Institute for Applied Linguistics receives $1 million grant


Kent State University President Beverly Warren (left) receives a $1 million grant for the university’s Institute for Applied Linguistics from Mary and Ted Gawlicki of the Gawlicki Family Foundation.

Ray Padilla

The Gawlicki Family Foundation granted Kent State’s Institute for Applied Linguistics (IAL) $1 million to fund the development of distance learning translation studies programs.

“We are tremendously grateful to the Gawlicki Family Foundation for this transformational gift,” Kent State President Beverly Warren stated in a press release. “It will enable us to better fulfill our global mission by bringing our outstanding translational studies program to the world through a high-quality, technology-rich distance learning platform.”

The funding will provide resources to create a new faculty position, new technology infrastructure and develop distance learning courses. Distance learning courses enable students to watch lectures online without being in a classroom setting. One online program is already established at Kent State but the fund will enable a new one.

“The distance learning program will be delivered using best practices for online teaching,” said Françoise Massardier-Kenney, director of the Institute for Applied Linguistics, via email. “Taking full advantage of online technology (will) provide students with an experience that provides plenty of opportunities for group work, group conversation and workshops.”

IAL is a research and training program within the College of Arts and Sciences. The Department of Modern and Classical Language Students partnered with IAL.

“The Gawlicki Family Foundation is interested in a few different areas and one of them is translator training,” Massardier-Kenney said in the press release. “They were noticing that their best translators were nearing retirement age, and there were very few people coming up. So they started doing research about translation programs in the U.S. and then contacted me to discuss what could be done to provide greater access to first-rate training.”

During Massardier-Kenney’s discussion with the foundation, she proposed an idea on what it would take to provide greater access to first rate training. One of those options was online programs. Kent State has a critical mass of faculty with translation expertise and a very large graduate program with international reputation, Massardier-Kenney said.

She said its graduates are well-regarded in the language industry and donors had a successful translation facility. With the two together, the program can reach students globally.

IAL was founded in 1988 and serves more than 100 students at both at graduate and undergraduate levels. IAL’s degree curriculums provide a foundation in translation studies for languages such as German, Spanish and Arabic.

The Gawlicki Family Foundation provides grants to organizations with ideas that can make a difference. Their focus areas include: educational initiative, healthcare initiatives, translation degree programs and municipal and economic development programs.

The translation training courses, available in Kent State’s Translation M.A. programs, will now become available to students who cannot take two years off to attend class at Kent State. 

Ray Padilla is the academics reporter, contact him at [email protected].