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Drake University Language Acquisition Program (DULAP)

The Drake University Language Acquisition Program (DULAP) is a unique, learner-centered approach to language education/learning.

DULAP offers  several languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.

The Drake University Language Acquisition Program mentors students as they gain functional proficiency in a language other than English, develop cultural understanding and become responsible global citizens. Students prepare to study or live abroad, enhance professional development and pursue personal interests while working alongside native speakers and language acquisition specialists.


Language study in DULAP is a 4-credit commitment. Directed Independent Language Study (DILS), where students practice communicating in the language of study, is a 3-credit course. The additional credit is a one-hour, co-requisite language learning strategies course. This is required of all language students for the first two semesters they study language in DULAP.


Focusing on the development of functional communicative competency, students learn to use the language rather than merely learning about the language. In order to foster a communicative classroom environment in which all students are active participants, course sections are limited to a maximum of 4 students.

Students meet for three hours a week with a native speaker of the language of study. The native speaker functions as a model and a resource person. Students also work with their Language Coordinator, a professional linguist who mentors their progress.

Students are primarily evaluated through midterm and final exams and an ePortfolio. All midterm and final exams include an oral interview with the outside examiner, with content based on the materials assigned in the syllabus. Questions may include materials not directly assigned but those appropriate to the student’s experience and skill level. Outside examiners are professionals in the target language, often professors from other universities. They are also consulted in the development of courses. Examiners know where students’ skill levels should be and are needed to give an objective assessment of student progress. The ePortfolio is a collection of work produced by a student throughout his/her time in DULAP. It is a means of documenting student progress over time. Contained in the ePortfolio are a student’s audio, video and writing samples and reflective journal.

Language Learning Strategies

In their first two semester of language study, all students take Language Learning Strategies. This one-credit course meets once a week with students from all languages. It is led by the language coordinators and is designed to guide students through beginning language study at Drake. Through the Language Learning Strategies courses, students are introduced to strategies for more effective language learning, receive instruction on the technology required for the program and discuss concepts of culture and cultural identity.

Taking DULAP Courses

Students interested in taking classes in DULAP must submit the online application (available on the DULAP website: /international/dulap/ ). Students who have previous experience studying the language must complete the placement process to ensure that they begin study in DULAP at the level for which they are prepared. Students are registered for DULAP courses by the program; students do not register online for DULAP courses.

Drake University does not have a general language requirement; several academic programs require language study (International Business, International Relations, Vocal Performance, Education endorsements in Spanish, French, German and ESL, and the Global Ambassador Certificate).

In addition to academic offerings, DULAP organizes additional opportunities for students and members of the Des Moines community to engage with language.

The Drake International Film Festival is co-sponsored by DULAP and the Center for Global Citizenship, with support from the U.S. Department of Education.  Several films are shown every semester, with introductions by Drake faculty and staff.

Occasionally, DULAP sponsors other activities, such as karaoke night and an origami workshop.

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University Events
University News
August 17, 2018
Neil M. Gorsuch, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, gave a special lecture to approximately 350 Drake Law students, faculty, and staff on Aug. 16.