Language Professors Richard Sansone and Steve Cunningham Globalize Valencia’s Impact — Faculty Highlight

By Dani Moritz-Long

When we contemplate the impact Valencia has on our community, we naturally focus on our service areas in Central Florida. But, while Orange and Osceola Counties certainly benefit from Valencia’s work, our impact is actually international — thanks to the efforts of colleagues like Portuguese Professor Richard Sansone and English for Academic Purposes Professor Steve Cunningham.

Thanks to Richard and Steve, Valencia also impacts students in Brazil through a four-year (and counting) volunteer project with the Federal University in Diamantina, Brazil.

Explaining the impetus for the project, Richard said, “Some six years ago, I was approached by Dr. Mabel Cordini, director of international programs at the Federal University in Diamantina, Brazil, requesting that I help her to address a problem among their graduates in English language training, namely that students were graduating as English teachers who were not confident of their linguistic and/or pedagogical skills to teach English as a Foreign Language in Brazilian schools and universities.”

So, Richard partnered with Steve, who is also a long-time language teacher, to develop a three-week intensive English language and American culture immersion course to benefit the university’s students.

Rooted in active-learning techniques and immersion through film and music, and facilitated through donated books (which Richard and Steve pack into their luggage), the program became an instant hit. For this past summer’s program, coined English in Action IV, 220 students applied for the 30-student program and, Richard explained, every accepted student completed the course.

Thanks the program’s success, the duo has already been invited to host English in Action V next July, and they are looking for additional English for Academic Purposes faculty to join them in their volunteer efforts during the next summer break.

Despite the limitations of these volunteer trips being primarily self-funded (two trips have been supported by an Endowed Chair), Richard and Steve look forward to continuing their work in future years.

“I have personally been to Brazil over 50 times and never tire of interacting with these warm, spirited and spiritual, wholeheartedly generous and wonderful people,” Richard said. “It is a privilege to work with them and share my expertise with them. My passion for my work as a language teacher enables me to help open doors of understanding to the world, and, evidently it is contagious, as several of my Portuguese students from Valencia seem to have caught the Brazilian love bug and, like me, they are forever smitten.”



  • Lucy Boudet said:

    You two are awesome!!! Keep up the great work. Miss you.

    PMThu, 31 Aug 2017 18:03:33 +0000Thu, 31 Aug 2017 18:03:33 +0000pm17,6:03 pm

    • Richard Sansone said:

      Thank you, Lucy. The entire college misses you!

      PMThu, 31 Aug 2017 18:21:19 +0000Thu, 31 Aug 2017 18:21:19 +0000pm17,6:21 pm

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