Julia Oliver Rajan

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Dr. Julia Oliver-Rajan
Associate Professor of Instruction
ACTFL Certified OPI Tester of Spanish
477 PH

Julia is an Associate Professor of Instruction at the Spanish and Portuguese Department. She teaches Spanish Core courses, Spanish for heritage speakers, and linguistics classes at the University of Iowa. She performs Oral Proficiency Interviews (OPI) for students seeking official assessments, e.g., for grant applications, and also conducts placement interviews for heritage speakers of Spanish. 

Julia developed a digital archive about the coffee zone’s dialect of her native Puerto Rico. This digital record, called Del cafetal al futuro, was funded by the Arts and Humanities Initiative Standard Grant and the Digital Arts and Humanities Research. Julia’s other areas of interest include community engagement and service-learning. She is currently finalizing a textbook about learning Spanish while serving in local communities - Amigos de la comunidad will be available spring 2021, Cognella Academic Publishing.  

She was chair of the 5th Symposium on Spanish as a Heritage Language, and the editor of the Hispanic Studies Review special issue dedicated to “Spanish as a Heritage Language.”    

Julia has a Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she also coordinated a federally funded project at the College of Education for bilingual children in the Chicago Public Schools.

After joining the University in 2013, she has developed the following courses:

SPAN 2005: Writing Global Spanish, SPAN 3000: Writing Skills for Heritage Speakers, SPAN 3092: Spanish in the Community, SPAN 1505: Accelerated Intermediate Spanish for Heritage Speakers, and EDTL 3492/SPAN 3192: Heritage Language Teaching. 

Related websites:

Cuban Dialectology

Current Research in Puerto Rican Linguistics

5th Symposium on Spanish as a Heritage Language

Coffee Zone: Del cafetal al futuro/ From the Coffee Fields to the Future

Mobility and its Effects on Vowel Raising in the Coffee Zone of Puerto Rico

Nuevas perspectivas hacia la enseñanza, preservación y mantenimiento del español como lengua de herencia en los Estados Unidos