transforming Language Instruction project must have completed Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) or Modified Oral Proficiency Interview (MOPI) training led by an ACTFL trainer. The first time you design a test, you must attend the Test Design & Development Workshop. Once you have finished the Test Design Workshop and your test has been developed and approved, you are eligible to participate in the Curriculum Design Workshop for the curriculum that corresponds to the proficiency level and outcomes of the test you have developed.

Participants must attend all sessions of all workshops. Active participation in this workshop is important for achieving the desired workshop outcomes. Each workshop session and its follow up activities builds upon the others to form a cohesive whole.

Ownership of materials and copyrights

In exchange for funding their development, the University of Chicago and the Mellon Foundation own the copyrights to your assessments and curricular materials.  While the developers will always retain full credit for the materials they develop, there are limitations on how the materials may be used.  For example, you may not sell the materials, use them in textbook development or other materials development for profit, or charge others to use or access them in any form. However, we expect and hope that you will use the tests and curricula you develop in your testing and teaching, and that you will make ongoing improvements over time as needed.

We will keep the final version of your materials and may consult with you about allowing other trained UChicago-Mellon participants to use them.

Sharing your work at conferences or in scholarly publications

We encourage you to share the work that you have done with us–you have done a considerable amount of work and have gained expertise in both assessment and curriculum design. We want you to disseminate your work among your peers and in the field. However, when you do put your work into the world, please keep the following in mind, in order to preserve the integrity of the work that you have done:

  • Add a formal acknowledgement  that the work was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the University of Chicago Language Center.
  • Do not share actual assessment tasks. This is to preserve test security. Instead, you may describe the task, or create one that is similar.
  • You may share curricular materials, such as inputs, unit plans, lesson plans, and pre-, during- and post-F2F activities.
  • Do not share the assessment matrix or the curriculum matrix. These are copyrighted materials that belong to the University of Chicago and the Mellon Foundation. You may show a segment, or multiple segments, to show how the matrices work, but do not show the entire matrix (assessment or curriculum), make them downloadable, or distribute them.
  • If you want to share any other documents, for example, the Six Principles, make sure they display the trademark and the copyright information that indicates these cannot be published, in part  or in full, without the formal written consent of the University of Chicago Language Center.

Incentive payments and travel reimbursements

If you travel to our workshops, your reasonable travel expenses (flight, hotel, train, taxi, etc.) including meals will be reimbursed up to pre-established limits.

Upon satisfactory completion of your test development and rubric, an incentive payment of $1000 will be awarded per test (not per person).

For curricular projects, the maximum that can be awarded per person (not per project) is up to $2,000. More detailed information about how payments are determined will be shared with participants during the workshop.

All curricular projects will be shared in presentations organized by the CLC. You will be paid after your presentation for the work you originally proposed and completed. For example, if you proposed to do reading and listening, but in the end you also developed speaking/writing activities, the incentive payment will only cover reading and listening.