I am a Professor of Slavic Linguistics and Applied Linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies (MLCS). I have been teaching at the University of Alberta since 1999.
Currently I am an Interim Chair in MLCS. In 2019-2020, I served as Associate Chair, Undergraduate in MLCS. In 2013-2019, I was Acting Director of the Ukrainian Language Education Centre at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta.
I hold a BA in Slavic Philology from the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. I completed my graduate studies in the United States, receiving a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Slavic Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh. During my graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh, I taught Ukrainian and Russian, including summer intensive language courses for 4 years. I also taught Ukrainian language and linguistics for three years at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Toronto as a Visiting Lecturer before my academic appointment at the U of A.
My primary area of work and research is in Slavic linguistics and Applied Linguistics. In my researched I have focused on political and media language, gender linguistics, language attitudes and language ideologies, among other linguistic topics. I also work in areas of language pedagogy and second language acquisition in Ukrainian. This research angle of my work allowed me to develop textbooks such as: Ukrainian Through Its Living Culture, (University of Alberta Press, 2010), which has won the 2012 AATSEEL Book prize for “Best Contribution to Language Pedagogy”; my open-access textbook Ukrainian for Professional Communication, published by the University of Alberta Press/Pica Pica Press, was recognized with the 2018 Inaugural University of Alberta Open Educational Resources Award; and in collaboration with Olena Sivachenko & Sergiy Kozakov (with contribution by Oksana Perets) I am finalizing the textbook PodorozhiUA [TravelsUA]: Ukrainian for Beginners. Blended-learning model.
In 2015-2018, I was Team Lead of the Nationalities, Culture and Language Policies research cluster of the Research Initiative on Democratic Reforms in Ukraine (RIDRU) international research project.
Since 2016 I have been collaborating with colleagues in Slavic Studies at the Dresden Technical University on a joint project "Ukrainian Identity: The Self and the Other in the Context of the Ukrainian Diaspora".
I also engage actively with the community and was a recipient of the 2018 Ukrainian Canadian Congress Alberta Provincial Council Hetman Leadership Award.
At the University of Alberta I teach Ukrainian language courses at all levels, from beginners’ to advanced, including courses such as Business Ukrainian, Ukrainian in Media and Internet, Ukrainian in TV and in Film, Advanced Ukrainian Writing Strategies and Advanced Ukrainian Conversational Strategies. I strive to develop new content courses, such as my popular "Language Conflicts and Identity" course. Since 2000, I’ve lead our intensive study abroad program in Ukraine. At the graduate level, I teach courses in Applied Linguistics. I also taught graduate seminars in Slavic Gender Linguistics, Comparative and Typological Slavic Linguistics, and Contemporary Language Issues in Ukraine, Russia and Poland. I have supervised a number of MA and Ph.D. students working on various topics of applied linguistics and on various languages.
I am the proud recipient of the 2008 Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Teaching Award and the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages Award for Excellence in Post-Secondary Teaching (2019)
Thank you to my students!
2020 - 2021
I am a guest co-editor, with Dr. Holger Kusse, of the special issue of the Journal of Belonging, Identity, Language, and Diversity, entitled Boundaries and Belonging: Language, Diaspora and Motherland.
2015 - 2018
In winter 2015, in collaboration with Drs. Bilash, Petryshyn, Kachur, Harasymiw, I was awarded a major research grant from the Kule Institute for Advanced Study for the project: Nationalities and Language Policies/Research Initiative on Democratic Reforms in Ukraine [RIDRU]. I am the team lead of the Nationalities, Culture and Language Policies cluster (one of three clusters under the project), whose research work focuses and will focus on the following (over the next three years):
1) preferences of various groups within the population regarding the legal status of Ukrainian, Russian, and languages of other minorities, and their function in certain public domains in different parts of Ukraine; (2) public discourse on the language issue after the demise of President Yanukovych; (3) changes in national identity due to the Euromaidan (February 2014 revolution) and subsequent Russian aggression; (4) national minorities’ responses to the recent upsurge of separatism and ensuing tension in the east and south of Ukraine; and (5) use of language and minority issues in the post-Maidan election campaigns and reform programmes. The findings will have direct and indirect implications for resolving Ukraine’s two existential dilemmas—the one being whether it belongs geopolitically to the West or to Eurasia, and the other its integrity, regarding its existence as unified nation.
Within this RIDRU research project, I assembled a team of researchers from Ukraine, US, Germany and Canada who are collaborating on this endeavour. The team has been delivering seminars and workshops for the university community, participating in symposia and organizing conferences. In addition, peer-reviewed publications are being produced by all members of the research team.
In 2016, I organized a conference Language and Culture in Post-Maidan Ukraine: Transformations at Work. First online conference of the Nationalities, Culture and Language Policies Cluster. The Research Initiative on Democratic Reforms in Ukraine [RIDRU] project. University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB (27 October)
In 2017, in collaboration with Bilash O., Harasymiw B., Petryshyn R., Konkin Y., Kachur J., and Pankieiev, O., we organized another conference Finding a Way Forward in Ukraine: Reform Vs Inertia in Democratizing Government and Society. The Research Initiative on Democratic Reforms in Ukraine project. University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB (15-16 November)
In 2018, in collaboration with V. Kulyk, I guest co-edited Language, Identity and Ideology in Ukrainian Media. Special Issues of East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies 2018, 5(2).
I have been leading the Western Canada branch of the Shevchenko Scientific Society of Canada as its President since 2014.
In 2019, in collaboration with O. Pankieiev, I organized an international conference Language, Culture, and Society in Ukraine and its Diaspora, Shevchenko Scientific Society of Canada and Alberta Association for the Advancement of Ukrainian Studies, Edmonton, AB (August 24).
In 2018-2020, I co-edited with M. Soroka, Zakhidnokanads’kyi zbirnyk [Western Canada collection of essays], special issue “Ukrainians in Canada” dedicated to the 125-anniversary of the Ukrainian settlement in Canada. Shevchenko Scientific Society, Edmonton Branch publications XLIII, v.8.
In 2017, I guest-edited a special collection of articles: Less Commonly Taught Slavic Languages: The Learner, the Instructor and the Learning Experience in the Second Language Classroom (The North American Context). Special Issues of East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies 2017, 4(1).
Since 2014, together with Olena Sivachenko (PhD Candidate) and Oksana Perets (Research Fellow until Winter 2016), and with Sergiy Kozakov I continue to work on developing a new textbook for the Beginners’ Ukrainian level, PodorozhiUA ('TravelsUA'). Specifically, we designed the Blended-learning Model textbook, which was introduced in our UKR 111-112 in Fall 2015-Winter 2016. This model is an innovative method of combining face-to-face and on-line learning, while maintaining the same number of contact hours. It is a method of instruction/learning is becoming increasingly popular at post-secondary institutions.
O. Sivachenko and I have also studied students’ perceptions toward the Blended-learning model. I published my portion of the study in the Journal of the National Council of LCTL.
I also collaborated with O. Sivachenko on another article, which investigated students’ motivation and demotivation factors for studying Ukrainian subjects at the university level. We analyzed the factors that contribute to students enrolling in Ukrainian studies courses, as well as those that contribute to the retention of students in such a program. The study aids in the design or re-design of curricula that would meet the learners’ needs, making such a program more attractive and appealing to existing and prospective students. More generally, the study contributes to the growing body of research on learner’s motivation not only in the language classroom, but also beyond (published in the East West Journal of Ukrainian Studies).