Appointment of the Director of the Center for Language Study

May 25, 2023

Dear colleagues,

I am delighted to announce that, following a national search, we have appointed Fernando Rubio as the next Director of the Center for Language Study (CLS), effective August 1, 2023. Dr. Rubio succeeds Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl, who will retire from her role as Director of the CLS at the end of this academic year. For the month of July and given his existing oversight role with respect to the CLS, I have asked John Mangan, FAS Senior Associate Dean & Dean of Faculty Affairs, to be the point person for the CLS staff and the language instruction community until Dr. Rubio’s arrival.

I am delighted to welcome Dr. Rubio to Yale. He currently serves in two roles at the University of Utah: Professor of Spanish Linguistics in the Department of World Languages and Cultures and Director of the Second Language Teaching and Research Center. As a language educator, Dr. Rubio has won many accolades, including the 2015 Teacher of the Year Award from the Southwest Conference on Language Teaching, making him a finalist for Teacher of the Year from American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). For decades he has not only held certifications for conducting ACTFL proficiency assessments but has trained other language instructors to receive these certifications.

An expert on language learning, Dr. Rubio’s main research interest lies in assessing the impact that different contexts have on second language acquisition (SLA), with particular focus on adult classroom learning, technology-enhanced language learning (TELL), and immersion education. He is the co-author of Creating Effective Blended Language Learning Courses: A Research-Based Guide from Planning to Evaluation (2020), which was awarded the Modern Language Association’s Kenneth W. Mildenberger Prize. Grounded in SLA research and theory, this book presents a four-phase framework for developing language courses that integrate synchronous and asynchronous pedagogy. Dr. Rubio is also the co-author of two Spanish language textbooks and the author of numerous articles on language pedagogy and assessment, online teaching, and Spanish instruction.

As the co-founder and Director of the Second Language Teaching and Research Center at the University of Utah over the last eleven years, Dr. Rubio has marshalled a comprehensive set of resources in support of language instructors, learners, and the wider language learning community. In this role, he has focused his energies on providing professional development opportunities, promoting cutting-edge research in SLA, and disseminating knowledge and best practices on and beyond campus. For example, his center was selected by the state of Utah to promote and conduct research on proficiency development for large-scale Dual Language Immersion programs in public K-12 schools statewide; through this partnership and a Title VI grant from the US Department of Education, the center has assembled the largest digital corpus of speech and writing produced by second language learners. Dr. Rubio’s innovative work has earned him recognition from a number of organizations, including the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, which awarded him their Distinguished Leadership Award in 2018. These efforts are emblematic of Dr. Rubio’s distinguished career, and I anticipate that, in bringing this ethos to Yale, he will help our language programs continue to thrive.

I wish to extend my thanks to the CLS staff and the language instruction community for their engaged participation in the search process. I am also grateful to the search committee, whose members are listed below, for their thoughtful service.

Finally, I offer thanks once again to Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl, who has served as Director of the CLS since 2007. Her dedicated leadership has helped foster community among language teachers and learners, has driven pedagogical innovation, and has enabled language learning to flourish at Yale.

I hope you will join me in thanking Nelleke and welcoming Dr. Rubio to our community.

With warmest wishes,


Kathryn Lofton
Acting Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
FAS Dean of Humanities
Lex Hixon Professor of Religious Studies, of American Studies, of History, and of Divinity

Search Committee for the Director of the Center for Language Study (CLS)

Angela Lee-Smith | Senior Lector II of Korean, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures

John Mangan | Senior Associate Dean & Dean of Faculty Affairs, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Theresa Schenker | Committee Chair; Senior Lector II of German and Language Program Director, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures; Co-chair, Language Study Committee

Pamela Schirmeister | Senior Associate Dean and Dean of Undergraduate Education, Yale College; Deputy Dean and Dean of Strategic Initiatives, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Candace Skorupa | Senior Lector I of French and Language Program Director, Department of French

Raffaella Zanuttini | Professor and Chair, Department of Linguistics

Jason Zentz | Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences