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“BYU should become the acknowledged language capital of the world.”
Spencer W. Kimball, 1975

The Center for Language Studies, housed within the BYU College of Humanities, strives to fulfill the university’s mission of "Enter to learn. Go forth to serve." The Center strives to maintain the core competencies valued by the BYU College of Humanities, especially Cultural Literacy and Language Proficiency.

Our Mission

The Center for Language Studies helps learners acquire the advanced language and cultural skills they need for their personal enrichment and for global careers in any of the University’s academic disciplines.

Our Motivation

In pursuing the CLS mission, we are motivated by the following convictions:

A BYU student performs a dance for the president of Kiribati.

  • Advanced language learning brings advanced cultural insights, increases global understanding, and reveals the limitations of any monolingual view of the world.
  • Knowledge of more than one language increases language awareness and sensitivity, promotes life-long learning, and is a hallmark of the educated person.
  • The second language skills of BYU’s faculty and students are a “core BYU competency.” *
  • They provide students with “access to a wide variety of markets.”
  • They “make a significant contribution to the perceived customer benefits” of hiring BYU graduates.
  • They would “be difficult for competitors [other universities] to imitate.”

Our Goals

The Center for Language Studies provides strategic planning and assessment services for the College of Humanities, oversees special-purpose language resource centers, supports 12 departmental major and minor language programs, and provides instruction in 40+ additional languages.  The Center’s goals can be grouped into four functional areas:

Providing Instruction

  • We provide students with the professional language skills, cultural knowledge, and ethical standards required for global careers and world-wide service – regardless of their major field of study.
  • We offer professional development and graduate study options that will prepare professional language educators to teach, conduct research, develop curricula, create tests, and manage second language programs.
  • We increase the language proficiency and cultural awareness of all BYU students.
  • We raise the general public’s awareness of the value of second language skills.

Assessing Student Programs and Outcomes

  • We create a culture of assessment, accountability, reflection, and innovation.
  • We improve language programs through data-driven decision-making.

Conducting Research

  • We link linguistic theories to pedagogical strategies.
  • We engage in scholarly research on language teaching, learning and assessment.
  • We use research results to enhance instructional practices and learning behaviors.

Developing Materials

  • We develop the curricula, tests, and technologies needed to support the Center’s instructional, assessment, and research goals.
  • We coordinate and collaborate with other national development projects to accomplish more than would be possible with the Center’s resources alone.

*  “The Core Competence of the Corporation,” C.K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel in Harvard Business Review.  May-June 1990, p 83.

Contact Us

BYU Center for Language Studies
3086 Joseph F. Smith Building