The oldest of eight children, Dr. Betty Lou Leaver grew up on a farm in rural Maine. She earned a B.A. in linguistics and M.A. in comparative literature at Penn State University. Having spent considerable time working in the Soviet Union and being the first American to conduct linguistic research at the Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences in Akademgorodok, she earned her Ph.D. in applied linguistics from the Pushkin Institute in Moscow. Including Russian, she has studied 20 languages and has provided consultation to ministries of education and institutions of higher education in 24 countries.
Provost since January 2013, Dr. Leaver came to DLIFLC in 2006 as Associate Provost for Continuing Education. Prior to that, she worked as the chief academic officer of the Amman, Jordan branch of the New York Institute of Technology (operated in partnership with the Jordan University of Science and Technology) and for a short while dual-hatted as the Academic Dean of the Manama, Bahrain branch.
Dr. Leaver has also served as coordinator and developer of the Russian and English language programs for NASA’s International Space Station & liaison to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia; subject matter expert at the Foreign Language Training Lab; Director of the Russian and Ukrainian programs and founding member of the Division of Research & Development at the Foreign Service Institute; and president of the American Global Studies Institute.
At DLIFLC, from 1989 to 1992, Dr. Leaver was Dean of the Slavic School, and from 1992 to 1993, Dean of the Central European School. Earlier, she attended the Russian basic and LeFoxe (combined intermediate-advanced) courses.
She served in the U.S. Army as a cryptolinguist, then, after receiving a direct commission, as a military intelligence officer at the U.S. Army Intelligence School at Ft. Devens (USAISD). Later assigned to the U.S. Army Reserves, she took special assignments at Sebana Seca Naval Station, Puerto Rico, USAISD, and Allison Park, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Leaver has taught graduate, undergraduate, and language teacher courses at Middlebury College, Monterey Institute of International Studies, University of Pittsburgh, Bryn Mawr College’s Summer Institute for Russian Teachers, and community colleges. She founded the Center for the Advancement of Distinguished Language Proficiency at San Diego State University, the Center for the Languages of the Central Asian Region at Indiana University, and the Coalition of Distinguished Language Centers.
Her publications include Developing Professional-Level Foreign Language Proficiency (Cambridge University Press), Achieving Success in Second Language Acquisition (also CUP), Content-Based Instruction for Foreign Language Education, Georgetown University Press), Task-Based Instruction for Foreign Language Education (also GUP), and Passport to the World: Learning to Communicate in a Foreign Language (LARC Press).
She has published more than 200 articles, book chapters, and monographs and has made nearly as many conference presentations including several dozen keynote speeches. She received the Elsevier Prize for a jointly authored article on learner variables and the International Society for Performance Improvement’s award for joint research on cultures of the Middle East and Russia, funded by the U.S. Army Research Institute.
She is the mother of four birth children, took in three other children as teenagers, and has two grandchildren.
Dr. Hiam N. Kanbar
Dr. Hiam Kanbar has been engaged in foreign language pedagogy for over 30 years. She grew up in Lebanon, where she completed her undergraduate studies. She earned a Teaching Diploma from Beirut Teachers’ Academy, and her Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Language Teaching, with a major in teaching French as a foreign language and minor in Arabic language and literature, from the College of Letters and Humanities of the Lebanese University, Beirut.
She subsequently moved to France to pursue her graduate studies at the University of Franche-Comté where she received a Master’s degree and Doctorate degree with Highest Honors in the area of Applied Linguistics. Her dissertation was on Theories and Practices of Literary Texts in French as a Foreign Language.
Dr. Kanbar began her career as a foreign language teacher in Lebanon and France, joining DLIFLC as an Arabic instructor in 1991. She currently holds the rank of professor, and her work ssignments have included test development at the Directorate of Evaluation and Standardization, as well as program management as chairperson. She has served as dean of three schools: Asian School III, Middle East School I, and the European and Latin American School. She currently serves as Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and as the Deputy Institutional Official for Human Research Protections Program at DLIFLC.
In addition to her work in language teaching and testing, her research interests encompass spoken language in applied linguistics, as well as proficiency on cultural issues as they relate to the DLIFLC mission. In 2005 and 2006, she taught applied linguistics and Arabic at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Over her career, she has made numerous presentations at DLIFLC, the American Council for Teachers of Foreign Languages conventions, Teachers of English as a Second or Other Language, and the Less Commonly Taught Languages conferences on “Cultural barriers in the foreign language classroom,” “Understanding and achieving level 3 proficiency,” and “Understanding and teaching the spoken language.” Additionally, she serves as a referee for the Modern Language Journal and in the past served as a speaking evaluator for California State University at Monterey Bay, and an Oral Proficiency Interview tester for graduating students in Levantine at Yale University.
As part of her involvement in the community, she has served on the board of several non-profit organizations and is a member of several language and cultural associations. She served on the board of the Arab-American Club of the Monterey Peninsula and she is a member of the United Nations Association of Monterey Bay. She is also a member of the World Affairs Council, the American Association of Teachers of French, and the American Association of Teaches of Arabic.
Mr. Detlev Kesten
Associate Provost for Academic Support
DLIFLC Associate Provost of Academic Support, Mr. Detlev Kesten, is responsible for coordinating and supporting the work of the other associate provosts for the purpose of addressing academic and administrative priorities established by the DLIFLC Provost. Additionally, he has supervisory responsibilities over the divisions of Academic Affairs, Training Analysis, Faculty Development Support, Curriculum Development Support, and Student Learning Support, as well as the Immersion Language Program, Academic Journals, and AISO Library.
Mr. Kesten served DLIFLC as a German instructor from 1987 until 1990. Following his first assignment, he spent 14 years in the private sector, working in sales for such companies as AT&T, Duke Energy, Telstra, his latest assignment as VP of Sales and Marketing. During his time in corporate America, Mr. Kesten sold localization, translation and interpretation services to Fortune 1000 companies and managed sales teams across the country. In 2004, he returned to Monterey and DLIFLC and has been working in the Provost Office since 2006. During his tenure, he worked as Faculty Associate in support of the day-to-day operation of the Office of the Provost. In that position, he managed a large variety of assignments that stretched across all DLIFLC directorates. Most recently, Mr. Kesten was promoted to Associate Provost for Operations.
He holds a Master of Arts in Education from Chapman University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education from Calvin College.
Provost Sergeant Major
A native of Atlanta Georgia, Sergeant Major James V. Southern enlisted in the Army in 1987 as a Cryptologic Linguist. He attended basic training at Fort Dix New Jersey, the Modern Standard Arabic Basic Course at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey California, and Advanced Individual Training at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas.
Sgt. Maj. Southern has served in every traditional leadership position from team leader to First Sergeant. He has served in strategic leadership positions as regional senior mission manager, senior collection manager, and theater Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) synchronization manager. In the joint community, he served as the senior enlisted adviser to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Land Forces commander.
His stateside assignments include Fort Campbell Kentucky, Savannah Georgia, Fort Gordon, Georgia, Fort Stewart Georgia, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Fort Huachuca, Arizona, DLIFLC. Presidio of Monterey, California, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and Fort Bliss, Texas. His overseas assignments include the United Kingdom and Spain. He has deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt, Italy, and Macedonia for combat and peacekeeping operations.
Sgt. Maj. Southern’s military education includes the Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Arabic Course, Air Assault Course, Warrior Leader course, Advanced Cryptology Course, Basic Instructor Course, Senior Leader Course, First Sergeant Course, Sergeants Major Course, and Master Resilience Trainer Course. His civilian education includes an Associate of Middle Eastern Culture and Linguistics, Associate of Intelligence Studies, Bachelors of Liberal Arts, Masters of Intelligence Management, and Masters of Education and Curriculum Development.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (2nd award), the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal (2nd award), the National Defense Service Medal (2nd award), the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal (3rd award), the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Meritorious Unit Citation, the Master Instructor Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Combat Action Badge, the Saudi-Kuwait Liberation Medal, and the Kuwait Liberation Medal.
Sgt. Maj. Southern is a life-long learner with a passion for leadership, teaching, and community service. His 27 years of service to the nation has provided invaluable opportunities to see and understand the world from unique perspectives and has instilled a sense of personal responsibility to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
James currently resides at the Presidio of Monterey with his wife and three sons.