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Last Updated: Monday, January 30, 2023 11:33am

LLILAS Benson Receives $2.1 Million Department of Education Grants

US Department of Education Grants graphic

LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections has been awarded Comprehensive National Resource Center (NRC) and Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) grants from the U.S. Department of Education. The total award is $2,183,792 for the 2022–2026 cycle. This includes $1,027,492 ($256,873 annually) for NRC activities and $1,156,300 ($289,075 annually) for FLAS fellowships. The grant will be managed by LLILAS Director Adela Pineda Franco in the role of Project Director.

The funds will support outreach, program development, and fellowships in line with three central priorities mandated by the Department of Education’s Title VI.

The first priority is to encourage diverse perspectives and meet national needs for Latin American Studies regional and language expertise. NRC funds will support expansion of LLILAS public and scholarly programs for career training, professional school partnerships, and curricular development. They will also support less commonly taught language programs through targeted Benson Collection enrichment and ongoing online language instruction development focused on Portuguese, Quechua, K’iche’, and Nahuatl, including open-source materials. FLAS fellowships will be awarded each academic year and summer to BA, MA, and PhD students. The languages designated by Title VI as high priority for the 2022–2026 cycle include Portuguese, Quechua, Kaqchikel, Guaraní, and Haitian Creole.

The second Title VI priority, teacher training, is designed to bring Latin American Studies content into K–12 classrooms. LLILAS Benson’s initiatives in this area will feature collaborations with the UT College of Education, UTeach, and Hemispheres, UT’s consortium of National Resource Centers.

The third Title VI priority involves partnerships with minority-serving institutions and community colleges, and is designed to internationalize curriculum and elevate the study of Latin America and Latin American languages. NRC funds will support LLILAS Benson’s ongoing collaboration with Hemispheres, Huston-Tillotson University, and Austin Community College to strengthen global studies programs and develop faculty expertise in Latin America. Other key partners include Texas State University, University of Texas at El Paso, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, University of New Mexico, and University of Arizona. 

LLILAS Benson’s application to the Department of Education highlights The University of Texas at Austin’s status as home of one of the largest, most dynamic Latin American Studies programs in the country, as well as the Benson’s importance as the hemisphere’s premier academic research library focused on Latin America. 

“Receipt of this funding will allow us to continue to do meaningful work that has an impact on transnational and regional communities of practice,” said LLILAS Director and Project Director Pineda Franco. “The programs supported by our grant proposal will have long-term and deep impact, encouraging horizontal engagement with Latin American and U.S. partners. Their value extends far beyond the boundaries of Latin Americanists, as they will serve to further position UT Austin as a significant training ground for students and professionals with advanced language knowledge and deep expertise in Latin America.” 

“The LLILAS Benson partnership has expanded the Benson’s role as a hub for teaching, research, intellectual exchange, and outreach,” said Melissa Guy, director of the Benson Latin American Collection. “The Title VI grant will support access to these resources to audiences beyond the university through workshops, open-access curriculum, teacher training, and traveling exhibitions.”

LLILAS Benson is a partnership between the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) and the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection. Funding for NRC and FLAS Fellowship programs is provided by a Title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of International and Foreign Language Education.

For more information, contact Susanna Sharpe, LLILAS Benson Communications Coordinator.

Original release at the LLILAS website.

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