The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2005

rels: this past March, it engaged an architectural and engineering firm to design a much-needed addition to the Shultz Center campus that is scheduled for comple- tion at the end of 2007. In that same spirit, the responses to our survey suggest that it may be time for FSI to consider revamping its con- ceptual approach in some respects, as well: • Rather than waiting until the end of training (or the emergence of major individual problems) to solicit stu- dent feedback, FSI should seek more regular input from its customers throughout their training, and provide more regular feedback on student performance in long- term courses. • FSI does many things well, but the time may have come to explore the feasibility of contracting out more functions — e.g., curriculum development, testing and teacher training work — to academic institutions, other federal agencies or the private sector. This is particularly true of instruction in foreign languages and area studies. • There are valid reasons for FSI’s traditional practice of hiring only native speakers to teach languages. But given the unprecedented demand for language instruc- tion, both in terms of quality and quantity, there are also good reasons to reach out to the many non-native speak- ers whose pedagogical skills are equal or even superior. Just as the language faculty already includes teachers from many different countries, a mix of native and non- native speakers may serve students best. • Language and professional development courses should try to connect their curricula more closely to the demands of actual work at overseas missions, particularly in consular sections. One of FSI’s great strengths over the past 60 years has been its willingness to modify its courses and devel- op new offerings to meet the changing needs of the Foreign Service and its students. That flexibility has never been more needed than now, for as the director general’s new Career Development Program empha- sizes, the importance of Foreign Service training has never been greater.  F O C U S J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 0 5 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 31