Faculty liaisons work in close conjunction with language assistants regarding their work for their language programs. Further, in the case of departments with language floors, faculty liaisons serve on the Language Floor Advisory Board and collaborate with the Office of Residential Life to help shape policy and decisions regarding the language floors.
Language Instructor in Italian; Director of the Language Assistant Program
A clinical psychologist, Morena Svaldi has extensive research experience in the field. At Mount Holyoke, she teaches Italian at all levels, with a special interest in blended learning, teaching with technology, methodology and pedagogy in second language acquisition. Her research has been funded by several Five Colleges Mellon Grants. In 2014, Svaldi became the Faculty Director of the Language Assistant Program.
Five College Lecturer in Arabic
Heba Arafah teaches Modern Standard Arabic and Levantine. Her research interests include social psychology of language, second language acquisition, bicultural identity and multilingualism. Prior to joining Mount Holyoke, she worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as a resettlement interviewer and interpreter in Jordan.
Esther Castro Cuenca
Senior Lecturer in Spanish and Spanish Language Program Director
Esther Castro Cuenca is a Senior Lecturer and the language program director of the Department of Spanish, Latina/o, and Latin American Studies. Her research focuses on second language acquisition, cognitive linguistics, and interfaces between psycholinguistics and language learning/teaching. She teaches various levels of Spanish language as well as courses on linguistics, translation, and second language acquisition and pedagogy.
Language Instructor in Spanish
Flávia Cunha is a Language Instructor at the department of Spanish, Latina/o, and Latin American Studies. Her main research interests are second language acquisition, applied linguistics, and bilingualism, with a focus or heritage speakers of Portuguese and Spanish and on the relationship between cultural identity and heritage speakers’ level of proficiency in their minority language.
Senior Lecturer in French
Nancy Holden-Avard is a senior lecturer in French. Her research interests include second language acquisition, technology-enhanced learning, error analysis and transcultural competence. She enjoys inventing creative ways of empowering students to enhance their own learning, such as through mnemonic devices, feedback-rich digital dictations, and elaborate feasts of food and drink from multiple Francophone countries. A significant contributor to the establishment of language floors at Mount Holyoke, Holden-Avard is committed to maximizing opportunities for students to grow by fully engaging in cultural and linguistic explorations that expand their view of themselves and their world.
Five College Lecturer of Russian, Director of Three College Russian Initiative
Susanna Nazarova's research interests include linguistics, translation, and applied linguistics. At Moscow State University, she also studied Urdu and Hindi and spent time in India researching the verbal systems of these languages. Susanna Nazarova teaches Russian language and literature and has co-authored several Russian language textbooks. She enjoys using authentic texts in the language classroom, teaching language through art, and leading workshops in language pedagogy.
Professor of Asian Studies
Naoko Nemoto often travels to Hawaii… to be trained at the National Foreign Language Resource Center! She recently completed their summer institute on Project Based Language Learning. She is currently working on a video mini-lecture series that is supported by 5 College Blended Learning Grants for her content-based Japanese course. She is eager to transform her students to “21st Century” language learners.
Five College Lecturer in Korean
Kyae-Sung Park teaches Korean at all levels. Her research interests include first (L1) and second (L2) language acquisition, Korean linguistics, and language pedagogy. She is interested in the discourse effects of information structure on native and non-native speakers’ choices in word‑order alternations. Her research is concerned with whether properties pertaining to different linguistic and extralinguistic levels cause difficulties for L2 learners – and if so, how these difficulties can be theoretically explained and then practically overcome in the L2 classroom.
Donna Van Handle
Senior Lecturer in German Studies; Dean of International Students
Donna Van Handle is Senior Lecturer in German Studies and Dean of International Students. Her specialities include cross-cultural education and learning, second language acquisition, and the use of technology in language teaching and research. In her role as dean she offers programming and support for international students and coordinates activities that celebrate international diversity. Her goal is to help international students learn about other cultures with differing viewpoints, perspectives and belief systems so that they can engage with their new community in a respectful way.
Senior Lecturer in Asian Studies
Lisha Xu teaches all levels of Chinese, from beginners to advanced. Her research focuses on technology-assisted language learning, translation and language learning.