The Roles and Responsibilities of the LPD in Postsecondary Language Programs

LPD Roles

Although the specific responsibilities of an LPD will vary by department or institution, the overall role of the LPD is to 

use their specialized knowledge of second language acquisition, curriculum, assessment, pedagogy, and teacher development to provide students and instructors participating in lower-level language courses with the highest quality experience possible. 

This role can be further subdivided into the following sub-roles: 

  1. Design curriculum, instructional materials, and assessments that reflect up-to-date research, theory, and practice in second language teaching and learning
  2. Plan curriculum, instruction, and assessment with attention to articulation within and across courses
  3. Provide administrative and professional development support to instructors
  4. Evaluate the degree to which the curriculum is being effectively implemented

LPD Responsibilities

The four sub-roles of the LPD presented above can help you brainstorm the specific job responsibilities that an LPD might carry out over the course of an academic year. For each of the sub-roles listed below, type in the responsibilities you think are associated with that role. An example responsibility is provided for each sub-role to help get you started. When you've created your list of responsibilities, check your answers against those of the Module 1 author. Finally, when you've completed this activity, think about the reflective questions at the bottom of the page.

1. Design curriculum, instructional materials, and assessments

EXAMPLE: Determine program- and course-level learning objectives

Curriculum and Instruction
  • Determine program- and course-level learning objectives
  • Select course content (e.g., textbook, target language texts, supplemental materials)
  • Create support materials to supplement the curriculum (e.g., lesson plans, grading rubrics, review exercises, etc.)
  • Review, select, and order textbooks and other instructional materials

Assessment
  • Build an assessment plan aligned with objectives
  • Oversee creation of assessments and rubrics for use across sections/courses
  • Mentor instructors through the creation of assessments and rubrics
  • Create a schedule for drafting, revising, and distributing assessments among the instructional team

Administration
  • Maintain regular communication with instructors, textbook representatives, language center, etc.
  • Determine placement policies and/or develop and revise placement exams
  • Prepare and distribute course syllabi

Professional Development
  • Read published research in applied linguistics to stay abreast of trends in curriculum, instruction, and assessment

2. Attend to articulation within and across courses

EXAMPLE: Ensure consistency in learning objectives and assessment plans across lower-level courses (i.e., vertical articulation)

Horizontal Articulation
  • Ensure consistent classroom, absence, and other policies within and across sections of the same course
  • Set up LMS sites for consistency across sections

Vertical Articulation

  • Ensure consistency in learning objectives and assessment plans across lower-level courses
  • Evaluate learning objectives and curricula for courses beyond the lower-level sequence 
  • Communicate program outcomes to colleagues in subsequent courses
  • Address placement issues/inconsistencies/questions

General

  • Encourage use of similar pedagogical approaches across instructors
  • Maintain regular communication with the instructional team, coordinators, the director of undergraduate studies, the chair, etc.

3. Support instructors

EXAMPLE: Design and facilitate orientation and ongoing professional development workshops

Instructor Evaluation
  • Conduct regular classroom observations
  • Develop an observation evaluation form
  • Prepare observation follow-up feedback (oral and written)
  • Prepare annual reviews
  • Write letters of recommendation for jobs, grants, awards, etc.

Professional Development

  • Design and facilitate orientation and ongoing professional development workshops 
  • Organize and facilitate instructor meetings

Troubleshooting

  • Communicate and clarify relevant policies and practices
  • Handle student questions/problems/complaints
  • Handle instructor questions/problems/complaints

Administration

  • Staff and schedule all course sections
  • Provide access to course materials, including desk copies, shared document folders, online textbook materials, etc.
  • Facilitate access to and use of resources (e.g., technology support, office space, electronic classrooms)
  • Provide support for submission of final grades
  • Maintain regular communication with instructors, the director of graduate studies, the chair, etc.
  • Recruit and hire instructors

4. Evaluate the program

EXAMPLE: Review textbook in use to evaluate approach, relevance, ease of use, applicability to classroom context, etc.

Instructors
  • Gather feedback from instructors
  • Review classroom observation notes 

Students

  • Gather and review data related to student learning outcomes
  • Review student evaluations of teaching
  • Evaluate placement exam scores

Program

  • Review textbook in use to evaluate approach, relevance, ease of use, applicability to classroom context, etc.
  • Ensure reliability and validity of scoring rubrics
  • Monitor enrollment patterns and course offerings over time
  • Review processes to help streamline or reduce obstacles
  • Analyze evaluation data and identify problems/areas for improvement

 

Reflective questions:

  • Which of the duties listed by the Module 1 author match up with the ones you listed? 
  • Which did you find most surprising or unexpected? Why? 
  • Which did you find most interesting? Most daunting? Why?
  • Which duties would you like to learn more about? How might you gather such information?
  • What is your overall reaction to the range of duties an LPD may be asked to carry out? 

You can find out more about the roles and responsibilities of LPDs in the Scholarly Resources provided at the end of this module. A good starting point is Chapter 1 of Language Program Direction: Theory and Practice (2014) by Gillian Lord.

 

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