Brigham Young University (BYU), with 33,000 students, makes both a broad and deep effort to prepare students to understand Europe. Our strengths begin with foreign languages. Nearly three-fourths of BYU students speak at least one non-native tongue. As language enrollments decline at many prestigious universities, BYU's Center for the Study of Europe (CSE), Center for Language Studies (CLS), USED-designated Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), and National Middle Eastern Language Resource Center (LRC) have helped make BYU a national leader in the teaching of languages. BYU teaches more advanced classes in more European languages (23) than any US university. The average proficiency of students in BYU advanced languages far exceeds that of advanced foreign language majors nationally, and a significant number will work for US government agencies. To take just two examples, since July 2007, 40 entering US Foreign Service Officers received a degree at BYU, while the National Security Agency has made offers to 58 BYU students since 2005, with 179 BYU graduates currently working at NSA.
One key is that BYU benefits from a missionary program that it does not run. Thousands of students come to BYU each year after two years immersed in a foreign language and culture, having developed a lifelong connection to their host societies. Most enter BYU with superior language proficiency, and they maintain a deep passion for advanced language study, even as they fan out into dozens of different courses of study. CSE's programs build on this unmatched foundation. We link these skills to area studies and professional expertise, and send many students back out for two and even three additional overseas experiences
CSE focuses more of its resources on undergraduates than many NRCs. As we show below, our graduate programs lead primarily to masters and professional degrees. Our focus pays huge dividends for the US government. But strengths developed at BYU also pay dividends for other institutions. The NSF ranks undergraduate institutions by how many of their students go on to get PhDs. For years, BYU has been in the top ten in many areas central to the study of Europe. For example, the latest NSF data shows BYU ranked eighth nationally, with social sciences ranked eighth and humanities ranked ninth. At the departmental level, political science and sociology are fourth, economics is sixth, while history is ninth. BYU also responds to the growing need for European Studies (ES) resources in the Intermountain West, which has no Title VI NRCs for Europe. CSE spearheads local and regional efforts in teacher training, course development, study abroad programs, outreach, language pedagogy expertise, and research.