Skip to main content



The Institute of World Languages began as an initiative through the College of Arts and Sciences in 2012. The Associate Dean of the Humanities and Arts, Professor Christina Della Coletta, and Professor Miao-fen Tseng created the first IWL committee that consisted of language program directors, technology-related administrators, and language-related liaison offices. Since that time, committee members have been consistently revolving, ensuring we are constantly bringing fresh ideas and new perspectives to the IWL committee.

The Institute of World Languages was officially launched on October 31, 2013 at the inaugural IWL Symposium. After the Institute’s launch, the institution went through a national search for an inaugural director. Miao-Fen Tseng, Associate Professor of Chinese here at UVa, was appointed and officially came on board on August 24, 2014.

Since Dr. Tseng became the director of the Institute of World Languages, a number of new initiatives have been introduced. The committee now includes two student members, one graduate and one undergraduate, to ensure we have a student presence and input for committee decisions. We also host a Speaker Series, Roundtable series every semester, events meant to address various topics in language teaching and learning. We have also partnered with a Duke University and Vanderbilt University in a consortium program that will allow us to exchange courses on less commonly taught languages to our university students. Five new grants have been launched: Faculty Development Grant, Faculty Research Grant, Student Study Abroad Award, Student Research Abroad Award, and Language Program Small Grant. We have also hosted our first IWL Faculty Retreat and IWL Student Dinner.

As IWL continues to gain visibility and to mobilize the foreign language community at UVa, Professor Tseng and the IWL steering committee are excited to continue to assist UVa language learners in becoming responsible and competent world citizens and leaders in the global community. Since the spring of 2013, the IWL committee has undertaken a well-thought process to devise strategies and accomplish a number of initiatives that shape the future of the institute through intensive planning and collaboration. Professor Tseng and the steering committee are committed to building a robust foundation and transitional operational structure for IWL’s further planning and to implement strategic plans that leverage instructional strengths and ensure the smoothness and effectiveness of personnel and budgetary management in the years ahead. We hope that this continued effort will expedite the process of ongoing dialogues conducive to prioritizing the critical needs for enhancing foreign language teaching and learning and maximizing achievable outcomes for IWL.