Thirty Years of Collaboration
Mary Jane Kelley, Co-director OVLFA
The Ohio Valley Foreign Language Alliance celebrated its 30th anniversary at Ohio University in Athens on Saturday, November 2, 2013. The Alliance was established in 1983 with funding from a nation-wide NEH project under the leadership of Claire Gaudiani, whose vision was to create a language alliance of K-12 and college faculty in every state. Since 1983 the OVFLA has provided a forum for college and K-12 language teachers to share ideas on approaches to teaching and to discuss developments in the field, and perhaps most importantly to network with colleagues from around SE and Central Ohio.
Saturday’s meeting was typical: a distinguished speaker (Teri Wiechart, President of OFLA), whose presentation on upcoming challenges for teachers elicited a lively question and answer dialogue; a “mini-lesson” by charter member Barb Reichenbach about contextualizing verb practice; and, for this occasion, a review of the Alliance’s history and accomplishments by Barry Thomas and Lois Vines, two of the founding members.
While the work of the OVFLA has brought state and national recognition and funding to individual members and the Department of Modern Languages, perhaps one of the major accomplishments was a grant-funded effort to promote alliances in all areas of the state. In 1989 this led to the formation of 16 new alliances of colleges and high schools in Ohio. Not all of them are still functioning, but the vision of collaboration and professional development remains strong in locally sponsored workshops and the regional opportunities for teachers offered by OFLA in addition to the annual state conference.
OVFLA continues to go strong after 30 years, and we look forward to celebrating #40 in 2023!
Founding members Carma Jean Rousch of Morgan High School (l), Barbara Reichenbach of Ohio University (2nd from l), and Barry Thomas of Ohio University (r), converse with OVFLA directors Mary Jane Kelley and Fred Toner before the program begins.
Invited speaker Teri Wiechart, President of OFLA, addresses the audience.