Alla A. Smyslova, Senior Lecturer In Russian

Alla A. Smyslova, Senior Lecturer In Russian

Alla holds her M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Indiana University, Bloomington, and her Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition from Bryn Mawr College. She joined the Department of Slavic Languages in 2002. She teaches all levels of Russian as a foreign or heritage language to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as trains graduate instructors. Alla is the co-author (with William Comer, Lynne deBenedette and Jon Perkins) of an online open-access textbook for beginning Russian «Между нами»: An Interactive Introduction to Russian. The textbook is used widely in college and pre-college Russian Language programs, in 2017 it received the AATSEEL Prize for Best Contribution to Pedagogy.

Alla’s research and teaching focus on issues of foreign and heritage language acquisition by adult learners, skill development, and the effects of instructional intervention. In 2002, she designed and developed the course Russian for Heritage Learners, which she continues to teach. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in its 2017 report Investing in Language Education for the 21st Century, recognized this course as a pedagogical model to be adopted elsewhere in the US and applied to other heritage languages.

Alla regularly presents at national and international conferences. She has contributed articles to the books Russian Language Studies in North America: New Perspectives from Theoretical and Applied Linguistics (Ed.  V. Makarova. London: Anthem Press, 2012) and Studies on Language and Culture in the Russophone World (Eds. R. Brecht, L. A. Verbitskaja, et al. Moscow: Azbukovnik, 2009).

Alla actively contributes to the Russian field. In recent years, she served on the Russian Standard Setting Committee for the American Councils for International Education; she wrote items for the national AP exam. Additionally, she served on the committee for New York State Teacher Certification Examinations, and on various national selection committees for study abroad and internship programs.  Since 2010, she has been serving on the editorial board of Russian Language Journal, and on the Board of Directors for the American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR). As a member of the ACTR Board of Directors, she chaired its Nominations Committee for three years and for the last ten years she has been chairing the National Post-Secondary Russian Scholar Award and co-chaired the National Post-Secondary Russian Essay Contest.

In 2020 - 2022, Alla served as Vice-President of the American Council of Teachers of Russian, and in 2021, she received the ACTR Service Award for her outstanding service to the profession.

Courses Designed, Developed & Taught at Columbia University                                                      

UN 1101-1102  First Year Russian

S 1101-1102     Intensive Beginning Russian

UN 1103-1104  Russian Grammar for Beginners

UN 3331-3332  Third Year Russian

UN 3430-3431  Russian for Heritage Speakers

UN 3335          Advanced Russian through History

GU 4347          Reading for Social Sciences

S 4333-4334     Intensive Advanced Russian

GU 4350-4351  Beyond Advanced: Language, Culture, Society in Today’s Russia

G 6040              Developing Academic Discourse