Benjamin Rifkin

Dean, Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Hofstra University


My primary research interests are in foreign language education, especially performance-based learning outcomes assessment, applied linguistics, second language acquisition, and contemporary Russian film. I have won over $1 million in grants for the development of curricular materials for high school, college, and graduate level Russian courses, including RAILS (Russian Advanced Interactive Listening Series) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I have given numerous invited lectures and workshops around the US and abroad, have served in leadership positions in professional organizations and on editorial boards, and have won awards for two of my research projects, RAILS and a co-edited volume on the learning and teaching of Slavic languages and cultures.

For a full list of my publications, presentations, workshops and grants, download my curriculum vitae found on the home page.

Recent and Forthcoming Scholarly Publications

Panorama: Intermediate Russian Language and Culture.

Co-authored textbook, with Evgeny Dengub (Amherst College) and Susanna Nazarova (Mount Holyoke College).
Expected publication: Georgetown University Press, Spring 2017.

“Oral History in the Russian-Language Curriculum.” The Art of Teaching Russian.

Editors: Evgeny Dengub, Irina Dubinina, Jason Merrill. Co-authored with Benjamin C. Jens and Colleen Lucey. Expected publication date 2017.

“The World Language Curriculum at the Center of the Post-Secondary Curriculum.”

(Essay on the relationship between the National Standards in Foreign Language Learning and the Essential Learning Outcomes of the “Liberal Education and America’s Promise” program of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.) Liberal Education 98.3 (Summer 2012): 54-57.
Available online at

“Student Motivation and World Language Curricula at the Post-Secondary Level:

Responses to the MLA Report on Foreign Language Education.” ADFL Bulletin 42.1 (2012): 68-75.

“Language Learning Journeys and Destinations: Are We There Yet?”

Essay reviewing data on learning outcomes in the foreign language field.) NECTFL Review 68 (2011): 13- 27.
Available online at

Advanced Russian through History: Dela davno minuvshikh dnei.

Coauthored with Olga Kagan and Anna Yatsenko (Alsufieva). Yale University Press, 2007.

“50 Years of Pedagogy: The Learning and Teaching of Slavic Languages Past, Present and Future.”

Slavic and East European Journal 50.1 (2006): 29-44.

“Putting the Horse Before the Cart: Curricular Design with the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.”

Journal of the African Language Teachers Association 7 (2005): 81-104.

“A Ceiling Effect in Traditional Classroom Foreign Language Instruction: Data from Russian.”

Modern Language Journal 89.1 (2005): 3-18

Other Recent Publications

“For Parents of College Students: Top 10 Bits of Advice,”

Times of Trenton September 2, 2014
Available online at

“Why We Need the Liberal Arts.”

UrbanMilwaukee.Com March 4, 2013. An expanded version of essay appearing in InsideHigherEd.Com on November 27, 2012 at the invitation of editor of UrbanMilwaukee.
Available online at

“A Wayward Plan in Wisconsin.”

InsideHigherEd.Com, November 27, 2012.
Available online at

Selected Invited Lectures, Conference Presentations, and Workshops

“Oral History, the National Standards, Significant Learning, and the Liberal Arts,”

AATSEEL Conference, Austin, TX, January 2016.

“The College Foreign Language Program and the Liberal Arts in the 21st Century,”

World Language and Culture Studies Conference, Simpson College, October 2015.

“Discussion in the Liberal Arts Curriculum,”

Sewanee University of the South, September 2015.

“Assessment in the Proficiency-Oriented Russian Program,”

Presentation for STARTALK Institute for Teachers of Russian, Middlebury College School of Russian, July 2014.

“Intergenerational Learning through Oral History,”

ACTFL Conference, San Diego, November 2015, with co-presenter Benjamin Jens.

“Integrating the Curriculum and Co-Curriculum,”

NECTFL Conference, Baltimore, March 2013.

“Technology, the Liberal Arts, and the Russian Curriculum,”

AATSEEL Conference, Boston, January 2013.

“Policies, Purposes, Programs, and Prospects in World Language Education,”

New York University, May 2013.

“Principles and Practices of Liberal Arts Education in the United States,”

Vladimir State University Department of History (lecture given in Russian), March 2013.

“Discussion in Advanced Level Foreign Language Classes,”

Moscow State University (lecture given in Russian), March 2013.

“Teaching Oral Communication Skills at the Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Levels,”

Princeton University, November 2012.

Selected Grants Won

US Department of Education UISFL Grant for the Internationalization of Secondary Education Social Studies Curriculum


Russky Mir Foundation with Vladislav Zubok to run a seminar on Russian and American perspectives on the Cold War


US Department of Education Grant for the Development of Advanced Level Listening Comprehension Activities in Russian

approx. $500,000

Multiple Grants from Social Science Research Foundation to support scholarships for summer study of Russian at Middlebury College

over $100,000 total.

Awards for Scholarship

Award for Best Work in Language Pedagogy from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages for Russian Advanced Interactive Listening Series (RAILS)

Award for Best Work in Language Pedagogy for The Learning and Teaching of Slavic Languages and Cultures, co-edited with Olga Kagan