Kathy presenting at SWCOLT in Santa Fe

February 24, 2018

I am honored to have been selected as a presenter at the SWCOLT conference in Santa Fe, to present on the role and importance  foreign language advocacy.

SWCOLT 02-23-18

Although it was snowing when I arrived, a short time later, I was able enjoy walking through beautiful and historic Santa Fe in brilliant sunshine, and I received a warm welcome from the foreign language educators of Southwest COLT and the host, NMOLE.

I attended interesting, informative, and insightful sessions on becoming a more knowledgeable global citizen through language and culture, combining proficiency and achievement when students are at different levels, and French for humanitarian help and global health, as well as the inspirational keynote address and announcement of the SWCOLT Teacher of the Year.

I also enjoyed the opportunity to discuss advocacy and other important issues in foreign language learning with many dedicated foreign language educators.

Special thanks to the SWCOLT organizers for having invited me to participate and congratulations on a wonderful conference.

Languages do matter!




3 Corporate Benefits Of Learning A Foreign Language And Why You Should Care

June 13, 2017

“At the pace with which businesses are expanding the world over, this is not the time for you to remain a monolinguist.

With the evolving business landscape, and thinning borders. It would be a huge disadvantage for you as an individual or business-person to be limited to just one language. You’d be doing yourself a whole lot of disservice.

Learning a foreign could be a difficult, and exasperating activity. But the benefits are well worth it.

Besides the ‘growing popularity’ of foreign languages, learning how to speak a foreign language fluently could also open you up to be more accepting of the culture and traditions of others.”

Read more @ https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianrashid/2017/06/12/3-corporate-benefits-of-learning-a-foreign-language-and-why-you-should-care/#39f28b881887

Languages do matter!

“Independent bookstores holding their own in face of new challenges”

February 6, 2011

This article from today’s “Record” is encouraging!

National Coffee Break Day

January 23, 2011

If these cold winter days make you long to curl up with a good read and a hot, steaming cup of coffee, you may find the following of interest.

January 20th was National Coffee Break Day 

If you love your coffee, and you love a good mystery, check out the “coffeehouse mysteries” by the husband and wife team known as author Cleo Coyle .

You may also wish to read “Black Coffee” by Agatha Christie.

Additional coffee links of interest:

Coffee.  From National Geographic

Do you take Lit with your coffee?:  Fiction for coffee lovers

The International Coffee Organization.

The Year in Reading

December 22, 2010

For an interesting perspective on the best in reading for 2010, please check The Year in Reading by Scott Mc Lemee in InsideHigherEd.

The Illusion of Google’s Limitless Library

December 13, 2010

The Illusion of Google’s Limitless Library

Not all books are online!

A Book-Lover’s San Francisco

December 5, 2010

If you love books and/or the city by the bay, this December 1st article is worthwhile reading @


If you would like to read more about books and San Francisco, check out Kate Carlisle’s “bibliophile mysteries”.

Best Books of 2010

November 28, 2010

As the end of the year approaches, it is time reflect on the best books of the year.  Please bear in mind that this will be a work in progress over the next several weeks, as I add new links as more “best books” lists appear.

As always, please feel free to share your suggestions and recommendations with me.

Best wishes to all for another great year of books and reading in 2011!

Best Books of 2010.  From Publisher’s Weekly.

Best Books of 2010.  From Good Housekeeping.

Best Books of the Year: 2010.  From The Guardian.

Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2010.  From the New York Times.

LJ Best Books 2010: Genre Fiction.  From Library Journal.

Nobel Prize in Literature 2010.

100 Notable Books of 2010.  From the New York Times.

PW’s Best Children’s Books of 2010.

The 20 Best Children’s Books of the Year.  From Parents Magazine.

2010 Best Children’s Books: The Complete List.   From Kirkus Reviews

2010 Best Books for Young Adults.  From the ALA. 

2010’s Best Cookbooks: Real-Life Labors of Love.  From NPR.  

The 25 Best Cookbooks of 2010.   From the Guardian

The Top 30 Business Books of 2010.   From the Economist

The Edgar Awards 2010.   From the Mystery Writers of America. 

2010 Hugo Awards.

Kathy’s Wroxton Journal — Or, What I Did on My Summer Vacation

August 1, 2010

Kathy’s Wroxton Journal — Or, What I Did on My Summer Vacation

July 25, 2010

Wroxton Abbey

As Wroxton College Dean Baldwin has so aptly written, “Wroxton — the College; the Abbey; the Estate — is a very special — even magical — place…. it was — and is — impossible not to fall in love with it.” p. 6

 After the flight from Newark to London and an hour-long trip northwest on the motorway, we passed through the town of Banbury, a prosperous town with a mix of old and new, and a few minutes later entered the village of Wroxton, where diminutive houses with thatched roofs  and garden flowers  signaled a passage to another era.  Although I had seen countless pictures of the Abbey, I was, nonetheless, unprepared for vision that awaited me as the Abbey came into view at the end of the drive.

While the Abbey itself was more than impressive, I fell in love immediately with the gorgeous, park-like property, with a spectacular view over a seemingly endless lawn.  After being assigned a room, one of the first things I did was to take a walk down the path to the pond, the first of two on the property.  With its beautiful water lilies, the pond was reminiscent of Monet, yet a later walk revealed a second, larger pond toward the rear of the property.  Early morning walks were accompanied by birds, rabbits, and more.

As the week progressed, I explored the Abbey grounds and the village as time permitted, encountering scenes of the countryside and village life even more vibrant than I had imagined.

The Staff Retreat

In describing the Wroxton College curriculum, President Adams has written that “students are taught by a British faculty and by distinguished visiting lecturers from government, academia, business and the arts”  p. 7

Meals taken together in the Carriage House were an opportunity for the group — participants, guests, and the group leaders — to become better acquainted and to discover shared interests and goals. In addition to the three daily meals, morning coffee and afternoon tea in the Buttery were refreshing breaks between sessions where participants and guest speakers had the opportunity to continue conversation on a variety of issues in an informal setting.

Our meetings generally took place in the Lecture Hall, a multimedia space, in the Carriage House, reminiscent of doctoral seminars I attended in Vermont College’s Noble Hall.

Bringing together my work as Associate University Librarian and Director of Public Services  at FDU’s Giovatto Library and my academic interest in translingual and transcultural elements in education for global citizenship, I developed and delivered a presentation on “Information in the Electronic Age:  FDU in the Digital World”.

Highlights were the presentations given by the participants and group leaders, as well as by Dean Baldwin, Dr. Nigel Forman and Dr. Pamela Mason of the Wroxton faculty, and guest speaker Dr. Edward Harcourt, Director of International Relations at the University of Birmingham.  Dean Baldwin conducted a tour of the Abbey with an account of its history;  Dr. Forman delivered a presentation on “Globalization and Its Impact on Higher Education”;  Dr. Mason discussed the Shakespeare play we were scheduled to see; and Dr. Harcourt delivered a presentation on “The Internationalization of Higher Education”.

Out and About

As President Adams has written, “the academic offerings … are supplemented by an extensive schedule of tours and special events…The  Abbey, the traditions, the faculty, the cultural opportunities:  it all adds up to a unique place to experience a new culture and learn what it takes to succeed in a global environment, and what it means to be a global citizen.” p. 7

In addition to the retreat program, participants and guests had the opportunity to visit Broughton Castle, Oxford, Blenheim Castle, Stratford-on-Avon, and to spend a day in London before returning to the U.S.  Guests were also able to visit the Cotswolds. On our last evening together as a group, we attended a performance of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” by the Royal Shakespeare Company after a farewell dinner together in town.

FDU’s Mission of Education for Global Citizenship and Wroxton College

Through the presentations, discussion, and time spent together, participants were able to come to better know the contributions made by colleagues in other university departments and to understand more fully the importance of Wroxton College within the context of the history and mission of Fairleigh Dickinson University.

As President Adams has written,

Immersing oneself in a different culture is a way to confront and deal with things first-hand, to learn and grow on an educational level and a personal one. And, in an era of globalization, those who are unaware of other place, people, and ways of doing things, will fall further and further behind.

We believe strongly that there is no better gateway to new worlds, diverse perspectives, and — most of all — new ideas than Wroxton College. p. 6

Observations and Lessons Learned

While North Jersey is home to two FDU campuses, our students come from all over the world, bringing with them a variety of backgrounds and experiences.  It has been illuminating to be able to reflect on both my work in the FDU Library and on my academic interests in language competency in education for global citizenship from our UK campus.

Despite the recession, both the outgoing and return flights were completely booked, and London and Stratford-on-Avon were crowded with tourists, mostly young people of student age, from a variety of countries — no longer were Americans the predominant, or most visibly affluent, group. 

No longer was English the language most widely spoken.

While we are tempted to feel at home in the UK due to our shared language and history, the massive traffic jams through London’s West End caused by the Queen’s Garden Party and the very formal, very British, fashion choices made by the throngs of attendees visible on line at the entrance to Buckingham Palace and in the surrounding streets highlight the difference between our cultures.

An unscheduled stop at Stewart AFB for re-fueling during a much-delayed and turbulent flight home was a reminder that travel is still an unpredictable adventure.

Thank you

Although I had traveled to Europe extensively from 1973 to 1984, I had not had the opportunity to do so in more recent years until I was selected to participate in the FDU staff retreat.

I would like to express my appreciation to all those at FDU who made this once-in-a-career experience possible and to Shelly and Diana, our group leaders, and all of the participants and guests who participated in the program.

Many thanks to Dean Baldwin and to the entire Wroxton College staff for their gracious hospitality.


Please find photos @ http://www.flickr.com/search/people/?q=kathy stein smith

Selected Readings

Adams, J. Michael.  “Wroxton College:  A Treasure in FDU’s Global Mosaic”. in Sammartino, Peter, et al.  Wroxton.  CreateSpace, 2009.

Baldwin, Nicholas D. J. ” Foreword’, in Savage, Walter et al.  Wroxton Journals.  CreateSpace, 2009.

Davies, Julie, and Edward Harcourt.  “No shonky * , cappuccino courses * here, mate. UK perspectives on Australian higher education. ”   Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, Volume 11, Issue 4, 2007, Pages 116 – 122.

Department for Business Innovation & Skills.  Higher Ambitions:  The Future of Universities in a Knowledge Economyhttp://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/corporate/docs/h/09-1447-higher-ambitions.pdf

Edwards, Paul.  “The Gardens at Wroxton Abbey, Oxfordshire”.  Garden History 14: 1, 1986 p. 50-60. 

___.  Wroxton Abbey: research for restoration proposals.  Landscape Research. 4: 3 Autumn 1979 , pages 18 – 19

GHERC:  Globalization and Higher Education Research Centerhttp://www.globalhighered.com/

 Kogan, Maurice, and Stephen Henney.  Reforming Higher Education.  Jessica Kingsley, 1999.

Kowarski, Ilana.  “Colleges Help Students to Translate the Benefits of Study Abroad”.  CHE, July 22, 2010.

Steves, Rick.  Travel as a Political Act.  Nation, 2009.

“What Happens at a Garden Party.”  The Official Website of the British Monarchy.  http://www.royal.gov.uk/RoyalEventsandCeremonies/GardenParties/WhathappensataGardenParty.aspx

Wildavsky, Ben.  The Great Brain Race:  How Global Universities Are Reshaping the World.  Princeton University Press, 2010.

“U.S. Library of Congress introduces plans for world digital collection”

October 17, 2007

If you love LC’s American Memory, you may be interested in the world digital collection that has been proposed.  To find out more, check out the article in today’s International Herald Tribune @ http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/10/17/business/library.php

“…The Library of Congress also signed an agreement with Unesco in Paris to move ahead with their World Digital Library project, which is still in its testing phase and will not be available for public use until next year.

But other national libraries appear poised to cooperate in the venture…”