Former Assistant Professor of Romance Languages Jay Ketner, who taught French language courses and French-related seminars at Bowdoin for the last two and a half years, left the College at the end of January to serve as World Languages Specialist and Regional Representative for Cumberland County at the Maine Department of Education.

“Someone else heard about [the position] and spoke to me about it, thinking that I might be a good candidate for it,” said Ketner. “I decided that it would be something that would really interest me.”

His new position consists of two different components.

As the World Languages Specialist, he is the advisor for foreign language education for grades K-12 across the state. 

He is also helping to develop standards for the new proficiency model for language learning being implemented in K-12 schools throughout the state. 

“Proficiency based education focuses on what students are able to do, not how they do it, and in which period of time,” said Ketner. In regards to foreign language education, Ketner says proficiency means “students attain a certain level of ability communicating and understanding foreign language.”

Students will have different options for meeting that standard. The new system is more focused on how learners can reach a certain level of proficiency rather than the time they spend learning a certain subject.

Professor Ketner is also helping to make the standards students will have to meet in order to graduate.

In addition, he is helping teachers make the transition to the new proficiency model.
As the Regional Representative for Cumberland County, he serves as the liaison between the Superintendent of Cumberland County and the Department of Education, and the point person for the Maine Department of Education in the County.  

“I’m most looking forward to bringing my background and skills to help support foreign language teachers in the state as they move to a proficiency based teaching model,” said Ketner, “and to expand the current opportunities for students and teachers of all levels throughout Maine.”

However, Ketner said that he will miss Bowdoin and that working at Bowdoin has been a “phenomenal experience.” He will miss teaching and learning from his students.