Spotlight on a symposium hosted by four OLBI professors at the Acfas conference

ACFAS 2024
Research and innovation
Knowledge mobilization
Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute
International Students jumping together in the forest
Universities are welcoming a growing number of students for whom English or French is an additional language, so these institutions are finding innovative ways to help these students improve both their language skills and the skills they need in their study programs.

With this in mind, four professors from the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI), namely Catherine Buchanan, Valia Spiliotopoulos, Jérémie Séror and Reza Farzi, will host a symposium on how to onboard international students and help them succeed at university, entitled: “Comment contribuer à l’insertion et à la réussite universitaires des étudiants internationaux?” According to these academics, language course materials often fail to reflect the language needs of courses in a given discipline, a problem that could be mitigated by integrating university literacy programs. This approach involves teaching language skills by drawing on subject matter from the student’s own discipline to better align the development of linguistic and disciplinary competencies. Over the past 15 years, the OLBI has mastered the use of this teaching method by fostering collaborations between language specialists and subject matter experts. According to Professor Catherine Buchanan: “It’s high time we stopped thinking in silos.”

During the symposium’s afternoon session, a partnership between the OLBI and the Fédération internationale des professeurs de français (FIPF) will be announced. The FIPF partners with organizations on five continents to promote the Francophonie. One of the joint projects they have planned involves publishing a white paper based on a global survey of the French-language teaching profession, which they intend to promote by sharing short videos not only with international government authorities, but also with French-language educational institutions and the Alliances françaises. The OLBI is proud to represent Canada internationally and to help raise awareness of the importance of French in minority language settings.

The “Comment contribuer à l’insertion et à la réussite universitaires des étudiants internationaux?” symposium will be held on May 14, 2024.