Published: Sept. 6, 2012

New language education hub opens at MSU

Contact(s): Tom Oswald Communications and Brand Strategy, Karin Wurst College of Arts and Letters office: (517) 355-4597

A new addition to Michigan State University’s Wells Hall is open for business – 88,000 gross square feet of space that is now serving as the university’s language education hub.

A grand opening ceremony for the building will be held at 4 p.m. Friday on the East Plaza of Wells Hall. Among MSU officials participating in the event are Board of Trustees’ member Faylene Owen, President Lou Anna K. Simon, Provost Kim Wilcox, and Dean of the College of Arts and Letters Karin Wurst.

Wells Hall is now home to a number of academic units, most from the College of Arts and Letters, including the departments of English; linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages; religious studies; and Romance and Classical Studies.

Wells also will house Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities, the English Language Center, the Center for Language Teaching Advancement and its Community Language School, the Center for Language Education and Research, Second Language Studies, the African American and African Studies Program, and the Jewish Studies Program.

Religious Studies also will be relocated to Wells, while the history department will be moved into renovated space in the Old Horticulture Building.

“The new Wells Hall addition is another piece of MSU’s commitment to a cutting-edge global focus,” Simon said. “Understanding of world languages and cultures is a prerequisite to the ability to be successfully engaged in business, government, diplomacy, research and the arts in the 21st century.”

The new facility provides office, instructional and research space. It includes a three-story atrium, three new classrooms and language laboratories, as well as private and open office environments that will help promote faculty and student interactions. One of the key components of the new facility is the Center for Language Teaching Advancement.

"As all sectors internationalize, language proficiency and cultural competency will be integral parts of nearly every job and career," Wurst said. "The new Wells Hall addition, and all that it allows us to do, will play a critical role in making sure our students are prepared to meet the ever-changing challenges of the world around them."

The new addition also is energy efficient with features ranging from a green roof to daylight-controlled window shades.

Most of the departments re-locating to Wells Hall are coming from Morrill Hall. A wooden structure, originally built in 1900, Morrill has suffered irreparable deterioration. As a result, reconstruction and restoration of the facility is not economically feasible.

Discussions regarding a suitable commemoration of Morrill Hall are ongoing.