March 4, 2022

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Kasmira Smith, Student Intern

VSU’s Dr. Victoria Russell Selected to Lead American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

VALDOSTA – The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) has selected VSU’s Dr. Victoria Russell as their 2022 President.

ACTFL is a membership organization of more than 13,000 language educators and administrators from elementary through graduate education. Russell joined the organization almost 20 years ago and during that time she served in several leadership roles with the Distance Learning Special Interest Group (SIG) and with the Research SIG. As chair of the Distance Learning SIG, she led a three-year effort to create a national mentoring program for online language teachers.

Russell joined VSU in Fall 2010 and is currently a professor of Spanish and Foreign Language Education in VSU’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages.

Russell won a national election for the president elect position in fall 2020, which she served the following year. She is currently fulfilling her duties as president in 2022, and she will serve as past president in 2023. “Each of these offices have specific duties and the three-year term ensures that ACTFL has continuity of leadership, mission, and vision,” Russell said.

As part of her duties as president, Russell presides over all ACTFL board meetings and Executive Committee meetings, she organizes and seats all of the ACTFL committees, which keep the organization moving forward in important areas such as diversity, equity, and inclusion, research and assessment, and advocacy and outreach. She also serves as the organization’s spokesperson at professional conferences. This spring, Russell is scheduled to speak at nine professional conferences on behalf of ACTFL. Moreover, she will preside over ACTFL’s Annual Convention and World Languages Expo in Boston from November 18 to 20 where the main keynote speaker will be Chef José Andrés.

Russell’s goal for her new ACTFL book club initiative this spring is to help language educators bridge research and practice. Critical Conversations in World Language Education is the theme of her online presidential town hall series. In each webinar, panel experts will discuss critical topics in the field and attendees will be invited to engage with the topic afterwards on ACTFL’s online community.

Russell conducts research on online language pedagogy, world language teacher preparation, and Spanish pragmatics. “Researching the best ways to teach language online as well as issues related to world language teacher education informs my teaching so that I can continually improve year-after-year, which I believe has a direct impact on my students’ success,” she said.

Her favorite class to teach is Second Language Acquisition Theory and Practice. “My Ph.D. is in this area, and it is a joy to help my teacher candidates explore how research and theory can inform and improve their teaching practices,” she said.

She is proud of and thankful for her department’s strength and leadership in online language programs. “I would like to thank my colleagues and our wonderful staff for creating a supportive environment that enables each of us to accomplish our goals related to teaching, research, and service,” Russell added.

“Even though Valdosta is a small town, we can dream big and accomplish much through hard work, tenacity, and above all passion,” Russell said. “I hope that all VSU students have their passion for learning ignited on our campus and that they carry the flame with them throughout their lives.”

For more information about VSU’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages, please refer to this link:

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