Language Centre of the University of ViennaAuthor(s): Sonja Winklbauer
Institution/Organisation: Language Centre of the University of Vienna (AT)
The present Case Study focuses on the following activities and accomplishments of the Language Centre of the University of Vienna (Sprachenzentrum der Universität Wien, www.sprachenzentrum.at), founded in 2001, the European Year of Languages:
- high-quality language education to students, university staff and the general public
- research projects in the fields of quality assurance and language teaching
- implementation of specific programmes and projects aimed at promoting multilingualism.
These activities and accomplishments were arrived at through: general and specialized language courses, preparation courses for standard international language tests and certificates, ERASMUS-Outgoing courses, cooperation projects with cultural institutions, networking on a national and international scale, promotion of autonomous learning, carrying out quality assurance projects as well as participation in initiatives aiming to promote linguistic education from young ages.
Based on a whole series of success factors such as: a transparent course structure, constant personal supervision, flexibility, customer orientation, highly professional teaching staff (more than 60 teachers), the Language Center has - in its seven years of existence - constantly grown into an well-established institution, currently offering 26 languages to more than 4500 students.
Having been outsourced in 2004 as part of a “daughter company” of the University of Vienna, the Language Centre incorporates on the one hand side the advantages brought by a market-oriented private company, but on the other hand side, as a lesson to be learnt, has to deal with some consequences such as: certificates issued by the Language Center cannot – according to Austrian Higher Education legislation - be recognized as credits within the scope of the university syllabus, the students have to pay extra course fees and there is a certain limitation of research activities of the Sprachenzentrum.