Heritage Language Programs - Russian

Temple University
College of Liberal Arts , Department of French, German, Italian, Slavic

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Address: 5th Floor Anderson Hall, 1114 W. Berks Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122

Contact: Benjamin Rifkin
Professor of Russian

Email: brifkin@temple.edu

Telephone: 215-204-1816

Fax: 215-204-3731

Web address: www.temple.edu/fgis

Type of institution: Research university

Languages taught: Russian

Undergraduate level courses: two-semester sequence

Program Description

Purposes and goals of the program: To provide heritage learners of Russian a foundation for literacy

Type of program:

Program Description: The program was founded in 2006 by a proposal from the Russian program, as approved by the College's Collegial Assembly, the university administration, and ultimately by the Board of Trustees.


Countries of origin: The Russophone world: primarily Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine, but also all the republics of the former Soviet Union

Total student enrollment: Unknown, the program is just beginning.

Age of students: Unknown, the program is just beginning.

Identification of a heritage speaker:


Total number of faculty teaching in the program: 1

Number of part-time instructors: 1

Languages in which faculty members are proficient: I am an educated native speaker of Russian and Ukrainian.


PhD: Russian philology

Professional development opportunities faculty have: Very few, mostly attendance at professional conferences

Professional development opportunities faculty need: Support to attend workshops focusing on heritage e-learning


Student grouping: Students are grouped according to level.

Face-to-face course title: Russian 227: Heritage Russian I, first heritage level

Number of hours: 3 hours per week, over 14 weeks

Online course title: Russian 228: Heritage Russian II

Number of hours: 3 hours per week, over 14 weeks

Language Skills

Heritage Skills:


Special content courses offered: Not yet, but we incorporate some of these into our two-semester sequence


Methodologies and instructional strategies used in the program: Focus on literacy and formality of register


Textbook: Russian for Russians (Slavica, 2006)

Other materials: Various short stories and newspaper articles

Technology used in the program: BlackBoard



Local connections: Local high schools: The program receives students from George Washington High School, Philadelphia, PA.

Opportunities heritage students have outside the college to use their heritage language or develop their cultural knowledge: Northeast Philadelphia has a Russian neighborhood. The program promotes involvement with the community.

What the program has in place

Kinds of assistance or collaboration you would like to receive for your program from other entities: Money to support cultural programming would be extremely helpful.

Special Challenges and Comments

Challenges that your program has experienced: It is hard to say, because we are just getting started. Some questions in this survey were not answered because this is a new program.


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