Russian Flagship Program

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Program Overview

What is the Russian Flagship Program?

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Russian Flagship Program is an innovative undergraduate program that offers highly-motivated students of any major the opportunity to reach a professional level of competence in Russian by graduation. The goal of the program is to graduate students who will take their place among the next generation of global professionals, commanding a professional level of competence in Russian.

The UW-Madison Russian Flagship Program is comprised of both domestic and overseas study. UW-Madison is one of four universities that offer domestic Russian Flagship programs; the other three institutions are Bryn Mawr CollegePortland State University, and the University of California, Los Angeles. The domestic programs work in partnership with American Councils for International Education, which administers the Russian Overseas Flagship (ROF) capstone year abroad at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The ROF offers students intensive, professional language training, as well as direct enrollment in courses at the host university and a professional internship. Together, the domestic program and the ROF offer a sequence of articulated domestic and overseas study to enable undergraduate students of all majors to reach a professional level of Russian language proficiency by graduation.

The UW-Madison Russian Flagship Program is a collaborative initiative of the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic and the Language Institute, with the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia and the Doctoral Program in Second Language Acquisition. The Language Flagship is an initiative of the National Security Education Program in the U.S. Department of Defense. 

How is professional proficiency defined?

The Russian Flagship Program graduates students who achieve a Superior level of proficiency according to the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines or a Level 3 on the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale used by the U.S. Government. Individuals at this proficiency level are able to speak, read, listen, and write at length and in detail on a wide variety of topics and in various settings, both informal and formal, concrete and abstract; to state and support opinions and to hypothesize, advise, persuade, negotiate, and interpret subtleties of meaning; and to reword or “circumlocute” when the precise word needed is lacking. Those with Superior-level proficiency can deal with linguistically unfamiliar situations and are able to communicate with native speakers unaccustomed to speaking with foreigners. Individuals with a Superior-level command of the language are able to function productively in a wide variety of professional settings.