The Foreign Language Teacher Education program has a new director. Jude Krushnowski (BS, ’10, psychology and Hispanic linguistics; MA, ’19, linguistics) will be taking over the role after serving as interim co-director of the program with Florencia Henshaw during the 2021-22 academic year.
His vision for the program aligns with areas of high priority for SLCL and the College of LAS, including expanding the program and increasing visibility with a focus on recruiting students of diverse backgrounds
"I am excited for the work of promoting the program and helping it grow,” said Krushnowski. “The pandemic has presented challenges in terms of enrollment, so there is much to be done, but this also presents opportunities.”
We recently caught up with Krushnowski and spoke with him about his new role.
What inspired you to officially take the role on, after serving as interim co-director this year?
I am incredibly humbled, honored, and grateful to officially serve as director of the Foreign Language Teacher Education program, and I decided to take on this role for several reasons. I was inspired by Elena Delgado’s leadership and her unwavering support and advocacy for the FLTE program. I was also inspired by my co-director, Florencia Henshaw, who brings out the best in everyone around her. Moreover, as interim co-director, I had the opportunity to work with members of the Spanish, French, and Latin programs, and I was moved by their commitment to the growth and success of the FLTE program. I was also inspired by the passion of the educators from local schools who guide and mentor our teacher candidates as they prepare to begin their careers. They are vital to our community, and the FLTE program has been successful because of their consistent support over the years. Finally, FLTE boasts a long history of excellence in training outstanding teachers that go on to engage and empower their students and shape the field, and as a graduate of the program myself, I wanted to steward and cultivate that tradition of excellence and serve the program that has given me so much.
What are you hoping to accomplish as the new director?
My goal as the new director is to increase the visibility of the FLTE program and awareness of its offerings. Many students and faculty are not familiar with what we do or how the program operates, and my goal is to inform more people of the program and its mission through increased outreach and community engagement. Another goal is to grow enrollment overall and with a focus on increasing our representation of students from diverse backgrounds. There is a world language teacher shortage, and a teacher shortage in general, both in the state of Illinois and around the county, and my goal is to help meet this need by inspiring and preparing future teachers. I would also like to expand the offerings of the program to potentially include licensure in other languages.
What are you most excited about when it comes to this position?
I am excited for the work of promoting the program and helping it grow. The pandemic has presented challenges in terms of enrollment, so there is much to be done, but this also presents opportunities, and I am ready to get started. I am also excited to work with our current teacher candidates. They are passionate and bring fresh perspectives into the field, and I am eager to continue supporting them in their journey of becoming World Language teachers.
What do you want people to know about FLTE?
I would like people to know that the Foreign Language Teacher Education (FLTE) program is open to undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in pursuing licensure as a world language teacher at the K-12 level in the state of Illinois. We are not a standalone program; rather, students complete our program in addition to their program of study, and licensure can be completed in three semesters. Currently, our program offers licensure in Spanish, French, German, and Latin, and I am hoping to add more languages to that list.
How did your time as a student at Illinois prepare you for the work you’re doing now?
My time at Illinois has prepared me for the role of FLTE director in a few ways. The coursework and close mentorship of the outstanding faculty have prepared me to apply core concepts such as language acquisition theory, pedagogy, equity, and culturally responsive education to the curricular design of the FLTE program. Moreover, my experience teaching Spanish and ESL at Illinois, as well as with Champaign Unit 4 Schools, will guide me in mentoring teacher candidates on the opportunities and the challenges of the teaching profession. Finally, as an FLTE graduate, I am intimately familiar with the program from a student perspective and will use this experience to continue building upon the many strengths of FLTE.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to reiterate my gratitude for this opportunity, my passion for the work that I am doing, and my commitment to the continued excellence of the Foreign Language Teacher Education program.
Dania De La Hoya Rojas