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The Critical Languages Program

The Critical Languages Program (CLP) makes possible the offering of less-commonly taught, but highly relevant languages. The curriculum is student-centered and oriented principally toward the initial acquisition of oral skills, proceeding ultimately into the written form of the language

Students in CLP courses work intensively with specially prepared texts and audiovisual materials, and meet in small group drill sessions twice a week with a native-speaking tutor. They continue their language practice in two additional sessions each week in WLAC’s audiovisual and computer laboratories. Exams are given on an individual basis with external examiners. These examiners are professors of their respective languages at other institutions who come to campus to examine Samford CLP students at the end of each semester.

CLP courses follow the traditional semester calendar and meet Tuesdays and Thursdays mostly in the late afternoon or evenings. They are available to daytime and evening students as well as to qualified high school students and members of the community. Courses are sequential, with successful completion of the previous course serving as prerequisite to the next. Courses numbered 101 and 201 are offered during fall semesters only; courses numbered 102 and 202 are offered during spring semesters only. A WLAC minor is offered in any of the CLP languages, but content-based coursework beyond the 200 level can only be completed abroad in courses preapproved by the CLP director.

Critical languages offered at Samford are: Arabic, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, and Thai.

Critical Languages Program Tutors

Giorgio Barbi comes from Naples, Italy where he earned a Master of Science degree in Chemistry from Università di Napoli, Federico II. Prior to moving to Alabama, Dr. Barbi did research at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and at the clinical laboratory Quest Diagnostic in New Jersey. Currently he works for the American Red Cross in the Quality Assurance Department for Blood Banking. He has two college-age children and enjoys cooking and traveling.

Kathy Caswell has a Bachelor of Business Technology Management and works as an office manager at a local engineering company. She is half Italian and worked in Italy for eleven years as a secretary and teacher of English before moving back to the U.S. She teaches Italian 101 and 102 in the CLP also teaches in the Samford after Sundown program. She enjoys spending her free time with her dogs.

Larissa Charny is a native of Minsk, Belarus.  She holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering and is current employed at Samford’s Davis Library.  She has worked as a librarian, engineer, and teacher of Russian language and culture for elementary school students in Shelby County.  Her favorite things are being a mother and grandmother. She also likes baking, reading books, watching movies and hiking. 

Vitaly Charny--like his wife, Larissa, a native of Minsk, Belarus-- earned a Master of Nuclear Physics degree from the Belarussian State University and worked in his native country as a high school teacher and researcher.  He is currently employed as a computer programmer.  He also collects data on butterflies for the State of Alabama while working on a book on the butterflies of the state with Dr. Mike Howell of the Department of Biology.  He is a passionate photographer of nature and, when in the field, his lens is often focused on butterflies, insects and lichens. 

Yachiyo Takiguchi Culpepper is a native of Tokyo, Japan, and has taught English as a foreign language both in Japan and in Birmingham.  She has worked with the Japan American Society of Alabama demonstrating Japanese traditional clothing to American schools and managing a children's language summer camp.  She also has served as an interpreter at sports championships and is married to an American who is the former world champion arm-wrestler.

Eun Yu was born in South Korea and has a Bachelor of Science in clothing and textiles from Hanyang University in Seoul. She tutored math and English to high school students there for ten years before coming to the United States in 1997. She served as Director of the Korean Language Ministry at the Korean Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa for five years and still attends church there though lives in Birmingham now.

Pratibha Khare is a native of India but came to the U.S. with her husband in 1967. She earned her Doctor of Education degree from the University of Alabama in Birmingham and has authored two textbooks on the Hindi language which are used by several university and government programs to train students and diplomats.  She organizes language classes for heritage learners at the Hindu Temple & Cultural Center of Birmingham, where she also teaches first grade students. She returns to India once every two years and in her free time enjoys visiting with family and sightseeing.

Sukavadee Jimmy Makris is a native of Thai, Thailand.  She worked as a reporter and columnist for Thai Magazine and also served as an English teacher for Indo-Chinese refugees. In Birmingham she has been a substitute teacher at Vestavia Hills Elementary School and works as a freelance writer.  She returns to Thailand every year and has traveled in Europe and elsewhere. She is married to an American pediatric pulmonary physician and is the mother of two girls. 

William Sahawneh earned his Master of Science degree in biology from Samford University and went on to receive a Master of Divinity from Eastern Mennonite Seminary.  During a sojourn in Washington D. C. he was transformed while studying the history of the church and reading works such as St. Augustine’s City of God and the church history of St. Eucebius. He realized the great sacrifices the early Christians made, dedicated his life to spreading the gospel and served as a Christian missionary in Jordan.

Hueymeei Alice Yen is a native of Taiwan, Republic of China. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics at the Chinese Culture University in Taiwan and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Auburn University.  She is the mother two children and attends the Birmingham Chinese Christian Church with husband Nick.


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