About us

Melissa Bowles (Ph.D., Georgetown University) is Associate Professor of Spanish, Linguistics, and Educational Psychology and Conrad Humanities Scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where from 2011-2018 she directed the interdisciplinary Ph.D. concentration in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education (SLATE). She has also worked extensively with teacher education undergraduates at UIUC, having served on the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Foreign Language Teacher Education (FLTE) Advisory Committee from 2005-2014 and having taught two courses required for FLTE students. She and her students conduct research on language testing/assessment, research methods, and instructed second- and heritage-language acquisition, particularly the ways that instruction differentially affects the two populations. She is regularly invited to contribute to journals and edited volumes on issues of bilingualism and language maintenance and Spanish as a minority language in the United States. Her current single-authored book project is Instructed Heritage Language Acquisition, under contract with Oxford University Press, and she is also editing a volume of research studies on the outcomes of heritage language instruction with Georgetown University Press. Over the past decade, she has also been a regular consultant to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), providing guidance and advice about instruction and assessment for LOTE speakers in U.S. schools.

Kim Potowski (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is Professor in the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she is also a faculty affiliate in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and the Social Justice Initiative. She is editor or co-editor of 5 edited volumes and author or co-author of 6 books, all related to the promotion of minority languages and multilingualism, with a particular emphasis on Spanish in the U.S. She has worked extensively with school districts, providing teacher workshops on topics such as dual language immersion programs and the need for curricula and courses to help heritage speakers of Spanish develop their language skills. She is also a member of the recently formed Bilingualism Matters group in the Chicago area, which consists of faculty at not only UIC, but also Northwestern University, University of Chicago, and DePaul University, who communicate bilingualism research findings to parents, teachers, health professionals, policy makers and employers to help create impact in people’s daily lives.