Centre for Slovene support
Lectureships and Slovene Studies programmes around the world are supported by the Centre for Slovene as a Foreign/Second Language. It has 7 programmes within which new text books and proceedings appear alongside learning materials. Teachers are offered further professional training and preparation before their departure for a foreign university; they are involved in various European and Slovene projects relating to teaching Slovene language, literature and culture, and testing; they also teach on various summer courses, at the Seminar of Slovene Language, Literature and Culture, and work on various seminars and on Obdobja Symposium.
Slovene teachers at foreign universities are mainly selected and sent to foreign universities via the STU programme and employed by the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. In Slovenia, they have completed an MA degree in Slovene Studies, have experience in teaching Slovene as a foreign language, are familiar with the host country and are proficient in the language of that country or one of the world languages. Before leaving Slovenia, they undergo training at the Centre for Slovene as a Second/Foreign Language and attend as observers some courses in Slovene and the summer Seminar of Slovene Language, Literature and Culture. Some of the teachers at the universities abroad are employed by foreign universities or are graduates of Slovene Studies or Slavic Studies who live in the country in question.
The work of a teacher at a foreign university is very varied. At Slovene departments with a degree programme in Slovene, the work is divided across a number of subjects, on which the Slovene teachers, in addition to their language classes, also lecture. At these universities the majority of lectures are given by one or more locally employed university teachers. Where Slovene has the status of a lectureship, the focus is on language teaching, although teachers also incorporate other areas, such as Slovene literature and culture. Teacher as mentors and comentors help their students writing seminars and degree papers as well as searching for the study materials in Slovenia.
The STU programme and the Centre for Slovene organise each year three two-day educational gatherings, where teachers actively participate and also learn about new developments and methods of teaching Slovene as a second or foreign language and about new teaching materials. As during the academic year communication can only be at a distance through the e-mail list SiLektornet, an important part of these sessions is being in the company of other teachers, working on team projects and exchanging experiences.
The programme Slovene at Foreign Universities is financed by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also contributes to its organisation. The programme obtains financial resources for the implementation of additional projects, excursions and special events for the lectureships from tenders (e.g. from the Slovenian Book Agency), sponsors and donors in Slovenia and abroad.
Meetings of Slovene specialists in Slovenia
Each summer, foreign specialists who teach and research Slovene at foreign universities and institutes, or study it at graduate or postgraduate level, attend the traditional Seminar of Slovene Language, Literature and Culture. This event (in 2012 the 48th) is held every year in the last week of June (the intensive language course) and the first two weeks in July (the main two-week event). It is attended by over 130 Slovene specialists from more than 25 countries; over 100 of them are students and teachers from Slovene lectureships who can also obtain various types of grants for attending the Seminar. The Seminar offers in-depth study of Slovene through language courses, lectures and optional courses in language, literature and culture, as well as contact with teachers at the Department of Slovene Studies, the use of the libraries at the Faculty of Arts, and being in the capital city, access to the major Slovene research institutions. The afternoon and evening programme is devoted to socialising at events such as concerts, attending exhibitons, excursions and literary evenings. The Seminar is financed by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology.
The international gathering of Slovene specialists known as the Obdobja (Epochs) Symposiumis a high-level academic event that takes place each November, alternating between linguistic and literary themes, encouraging interdisciplinarity. It is intended for specialists in Slovene or Slavic languages, linguists and literary theorists, as well as experts from other humanities fields, who are interested in contributing a paper that is published in the Symposium proceedings. Towards the end of 2012 the 31st such Symposium will be held, under the title Slovene Drama.
Mobility programmes for teachers and students
The programmes Erasmus (EU) and CEEPUS (Central European Exchange Programmes for University Studies) are an important part of the STU’s involvement in the international exchange of university students and teachers. Both programmes promote and co-finance student and teacher exchanges between universities. In Slovenia they are run by the organisation CMEPIUS, while academic exchanges are also encouraged by the Slovene Human Resources Development and Scholarship Fund.
The role of lecturers as project links and as representatives of their country and of its university education is a very important element here, particularly in the light of the widening opportunities for the mobility of both students and teachers provided by the Bologna process and credit transfer schemes. The Slovene universities have signed a large number of bilateral agreements with other European and non-European institutions and are included in the CEEPUS partnership network. All the programmes enable students of Slovene at foreign universities to complete part of their study in Slovenia.