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Information about SIL-UND for regular UND Students
(This page brings together information about SIL-UND which is especially important to students who attend UND during the regular academic year. Most of the information is also available elsewhere on the SIL-UND website.)
The Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) has offered linguistics courses at UND for over 65 years. Beginning in 1952 at the university's invitation, SIL is an integral part of UND's summer session. SIL courses can be used toward degrees at UND, especially the M.A. in Linguistics, a graduate certificate in Community-Based Literacy, and an undergraduate minor in linguistics. They are designed to prepare students to do field work in little-studied languages, with emphasis on analytical skills, field methods, theoretical frameworks that have proven especially useful in the analysis and description of such languages. Most of the courses are in linguistics or sociolinguistics, but the program also includes courses in related fields such as cultural anthropology and literacy.
Most SIL students are on campus only during the summer, but regular year-round UND students are welcome.
SIL offers similar courses at several other locations around the world. It also conducts an international program of linguistic research, literacy, translation, and other types of language development in approximately 1300 languages spoken in over 80 countries.
The SIL-UND faculty consists primarily of people with doctoral degrees in linguistics from a variety of universities, most with extensive field experience. Many spend nine months each year in the field doing research under the auspices of SIL. Some teach regularly at other universities and have no formal association with SIL except for the SIL program at UND. All serve voluntarily, with no remuneration from the University and receive only travel, housing, and meals from SIL-UND.
The SIL program is usually housed in the Johnstone-Fulton-Smith residence complex, although some summers in Selke Hall. There, you will find faculty and staff offices, computers, a room with reserved readings for classes, and a childcare program as well as living accommodations for students and staff. Bulletin boards and mailboxes (for all participants) serve as communication centers to keep the program running smoothly and efficiently. All students in SIL classes, whether living in the SIL residence hall or not, have access to offices, mail boxes, and other common areas at any time.
SIL classes are good preparation for a career in which familiarity with a local language is very important or essential, such as linguistics, language development, literacy, anthropology, or translation. The courses meet all standards for UND credit, are regularly updated to reflect the current state of the field, and provide a solid foundation for doctoral study in linguistics at other institutions.
The SIL session lasts nine weeks, from early June to early August (see dates). The courses are designed to be intensive and challenging. Students taking 10 credits should expect to spend 3-5 hours per day in class and 4-6 hours per day outside of class; in addition, there is generally some homework on weekends. Some courses, notably Ling 480 (Learner-Directed Second Language Acquisition) and Ling 506 (Field Methods), have special sessions outside of regularly-scheduled class hours working individually or in small groups with speakers of other languages. (See the program's class schedule.) SIL teachers are readily available to answer questions and discuss assignments during daily office hours (afternoons or evenings).
Many SIL courses are grouped into integrated packages. The content of courses in each set is interrelated and work loads are coordinated. Although the courses may be taken separately or in different combinations, it is recommended that the courses be taken in the standard packages because of the coordination within each set. This is especially important for the language and linguistics (introductory) Package A.
Application, registration and fees
All SIL students, including those on campus during the regular school year, should apply directly to SIL each year, so that SIL has adequate staffing to meet student needs and so that students can be informed about when and where to meet for registration and classes, etc.
SIL students normally register officially for classes on the Monday before classes begin (see dates). All SIL students, even those not living in the residence hall, should check in at the SIL residence hall during that weekend, to receive important instructions about that Monday's activities and complete other check-in procedures. The activities on Monday are required; please reserve the entire day to complete them. They are as important for year-round students as for those coming just for the summer, especially since the program operates in some ways differently from regular UND classes.
If for some reason you must register with UND prior to this meeting, please contact the SIL-UND director for permission numbers.
All tuition and fees for courses taught by SIL are paid directly to SIL, not to UND. (This is part of the agreement between UND and SIL, since this is SIL's primary source of funding for the program. In fact, because of the voluntary service of faculty and staff, it is generally the case that SIL fees are appreciably lower than what one would have to pay to the university.) Payment is expected on registration day; see our page of costs to estimate your bill. If you receive a bill from UND for SIL courses, please do not pay it but bring it to SIL's attention so that we can have the charges reversed.
Housing, meals, and extracurricular activities
SIL operates a cooperative housing program in a UND residence hall facility (usually Johnstone, Fulton, and/or Smith), which is available to all students and staff of SIL-UND. Housing costs are kept low by each resident student contributing one hour of work each day to the program. Most SIL participants eat their meals at Wilkerson Hall at special negotiated rates. Application for housing and meals is made after acceptance into the SIL program.
The opportunity to live, work, eat, and play together fosters a strong sense of community among students and staff, one of the best parts of the program. Those who choose to live and/or eat elsewhere, however, are still welcome to participate fully in all other aspects of the program, including social and extracurricular activities. Special arrangements are made whenever necessary to ensure that students living outside the dorm have full access to all instructional resources.
SILers who share similar religious backgrounds get together regularly in the dormitories for nonsectarian religious expression, but such activities are always optional; students are free to participate or not, as they prefer.
Group sports, especially volleyball, soccer, and ultimate frisbee, also have wide participation.