U.S. Department of State Names SILC Director for Prestigious English Language Specialist Project

Ron Martinez
Photo Submitted

Ron Martinez

The U.S. Department of State announced the selection of Ron Martinez, director of Spring International Language Center at the University of Arkansas, for a three-month English Language Specialist project in Russia entitled "Supporting Academics in English for Research Publication Purposes."

Martinez is part of a select group, as his project is one of approximately 200 that the English Language Specialist Program supports each year worldwide. 

Martinez was recently chosen as new director of Spring International partly due to his expertise in helping multilingual scholars disseminate their research internationally. He founded the first graduate-level writing center in Brazil in 2016, and in 2020 led a training course for writing program coordinators from universities across Russia — a project also sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. In this new project, which will run remotely from the U of A, Martinez will deliver specialized instruction to a cohort of around 50 Russian scientists with the aim of increasing their capacity to publish their research in English-medium international journals.

"In reality, the focus on English is only a small part of it," said Martinez. "There is so much research that fails to reach a broader international readership simply because scholars are unfamiliar with what editors and reviewers are looking for in that specific genre. When I train multilingual scholars, I try to help them with both aspects."

On this project, Martinez will be partnered with Talinn Phillips, director of the Graduate Writing and Research Center of Ohio University. Martinez and Phillips have worked together before on projects sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. In 2020, Phillips was part of a special project coordinated by Martinez that aimed to increase awareness in Brazil of the importance of providing academic writing support to scholars, particularly at the graduate level. Martinez believes help for those students is important irrespective of knowledge of English. 

"So many graduate students, wherever they're from and whatever language they call their own, often think they're the only ones struggling to write up their research," Martinez said. "These negative feelings can be even further compounded when one also has challenges of a linguistic nature."

As director at Spring International, Martinez hopes to grow this specialized writing support for the international student population at the University of Arkansas. 

"All these folks want to do, with all their research, is to contribute to making our world a better place," he said. "It's a great honor and responsibility to have even just a small hand in helping make that happen." 

The English Language Specialist Program is the premier opportunity for leaders in the field of teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) to enact meaningful and sustainable changes in the way that English is taught abroad and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) with funding provided by the U.S. government. During their projects, English Language Specialists may conduct intensive teacher training, advise ministries of education or participate in high-level educational consultations, and offer plenary presentations at regional, national or international TESOL conferences. For more information about the English Language Specialist Program, visit their website or contact the office by email at ECA-Press@state.gov.




Ron Martinez, director
Spring International Language Center
479-361-0027, ronm@uark.edu

Amy Unruh, director of communications
Graduate School and International Education
479-575-5809, unruh@uark.edu


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