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Thomas J. Garza, Director 2505 University Ave, B7800 • BUR 572 78712-1053 • 512-471-6574

Featured Speakers


Professor Mahmoud Al-BatalMahmoud Al-Batal, Ph.D.
Arabic Linguistics, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Director, Associate Professor
Arabic Flagship Program, Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Mahmoud Al-Batal is an Associate Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, as well as the Director of the Arabic Flagship Program. He received his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies with a specialization in Arabic Linguistics from the University of Michigan. He has published a highly-regarded series of textbooks for learners of Arabic (increasingly perfected over the course of twenty years), two books to help guide Arabic instructors, and he has presented annually on Arabic instruction for the last ten years. While serving on the faculty of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Al-Batal also began developing web-based Arabic listening materials, which have culminated into the COERLL-sponsored website "Arabic Voices," providing videos at six different proficiency levels with pre- and post-listening questions, speed control and intensive listening options, and vocabulary assistance.



Professor Thomas GarzaThomas Garza, Ed.D.
Foreign Language Education, Harvard University

Director, University Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor
Texas Language Center, Department of Slavic Languages and Literature

Thomas Garza is the Director of the Texas Language Center and Associate Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, where he teaches Russian, foreign language pedagogy, and Russian popular culture. He has been traveling to Russia since 1979 and has lived in Moscow for over five years. A native Texan, Dr. Garza received his doctorate from Harvard University in 1987. During his twenty-plus-year tenure at the University, he has received several prizes for undergraduate teaching, including the Texas Excellence Award, the President’s Associates Award, the Harry Ransom Award, and the Burnt Orange Apple Award. In 2004 he was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, and in 2009 was named a Regents’ Outstanding Teacher in the UT System.



Professor Antonella OlsonAntonella Olson, M.A.
Comparative Literature, L'Università degli Studi La Sapienza - Rome

Distinguished Senior Lecturer
Department of French and Italian

Antonella Del Fattore-Olson is a Distinguished Senior Lecturer in the Department of French and Italian at the University of Texas at Austin, where she has been working over 20 years. Hailing from Rome, Italy, she received her Laurea in Comparative Literature and Theater with a specialization in Modern American Literature from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. She is heavily involved in the department as an instructor across the spectrum of language level and culture, and as the coordinator of lower-division Italian, having collaborated in the writing of the first-year workbook, co-authored the second-year textbook Moving Toward Fluency in Italian, and co-developed Radio Arlecchino: An Italian Grammar and Culture Podcast. She presented papers on pedagogy and Italian cinema and wrote articles on the Italian Drama Workshop, a course she has been teaching at UT every other year. Antonella is also the supervisor of first-year Italian, adviser and organizer of the Italian Club, and founder and director of the Rome Study Program.



Professor Adi RazAdi Raz, Ed.D.
Jewish Education, Jewish Theological Seminary

Clinical Assistant Professor
Texas Language Center, Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Adi Raz has worked at UT since 2008. She has earned her Ed.D in Jewish Education at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2009. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on teaching Hebrew as a second language to students with language learning disabilities. Dr. Raz also holds an Ed.M in Applied Linguistics from Teachers College, Columbia University which she earned in 2004. She has worked as a learning specialist and Hebrew language teacher at various preparatory schools in the New York Metropolitan area and has also written and adapted educational curriculum to students with learning disabilities. She has developed courses on cross-cultural communication, pragmatics, and language learning styles, which she has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.



Professor Per UrlaubPer Urlaub, Ph.D.
Germanic Studies, Stanford University

Assistant Professor, Lower-Level Language Coordinator
Department of Germanic Studies

Per Urlaub received his Ph.D in Germanic Studies from Stanford University. He is lower-level language coordinator in the Department of Germanic Studies, where he teaches German and pedagogy, including SLA theory for pre-service language instructors, and plays an active role in strengthening the German curriculum by balancing the foci of linguistic and cultural proficiency. He is currently researching the contribution of documentary film to transcultural literacy and the development of intercultural competence in study abroad contexts. He is interested in language learning technology, second language reading process, reading development, and the nature of understanding in second language acquisition.

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