O'Connor hired to direct WWU's Language & Culture Programs

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 9:37am
Western Today staff

Frederick H. O’Connor has been hired as the director of Language & Culture Programs to oversee Extended Education’s non-credit programs for international students at Western Washington University.

"Dr. O’Connor is a genuine global citizen with loads of experience living and working with and in other cultures," said Western Vice Provost for Extended Education Earl Gibbons. "As an experienced teacher and program director, he will be able to make an immediate contribution to Western’s important internationalization efforts. Western has had a long history of serving students through language and cultural programming; Rick will help us build on that history and increase the programs’ visibility."

O’Connor, who will begin on April 15, was hired following a national search. As director of Extended Education’s Language & Culture Programs unit, O’Connor will be responsible for the university’s Intensive English Program, which provides international students with academic English instruction in preparation to matriculate into Western’s undergraduate- and graduate-level degree programs, and signature programs developed in partnership with international universities, such as Japan’s Asia University.

"I’m very excited to be part of Western Washington University’s initiative for internationalization," he said. "International students enhance Western’s diversity and give all students the opportunity for meaningful face-to-face interactions with individuals from other language and culture backgrounds. Our Language and Culture Programs serve as a gateway for us to increase international enrollmen."

O’Connor is coming from Montana State University in Bozeman, where he served as director of MSU's Language Institute. The institute prepares students linguistically and culturally for their educational and professional pursuits in addition to providing students with opportunities for personal growth. Under O’Connor’s directorship, the program doubled the number of international students enrolled in the Language Institute and significantly increased the percentage of students who successfully matriculated into MSU’s degree programs. 

He has a doctorate in educational administration from Washington State University and a master's degree in teaching English as a second/foreign language from the School for International Training. Previously, he has been the director of English Language Programs at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan, and director of Washington State University’s Intensive American Language Center. O’Connor has worked in Japan and Iran and served in Afghanistan though the Peace Corps. He has written a number of papers, publications and textbooks.

O’Connor will be the first director of Language & Culture Programs, a unit that was created in the summer of 2012 with the merger of the Intensive English Program and the Asia University America Program into Extended Education. Vice Provost Gibbons extends his gratitude to the members of the search committee and all of those from campus who participated in this very successful recruiting process.