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Advisory Board

Advisory Board Vice Chair

Dr. Davidson (BA, Russian and German, Kansas; Ph.D., Slavic Languages, Harvard University) is Senior Academic Advisor and President Emeritus of American Councils for International Education (Washington, D. C.) and Professor of Russian and Second Language Acquisition, Bryn Mawr College. He is author/editor of 44 books and 65 scholarly articles on Russian language, culture and international education. Davidson was named in 2015 to the Commission on Languages, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a member of the Russian Academy of Education, the Ukrainian Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, Vice-President of the International Association of Teachers of Russian (MAPRIAL), and past chair of the College Board World Languages Advisory Committee, the Joint National Committee for Languages, and the Alliance for International Education Exchange.

Jacob U’Mofe Gordon, Professor Emeritus, University of Kansas; served on the KU faculty, 1970-2004.  He is founder and first Chairman of the Department of African (now African and African American) Studies, 1970-1980; served as Executive Director, Center for Multicultural Leadership, 1982-2004.  He was Fulbright Senior Specialist to Ghana, and the Kwame Nkrumah Endowed Chair in African Studies, University of Ghana, 2012-2015. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the International Bullying Prevention Association and the National Alumni Association of Bethune-Cookman University; and Advisory Board of the African American Studies Program at University of Florida.  Dr. Gordon’s expertise includes African Studies and the African Diaspora.

Teacher of Arabic Language and Arabic Studies , Competitive Intelligence Analyst, Manager Documentation Center, Parents' Support Group Founder

Susan Hanna-Wicht earned a B.A. in Arabic/English Translation from Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad; a postgraduate certificate in Translation and Conference Interpretation from the University of Westminster in London; and an M.A. in International Business from Webster University in Geneva. Her career has spanned translation, interpretation, marketing, and competitive intelligence. She earned her M.A. in Bilingual Bicultural Education from Teachers College Columbia University in 2015. She currently serves as the Chair of the Executive Board of the Global Language Project​ (New York City)

The Honorable Victor Jackovich

The Honorable Victor Jackovich, first US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992–1995) and Ambassador to Slovenia (1995–1998), focuses on relations of the SLLC with public and private sectors. He has expertise in Eastern Europe, Africa, and other world areas.

Advisory Board Chair

Betty J. Kagan received her BA in French and Spanish from KU, a maitrise de culture francaise from the Sorbonne, an MA in French Literature and Linguistics from UCSB and an MBA in Computer Applications & Information Systems plus International Business from NYU Stern School of Business.   Betty previously served on the CLAS Board as well as NYU's alumni board in NY and UK. Her expertise is in global human resource systems as well as financial systems.  Her focus on the board will be integrating international business and consulting needs with the SLLC curriculum and outreach activities.

Barbara Koval-Nelson

Barbara Koval-Nelson, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Slovenia in Kansas City, focuses on regional community engagement. Her area interests are Slovene language, Slovene studies, and Europe in general.

Jowel C. Laguerre, Ph.D., began his tenure as Chancellor of the Peralta Community College District on July 1, 2015. Previously, he served as Superintendent/President of Solano Community College District. Dr. Laguerre holds a Ph.D., in Educational Leadership for college and university administration, a Master’s of Science in Education in School Administration and a Master’s of Arts in French Literature from the University of Kansas, and a Certificate in Mathematics and Physics Education from l’Université d’Etat d’Haiti: Ecole Normale Supérieure, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Assistant Professor of Public Administration, Wayne State University, Public and Nonporfit management, Public Relations

Professor Moldavanova (Wayne State), Public Administration, focuses on the SLLC Board on institutional sustainability. Her research areas include public and nonprofit management, inter-organizational collaboration, comparative civil society, and ethics and sustainability studies. She is an editor of the forthcoming volume The Nonprofit Sector in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia: Civil Society Advances and Challenges. Leiden, Netherlands, and Boston, MA, USA: Brill Publishers.

Dr. Nease is Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado – Denver, where he serves as the Green-Edelman Chair for Practice Based Research, Director of Community Engagement for the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Family Medicine and Director of the SNOCAP Practice Based Research Network Collaborative.  He also serves as President of the International Balint Federation ( and is on board for the Stiftung für Psychosomatik und Sozialmedizin ( 

Of Counsel in Morrison & Foerster Foreign Sovereign Community, A&R Director GLP Music world music, CEO Laughing Buddha Records world music

Rex Niswander is A&R Director at GLP Music and CEO of Laughing Buddha Records. He spent many years living and working in Asia, including Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Korea. After graduating from the Defense Language Institute, he began his professional career as a Chinese translator for the U.S. Air Force Security Service. He is also a graduate of Columbia Law School and received Columbia's Parker School Recognition of Achievement with Honors in International and Comparative Law. He has a B.A. with honors from the University of Kansas Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. He also studied at Tsukuba University in Japan and at Taiwan Normal University in Taipei.

Rex served as the founding chair of the Advisory Board of the School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures (2014-18).

Vice President Black & Veatch International

Clint Robinson is an Associate Vice President and serves as the Director of State & Local Government Affairs for Black & Veatch Corporation. He has worked for Black & Veatch Corporation since 1984 and is a Professional Engineer registered in Kansas and Missouri. He is also fluent in Spanish. His professional engineering history includes over 25 years of project related work in the water/wastewater engineering field. Five of those years were spent managing a successful operation in an office in Miami, FL for water related services in South Florida, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Mr. Safadi, KU alumnus and President of the Delta Corporation of Kansas, supports the work of the school and focuses in particular on Arabic language, literature, and Islamic culture. 

Antonia Schleicher serves as the Executive Director of both the National Council of Less-Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL) and the African Language Teachers Association (ALTA). She is a Board Member of JNCL (Joint National Committee for Languages). Professor Schleicher was awarded the United States President's Gold Level Volunteer Service Award for over 500-hours-a-year of devoted and unpaid service to the cause of promoting less-commonly taught languages and cultures in the U.S. She served on the ACTFL Board of Directors for three years.  She is on the Board of Trustees of Center for Applied Linguistics and is also the current President of the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Association (NFMLTA).  

GTA, Chinese, Advisory Board Secretary
Wescoe Hall, Room 2112

A physician, Dr. Vogelsang serves as the Consul for the Republic of Croatia in Kansas City. She is involved in many civic organization in the Kansas City area.



Our Statement on Diversity in support of Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk and the University of Kansas Black Student Union’s efforts to combat racism.
The School of Languages & Cultures serves as a gateway to understanding the diversity of the world, through learning languages, literatures, and cultures, past and present. Through its research and teaching, the SLLC offers students opportunities for deep engagement with a wide range of languages, literatures, and cultures that provide the knowledge and skills to interact with and understand the world. The faculty and students who teach, research, and learn in the SLLC consider issues of diversity fundamental to all of our work. The study of others' languages, literatures, and cultures enables us to develop deep empathy and perspective informs the way that we approach issues before us, whether on a personal, local, regional, national, or global scale. Therefore take it as axiomatic that the SLLC stands for a campus that is committed to the meaningful sharing, contemplation, and discussion of ideas that emerge from multiple cultural perspectives and experiences. We continually rededicate ourselves to the principle of diversity. We strive to create an atmosphere where all students and faculty feel comfortable and welcome to express their views as well as work together to solve conflict. Further, we view our mission as a center of diversity on a flagship campus as requiring us to lead by example.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
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