The Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute has named Susan Neu its new assistant director for special programs.

Neu, who has taught at the institute since 2000, will be responsible for the overall operation and management of a number of the institute’s programs, including the intensive English component of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program. The prestigious State Department initiative provides 20 weeks of  English instruction and intercultural awareness training to a select group of midcareer professionals from either developing countries or those in political transition. The university, which began participating in the program five years ago, was chosen in January to retain the eligibility to host Fellows for the next five years.

“We are excited to have Susan assume a leadership role at a time of continued growth for the Language and Culture Institute,” director Don Back said. "She is a gifted teacher who has taught the Humphrey Fellows since the program first came to Virginia Tech.”

A California native, Neu received her bachelor’s degree in art history from California State University, Fresno. She did graduate work at the University of Arizona, taught English in Mexico, and directed an adult literacy program in California before moving to Blacksburg 20 years ago to study at Virginia Tech, where she earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.

Before teaching at the Language and Culture Institute, she was education coordinator at Pulaski Community Hospital, now LewisGale Hospital at Pulaski.

“Teaching here is very enriching, because you get to see students from diverse cultures collaborate,” Neu said. “As they get to know each other, they learn a lot more about the world and maybe correct some misperceptions about other countries and other cultures – including ours.

“It makes me really proud when former students call me a year or two after they’ve finished here, when they’re back in their home country, to talk about what they learned at the institute and how it’s helped in their lives,” she said.

With classrooms in Blacksburg as well as in Falls Church, Va., the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute serves international students and others with language-related programs and services for academic and professional development. The institute hosts more than 500 students per year from more than 40 countries.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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