WAYNE — A federal grant will help William Paterson University bolster instruction in two foreign languages that educators say are becoming more widely spoken in the area.
Students taking Arabic and Korean courses will benefit from new offerings as a result of the university's $190,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
Kara Rabbitt, dean of the college of humanities and social sciences, said the funding will enable the university to provide faculty workshops and opportunities for students to study abroad in Jordan and South Korea during the summer.
The grant also will subsidize the cost of textbooks for intermediate and advanced courses in Arabic and Korean.
The overarching goal of the university's grant-funded program, called "Expanding Vistas: Global Contexts, Local Lives," is to encourage students to enroll in more rigorous courses.
By next semester, Rabbitt said, new advanced courses in Arabic and Korean will be offered. She said new intermediate courses in those languages are being taught this semester.
There is a "growing interest" among students to learn Arabic and Korean, Rabbitt said, adding that the languages are "well-enrolled at the beginning level." About 75 students now take intermediate courses in those languages, she said.
"The grant support will help to build student interest toward advanced proficiency in these important regional languages," Rabbitt said.
The increasing number of immigrants who settle in North Jersey underscores the need to expand coursework in foreign languages, university officials say. According to the most recent available census figures, 1,128 residents of Wayne report Arabic as their native tongue, while Korean is the first language for 685 residents.