Moeller elected president-elect of American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

Ali Moeller
Ali Moeller, Edith S. Greer Professor of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education.

Moeller elected president-elect of American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

25 Jan 2017    By Brad Stauffer

Leading her field on a national scale is nothing new to Ali Moeller, Edith S. Greer Professor of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education. In 2017, Moeller is serving as president-elect of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), a professional organization dedicated to the improvement and expansion of the teaching and learning of all languages. Previously she served as president of the American Association of Teachers of German and more recently the National Federation of Modern Language Teaching Association.

“My ultimate goal,” says Moeller, “is to unite the language field by building stronger connections among and between K-12, colleges of arts and sciences and colleges of education.”

She would like to see all language partners guided by the same language standards, “so there isn’t that disconnect moving from K-12 to higher ed.” The transition, she says, should be cohesive and smooth so that students are deepening their content knowledge and language proficiency with each subsequent language experience. 

Moeller understands the culture of both K-12 and higher education. She was a professor of German for eight years in the College of Arts and Sciences at Nebraska before working for 11 years as a German teacher in Omaha Public Schools where she also served as department chair at Omaha Central High School. She joined the Nebraska College of Education and Human Sciences faculty in 1990 as a professor of foreign language education and second language acquisition.  

“When I examine an issue, I don’t view it solely from the perspective of a teacher-educator,” said Moeller. “I also look at it as a content specialist through an arts and science lens as well as from a K-12 perspective. I can identify and intuit the challenges at each level and see where the connections should be happening.”

As a leader in the foreign language teaching profession, Moeller says she would especially like to underscore the importance of study abroad because it transforms those who experience first-hand other cultures and languages. She believes students return more tolerant and empathetic, more inquisitive, more curious, more self-confident and more self-regulated. “These are all 21st century skills we want all our learners to have and they can be acquired abroad while also learning a second language.”

She also believes there is an “inextricable link between language and culture” and that the language classroom offers an optimal learning environment for developing interculturally competent citizens who can serve as mediators between varied cultures, people and perspectives. She has collaborated in her research on language teaching and learning with colleagues at universities around the globe, including Cambridge University in England, Jiaotong University and Guongdong University in China and the University of Leipzig in Germany.  

ACTFL is the leading foreign language professional organization in the U.S. with 13,000 members. ACTFL produces one of the field’s top research journals and provides professional development resources and opportunities for language educators.  Moeller will serve as president elect in 2017 and as president in 2018 when ACTFL will host an international conference in New Orleans together with European and Canadian partners.


College of Education and Human Sciences
Teaching, Learning & Teacher Education