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2021 Program

Program Personnel


Ms. Ellen Butki

Ms. Ellen Butki is the Academic English Program/Elective Classes Coordinator. She has a B.A. in political science, history and geography and an M.A. in teaching ESL/EFL. She has taught at both university programs and adult immigrant programs in California, Massachusetts, and Texas. After teaching business English in Argentina for five years, she returned to Austin in 2002. She enjoys helping students develop all four language skills and tries to constantly challenge her students as well as herself.

Dr. Thomas J. Garza

Dr. Thomas Garza (Ed.D., Harvard University) is a University Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor in the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, and Director of the Texas Language Center. His research interests include Russian language teaching methodology, applied linguistics, and contemporary Russian culture.

A native Texan, he teaches Russian language and literature at all levels, foreign language pedagogy, and courses in contemporary Russian culture.  He has been traveling to and researching in Russia since 1979 and has lived in Moscow for over five years. 

During his thirty-year tenure at the University, he has received numerous prizes for undergraduate and graduate teaching, including the Texas Excellence Award, the President's Associates Award, the Harry Ransom Award, was inducted into the University Academy of Distinguished Teachers in 2003, selected for a Regents Outstanding Teaching Award in 2009 and was named to the Texas Ten by the Texas Exes Alumni Association in 2018.

His current research is on intensive language teaching methods, and cultural portraits of machismo in contemporary Russian and Latino cultures.

Dr. Christian Hilchey

Dr. Christian Hilchey (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is a lecturer in the Department of Slavic and Eurasian studies and teaches primarily courses related to Czech language and culture.

He has taught Czech language classes at UT from the beginning to the Advanced level. He has also taught a course on Texas Czechs. He has written an online open textbook Reality Czech along with the Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL).

He also has a deep interest in gastronomy and frequently teaches the course Cuisine and Culture of Central and Eastern Europe. In this course, students explore the gastronomic history, culture, techniques, and practices of the region.

His research interests include language pedagogy, Czech instructional material development, Texas Czech communities, food culture, Czech linguistics, verbal prefixes, and Czech dialects.

Dr. Orlando Kelm

Dr. Orlando Kelm (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley) is an Associate Professor of Hispanic Linguistics whose professional interests center on the use language and culture for professional purposes, such as Business Spanish and Portuguese.  

His current research focuses on the creation of instructional materials including the use of innovative technologies in foreign language instruction, the teaching of foreign language for professional purposes, Portuguese and Spanish phonetics, and applied linguistics.

He currently serves as the Director of the Portuguese Flagship Program at UT Austin.

Dr. Pat Kyle

Dr. Patricia Kyle (Ph.D., Indiana University Bloomington) is Coordinator for Languages Online for the Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services, and Director of Online Instruction in the Department of French and Italian.

She holds the PhD in French Linguistics in which she specialized in Applied French Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition, and she holds an MBA and MA in Information and Learning Technologies from the University of Colorado. Dr. Kyle has taught French language and linguistics, second language acquisition, and language teaching methodology at the graduate and undergraduate levels and specializes in the design, implementation, management, and staffing of online language courses. 

Her current research interests include Language Learning and Instruction, Second Language Acquisition, Teaching Languages with Technology, and Digital Instructional Design.

Ms. Rose Potter

A life-long educator whose dynamic and engaging approach to instruction has impacted the lives of thousands of students and educators, Ms. Rose Potter promotes active, student-centered leaning and an inquiry approach to teaching to build creative and critical thinking skills.

She has taught and mentored others at all levels of instruction, K-12, higher education and professional development. In addition to her classroom experience, she founded and operated a business to organize college credit study abroad, immersion experiences for high school students. From 2006 – 2018 Ms. Potter mentored pre-service World Language teachers for the UTeach-Liberal Arts program at the University of Texas at Austin, first as a University Supervisor and later, as a Clinical Assistant Professor. She presently serves the Department of Spanish and Portuguese as a Lecturer.

A nominee for the ACTFL – NYSAFLT Anthony Papalia Award for Excellence in Teacher Education, Ms. Potter’s interests include Student Centered and Inductive Language Learning, The Five E’s Lesson Design, Spanish for Interpreters, and Spanish for Health Care Providers.

Dr. Heather Rice

Dr. Heather Rice (Ph.D., Indiana University) is the Russian language coordinator and a lecturer of Russian for the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies. She teaches lower-level, introductory Russian language courses.

In coordination with the Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services (LAITS) at UT, Dr. Rice created the content for the three-semester online Russian language sequence and textbook Будем на связи (We'll be in Touch / Online)*which is exclusively used at the University of Texas for all lower-level, introductory Russian language courses, including the intensive and online sequences. 

Dr. Rice is the Southwest Regional Chair for the Olympiada of Spoken Russian, and has also worked with LAITS as a faculty consultant for the transition to online instruction.

Most recently, Dr. Rice has been focused on developing strategies for community-building in the online language classroom - namely, ways to create opportunities for shared experiences that lead to greater student engagement, success, and retention. 

With the support of a Global Virtual Exchange development grant through Texas Global, Dr. Rice is working with the Higher School of Economics in Moscow on an exchange program, aimed at providing the online students with live, real-time virtual language and cultural experiences on the ground in Moscow. 

Her research interests include community building and student-to-student interactivity in online learning, experiential learning online, distance learning, Russian language pedagogy, second-language acquisition, phonetics and phonology; and Russian and Soviet cinema.


Ms. Betsy Brown

Senior Program and Outreach Coordinator

Dr. Thomas J. Garza


Mr. Alex Thomas

Senior Student Associate



Daily, Monday through Friday

7:00-8:15        Language Practicum Course outline

8:15-9:30        Methods Seminar

9:30-9:45        Break

9:45-11:00      STEM Materials Practicum Course outline


Daily, Monday through Thursday

Conversation Sections

Meeting times based on participants’ time zone.


Fridays (and at will)

Synchronous Cultural Activities

July 23: “Mavericks, Dogies, and Drovers” – Cultural lecture with the Bullock Texas State History Museum. 

July 30: Tour of NASA Space Center, Houston.

August 3: “Big and Bright: Images of Texas on Screen.” Cultural Lecture with Prof. Elizabeth Richmond-Garza. 

August 6: Tour of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library: Introduction to Holdings. 

Asynchronous Cultural Activities

Discover more of Austin and Texas with these links! Available here.


  • Texas Language Center

    University of Texas at Austin
    2505 University Ave, B7800
    BUR 572
    Austin, Texas 78712-1085