Self-Instructional Language Program

About the Program

The Self-Instructional Language Program (SILP) offers courses in less commonly taught languages. Students work independently using the language lab facilities at the Colleges and team up with a native speaker for biweekly tutorials. The program makes extensive use of audio-visual material, and interactive multimedia computer stations.

Every program is monitored by the SILP director and evaluated by outside examiners who are instructors of the specific language at a neighboring college or university. Languages available include advanced Italian, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Hindi and Vietnamese. Other languages may be offered on request.

All courses may be taken for credit or pass/fail.

Courses carry full credit for each term the language is studied and have equivalency with courses offered at colleges where the language is a standard offering. Course study is supervised by an instructor of the language at an accredited college. This professor provides a syllabus, learning exercises, quizzes and exams as well as guidance in text and learning material selection.

In lieu of classroom meeting times, the student who undertakes independent study of a language works daily from the provided syllabus. Two hours a week, the SILP student meets with a native speaker, who offers the opportunity to develop and refine oral skills in the language.

The daily use of audio and video material is the most important component of acquiring skill in the spoken form of any language. Attendance at bi-weekly tutorial sessions is mandatory.

Professors meet with the student for a mid-term and final examination—written and oral—to determine the course grade.

National Affiliation

HWS is affiliated to the National Association of Self Instructional Programs which coordinates and promotes self-instructional language teaching nationally according to a recommended format. It serves as the national forum for the interchange of ideas and expertise for the development and support of self-instructional academic curricula for low-enrollment languages. More than 110 institutions are currently affiliated with NASILP including colleges in our area like the Five Colleges, Grinnell, Hamilton and Vassar.

Other Institutions

SILP is also in communication with programs at other universities developing distance learning in various languages and providing resources and guidance in teaching and learning of African languages.

  • The Critical Languages Program
  • The University of Arizona
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • The International Association of World Englishes at Syracuse University
  • The National African Language Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin


Sebastiano Lucci, Director
451 Pulteney Street
Phone: (315) 781-3630


Hobart and William Smith Colleges,
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

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