By Lucas Reilly
Ohio University’s 1804 Lounge, nested high on the fifth floor of Baker Center, filled with the combined energy of two nations May 20 during the reception for the French for Business Symposium hosted by the Department of Modern Languages.
The department hosted the fourth training workshop offered in the United States in business French May 19-23. Dr. Dominique Duvert, Assistant Professor of Modern Languages, assisted the French Embassy and the French Consulate in Chicago in bringing 18 participants from American universities to the Ohio University campus.
The French Embassy in the United States is committed to help French language programs expand their course offerings. To meet this need, the French Embassy has commissioned the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris-Ile de France (CCIP) to offer training workshops in business French to French professors in American universities.
Madame Maïté Bagarry from the Paris Chamber of Commerce led the 30-hour workshop that will help French professors create new courses in business French or update their course contents. All participants in the workshop who completed the 30-hour training are certified to open test centers for business French that meet the language proficiency levels of the European evaluation system.
The Department of Modern Languages has offered a course in French for Business, taught by Duvert, since 1993. The department’s new certification as a test center creates an important link between French language learning and the professional world for Ohio University students.
Participating professors represented 11 states and Puerto Rico, including Ohio University’s Duvert, who helped coordinate the symposium.
Didier Bertrand of Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis noted that many attending professors held backgrounds in French literature or linguistics and not in business. The move from teaching literature to including classes in business French is in adaptation to modern students’ needs in regards to the language, according to Bertrand.
The methodology learned to teach business French is universal for teaching other popular areas of the language, said Kate Miller of IUIPUI, giving the examples of French for engineers and French for tourism.
“What is worth knowing is that our workshop trainer comes from France and is an expert in training teachers, ” said Juliette Parnell of the University of Nebraska – Omaha. The trainer, Bagarry, has worked similar workshops around the world.
Tomaz Cunningham of Jackson State University called the week “very enjoyable” and “very rigorous….Everyone is leaving with a large amount of resources and networking with colleagues.”
Also in attendance as representatives of OHIO were Associate Provost for Faculty & Academic Planning Dr. Howard Dewald, Vice Provost for Global Affairs L.J. Edmonds, Vice President of Finance and Administration Steve Golding and College of Arts & Sciences Associate Dean Dr. Laurie Russell Hatch.