Center forLanguage Acquisition

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New Center Award for CALPER

New Center Award for CALPER

Congratulations to Dr. Kevin McManus, Director of the Center for Language Acquisition, and the CALPER team, who have been awarded a new grant from the US Department of Education’s Language Resource Center competition. This grant provides four years of funding to support and strengthen the Center for Advanced Language Proficiency Education and Research (CALPER) as a key resource for improving the Nation’s capacity for teaching and learning foreign languages through  research, materials development, and dissemination projects.

Center Description

Since its inception in 2002, the Center for Advanced Language Proficiency Education and Research (CALPER) has focused on the development of high-quality instructional materials as well as teaching and assessment strategies designed to promote advanced levels of proficiency, in both less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) like Arabic, Korean, Russian, and more commonly taught languages like Spanish and German. A defining feature of CALPER is that its projects are informed by cutting-edge research on the learning and teaching of languages as well as current theories of second language (L2) learning and teaching (e.g., Kim et al., 2018; Lantolf & Poehner, 2011). In the current proposal, we significantly extend CALPER’s twenty-year track record in at least three ways. First, our ten new language teaching and learning projects are conceptualized and framed in principles of Usage-Based Language Instruction (UBLI), an evidence-based approach to language teaching sensitive to features of the learning context itself and the experiences and prior language knowledge that learners bring to the classroom (McManus, 2022a; see also McManus, 2019, 2021; Tyler & Ortega, 2018; Verspoor & Nguyen, 2015). Second, all CALPER’s resources and events will be openly available and easily accessible through our well-established online presence (e.g., social media, membership lists, website) and online repositories tailored for specific language learning and teaching communities (e.g., CLTNet for teachers of Chinese in Pennsylvania). As a result, CALPER contributes significantly not only to promoting equity in access to educational resources and opportunities, but also to fostering and encouraging broader participation in open-access and open scholarship initiatives to expand and facilitate dialogue between research and pedagogy (Marsden et al., 2019; Sato et al., 2021). Third, we expand CALPER into a consortium relationship with the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), a Minority-Serving Institution (MSI) located in the second largest city in the Southern US. In these ways, the current proposal extends CALPER as a critical resource for improving the Nation’s capacity for teaching and learning foreign languages, especially LCTLs.


Core management team:

Kevin McManus, Penn State University (Center Director)

Olesya Kisselev, UTSA (Co-Director)

Jialing Wang, Penn State University (Associate Director)

Project Coordinators:

Brody Bluemel, Delaware State University

Becky Huang, UTSA

Amanda Huensch, University of Pittsburgh

Akiko Imamura, Michigan State University

Stephen Looney, Penn State University 

Innhwa Park, West Chester University

Jayoung Song, Penn State University 

Zhongfeng Tian, UTSA

Evaluation Panel:

Victoria Hasko, University of Georgia

Luke Plonsky, Northern Arizona University


$753,012.00 for 4 years