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Scientific Research on Bilingualism
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Description

This interdisciplinary research-based community of practice conducts empirical research on bilingualism and second language acquisition. We have a broad range of content expertise and use a wide variety of data collection methods and analytic techniques. Our research and training programs have been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Department of Homeland Security. We believe that the global and local importance of bilingual communication make it imperative to achieve a better scientific understanding of bilingualism. UTEP, being located in a bilingual, bicultural, and bi-national region, is the ideal location to conduct basic and applied scientific research on bilingualism. Current activities include developing plans and research proposals for collaborative interdisciplinary research; training in content and methodology for undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty; and mentoring of junior faculty. Our mission is multifaceted and includes (1) conducting and promoting high-quality scientific research on bilingualism and language acquisition; (2) fostering interdisciplinary collaboration; (3) fostering a better understanding of the factors that impact bilingual language proficiency across the lifespan; (4) fostering better understanding of the cognitive, social, educational, and health implications of bilingualism, biculturalism, and linguistic minority status; (5) providing a broad range of training opportunities for UTEP students and faculty, as well as researchers from other institutions; (6) providing consultation for researchers, educators, or health service providers who work with bilingual populations by design or necessity; (7) leveraging the bilingual skills of UTEP students; (8) fostering a better understanding of the global relevance of bilingualism and biculturalism in the scientific community; and (9) disseminating research results to the scientific community, as well as educators, health service providers, and lay people.

Aspirations

We aspire to create a world-class consortium for scientific research on bilingualism and become a national hub for bilingual research and training. In order to advance in this direction, we plan to conduct research that is methodologically rigorous, interdisciplinary, and international; obtain federal research funding for faculty- and student-initiated research projects; and publish in top journals in psychology, linguistics, communication disorders, education, and related fields. Doing so will allow us to attract top graduate student applicants; train undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty from UTEP and elsewhere in a broad range of content areas and methodologies; and provide experiences for researchers to work with diverse populations. With increased visibility, we hope to be considered as a national resource for consulting on bilingual content, methodology, and population-specific research strategies and to attract high-profile scholars for colloquia, workshops, and collaborative research projects. Activities that we hope to incorporate in the future include sponsoring colloquia and workshops, training postdoctoral scholars, hosting a visiting scholars program, and conference organization. We also hope to impact bilingual and linguistic minority communities through education and outreach activities.

KEYWORDS

  1. Bilingualism
  2. Cognition
  3. Communication Disorders
  4. English Learners
  5. Health Disparities
  6. International
  7. Language Acquisition
  8. Learning
  9. Lifespan Development
  10. Memory

UTEP STRATEGIC AREAS

  1. Health and Biomedical Sciences and Engineering
  2. Education for the 21st Century Demographic
  3. Cross-cutting: U.S.-Mexico and Latin America: Social and Behavioral Issues

COMMUNITY MEMBERS

Francis, Wendy
Advocate
Professor
Liberal Arts - Psychology
bilingualism, conceptual representation, lexical access, memory

Assistant Professor
Liberal Arts - Psychology
attention, Cognition, Cognitive Aging, Community Engaged Scholarship, learning, memory, Timing

Assistant Professor
Liberal Arts - Languages and Linguistics
bilingualism, Child Language Acquisition, Psycholinguistics, Syntactic Processing

Assistant Professor
Health Sciences - Speech-Language Pathology
Bilingual Adults, Cognition, Hearing loss, Listening Effort, Speech Perception

Assistant Professor
Liberal Arts - Psychology
bilingualism, dialogue, lexical access, Sentence processing, working memory

Related Efforts

PhD Concentration in Language Acquisition and Bilingualism
UTEP Related Effort

The Language Acquisition and Bilingualism (LAB) Ph.D. concentration is a new option for students who wish to gain solid training in both psychological and linguistic theory and methodology. The program offers students advanced training in the research methods of psychology, particularly those relevant to the study of language, and in the theory and description of linguistic structure, which will significantly enhance their language-oriented research.

Certificate in Quantitative Methods in Psychology
UTEP Related Effort

TBA

MA Program in Linguistics
UTEP Related Effort

The Department emphasizes excellence in research, teaching, learning, and service in linguistics, language(s), literatures, and cultures. We endeavor to produce language-related research of nation/international significance in our various areas of interest.

TESOL certificate
UTEP Related Effort

UTEP Linguistics offers a Certificate in TESOL.

Preparing Bilingually Certified Speech Language Pathologists
UTEP Resource
Education
Connie Summers

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs
Amount: $1,233,630
Funding period: 2014-2019

Equipment
UTEP Resource
Tool

Several eye trackers, including one for children and one for both fixed and free motion
EEG/ERP equipment (to be purchased in 2017)
Two double-walled sound-attenuating booths, one sound-attenuated room
Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) equipment

Laboratory Websites
UTEP Resource
Education

Auditory Science Laboratory (Desjardins)
Bilingual Cognition Laboratory (Francis)
Cognition and Aging Laboratory (Bangert)
Language and Communication Laboratory (Ivanova)
Language Acquisition and Linguistics Research Laboratory (Mazzaro & Contemori)
Psycholinguistic Research on Bilingualism and Reading Laboratory (Schwartz)
Research in Bilingual Language Learning Laboratory (Summers)

Improving word production through comprehension exposure
External Resource
Education
Wendy Francis

Source: National Science Foundation
Amount: $300,000
Funding period: 2016-2019

DIALOG SOURCES

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This community engages in dialog as follows:

None specified to date.