Dartmouth College’s Rassias Center for World Languages and Cultures operates under the Office of the Provost. Its overall goal is to promote cultural understanding and to strengthen communication among people around the world. More specifically, this translates into a mission of training teachers in various aspects of the Rassias Method® as well as offering world language instruction to a diverse group of students. These students include Dartmouth College graduate students, Upper valley community members (children and adults), and visitors to Hanover from around the world, including executives, government employees, medical residents, educators, and travelers.
John Rassias, William R. Kenan Professor of French and Italian, developed this method for teaching language while training Peace Corps volunteers in the early 1960’s. He adapted it to teaching Dartmouth undergraduates in 1967. Since then, thousands of students have learned languages via the Rassias Method at Dartmouth and at many other schools, colleges and universities around the world. In 1978-79, Professor Rassias served on President Carter’s Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies, which sought to develop national policy guidelines for improving foreign language study in the United States. He has received grants to further language instruction via the Rassias Method from such major corporations and foundations as the Dana Foundation, Exxon, The New York Times, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
The mission of all Rassias offerings is to enrich lives by improving communication among people. Rassias Method instruction strives to make language learning a “whole science” in which students engage themselves fully in another culture and its language. According to John Rassias, the essence of the human experience is to recognize our connection with others and to strengthen these connections through real communication. As Prof. Rassias often says, “We talk about learning a ‘foreign language,’ but as soon as we begin to speak the language, it is no longer foreign.” The excitement and the power of being able to communicate, even at a basic level, is the heart of the Rassias Method.
Many of the Rassias Center’s (RC’s) workshops are Dartmouth College alumni-driven initiatives for example, workshops with First Nation in Canada, Native American people, Breakthrough New Haven and support in the founding of a language department at Quest University in British Columbia.
The Rassias Center works both on and off campus to achieve its missions. The flagship Accelerated Language Programs (ALPs) offers language and culture classes over the course of a ten-day intensive summer program on the Dartmouth campus. In addition to this program for adults, we periodically offer one- and two-week programs for youths.
On campus, the Rassias Center pools resources with the faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Thayer and Tuck Schools to bring English language instruction to entering graduate students from around the globe. RC has also created pre-project Spanish immersions with the Tucker Foundation. These intensive weekend programs have been fashioned to work with students, professors, community members and medical professionals before traveling to Nicaragua. RC is also a member of the College’s American University of Kuwait initiative.
At the beginning of every term, Professor Rassias or an RC representative presents at the Drill Instructor General Orientation to explain the philosophy of the Rassias Method to prospective Assistant Teachers (ATs). The four-day Drill Instructor training is conducted by individual departments.
RC’s town and gown offerings have included French and Spanish before school programs to Ray and Marion Cross School students and Community language courses for adults.
The Rassias Center staff is composed of John A. Rassias, Founding President, Helene C. Rassias-Miles, Executive Director, Donna L. Hill, Manager, Programs and Finance, and Yukiko Honda, Administrative Assistant.
Last Updated: 12/8/15