Translation Program receives a $1 million grant to form National Resource Center for Translation and Global Literacy

The award, through the US Department of Education, will support a proposed center that will leverage Iowa’s strengths in writing, translation, teacher education and international studies.
Monday, August 15, 2022

By Katie Linder  

CLAS Associate Professor Aron Aji led a team of colleagues across campus to produce a successful proposal to the U.S. Department of Education. The grant totals more than $1 million over the next four years – one of the largest humanities grants at Iowa.  

Prof. Aron Aji
Aron Aji

The funding will help launch a new national resource center that will advance translation and global literacy skills for students in K-12, undergraduate, and graduate-level study at Iowa, and other campuses across the US.  

Aji is the Director of MFA in Literary Translation and an Associate Professor of Instruction in the Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures in CLAS and is one of two PIs for the proposal. Pamela Wesely, Professor and Associate Dean in the UI College of Education, is the second PI.    

Aji says this impactful grant underscores Iowa’s longstanding commitment to translation and international education. About 60 years ago, the UI was the first to offer a translation workshop in an academic setting. Nearly 50 years ago it launched its MFA in Literary Translation, and this year UI will offer a BA in Translation, the first-ever program of its kind in the U.S.  

“Our commitment to translation and international writing is nationally recognized, and so is our commitment to training secondary school teachers of world languages – all of these make the UI an excellent site to host a National Resource Center for Translation and Global Literacy,” Aji says.  

The proposed center will work to: 

Associate Dean Pam Wesely
Pamela Wesely

  • Promote translation and global literacy across the University of Iowa  
  • Support faculty development and research  
  • Promote translation and global literacy among educators at all levels   
  • Create a research hub and resource library for public use   

Wesely says the College of Education is excited to work with UI experts and leaders in translation and global literacy to share their expertise with K-16 teachers, counselors, and students in Iowa.  

“We are looking forward to developing this center to become a resource within the University of Iowa and for educators, counselors, and members of multilingual communities across the state,” Wesely says.  

This center represents a great opportunity to collaborate across the university. Aji says the center will work in partnership with several areas across the university, including the Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures in CLAS, the College of Education, the Office of International Programs, and the International Writing Program, in addition to educators at all levels in Iowa and beyond.  

The DOE’s National Resource Centers Program provides grants to establish, strengthen, and operate centers that will be national resources for teaching any modern foreign language. 


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa is a comprehensive college offering 73 majors in the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. More than 17,000 undergraduate and 1,900 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by professors at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all UI undergraduates through the General Education Program, and confers about 70 percent of the UI's bachelor's degrees each academic year.