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Hobart and William Smith (B)

CASE STUDY
Anne Stengle is the Assistant Director of Grants at Hobart and William Smith Colleges
(HWS) in Geneva, New York. In 2006 she set out to find teaching assistants for the
Arabic, Russian and Chinese language programs and her first thought was the Fulbright
Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) program. “Russian and Chinese are our
highest enrolled less-commonly taught foreign languages. But I wasn’t sure we would
be successful with FLTA because it was our first year and I know it is very competitive.”
Then Jonathan Wolff, who was then the Associate Provost, suggested, ‘For Chinese
why not try ALLEX, which is run by Tom Mason.’ “And I thought,” said Stengle, ” wait
a minute, I know Tom Mason—we had worked together at Cornell when I was the
Assistant Director of the South Asia Program.”

Anne still laughs when she recalls how Tom never mentioned that her request for an
application was two months past the ALLEX deadline. “He just said, ‘Oh, it is a little late
in the season, but we will see if we can find someone for you.’ So then Julie shows up
and she was just this amazing presence. We really had a fabulous experience with her.”

Fall 2010 will bring the third ALLEX instructor to HWS. As CTAPs, the instructors are
recruited for one year and they teach classes within the flourishing Chinese program run
by Professor Chi-Chiang Huang and Assistant Professor Jinghao Zhou. “Our students
just love the ALLEX TAs,” says Anne Stengle, “and with the intensive teacher training
they do before they come, they bring so much to the classroom—both in their teaching
techniques and their love of teaching the language. Our Chinese faculty has been very
happy with their performance and our Provost is committed to this program.”

When we asked Anne what the key aspects of ALLEX were that made it work for HWS
she pointed out two features: “The first big plus with ALLEX is the intensive screening
they do with the candidates and the work they put into matching the instructor with the
right school. Tom Mason is an excellent evaluator of candidates and they are screened
so thoroughly—ALLEX TAs are chosen not only on their academic ability, but also how
well they’ll fit in at a given geographic and demographic site. The careful attention they
give to this has meant that all of the people they have sent us have fit in well with both
our faculty and our students.

“The other big feature is the intensive training they get, which you don’t find with other
similar programs. They bring methods and an interest in being a good teacher that
really shows up in the classroom. Our students have loved all of the Chinese teachers
that have come from ALLEX. And our Chinese faculty has also been very happy with
their performance in the classroom.

“At Hobart and William Smith, for each of the past three years, we have hosted a
Russian and Arabic TA via Fulbright, and a Chinese TA via ALLEX. Our second ALLEX
teacher, Yi-tung Wu was so good we wanted to hire her for a one-year replacement
when one of our professors went on leave. We were really sorry when she took a
position at another university. Our two permanent, full-time Chinese professors have
been absolutely thrilled with our ALLEX instructors and we plan to continue this
relationship as long as we are successful.”

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Last night we held an ALLEX Reunion in! It was great to see everyone and hear of the many, many successes ALLEX graduates have after the program!