Dr. Autumn Witt

Autumn Witt

Associate Provost, International Academics
Associate Professor, International Community Development


Ph.D. Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, University of Arizona, 2010
Ph.D. Dissertation: Establishing the Validity of the Task Based English Speaking Test (TBEST) for International
Teaching Assistants; longitudinal study, extensive statistical analysis, qualitative and quantitative research methods

M.A. English Language and Linguistics, University of Arizona, 2007

B.A. English, Northwest University, 2001

Management and Leadership in Higher Education (MLE Certificate), Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2017

Personal Background

My first career was as an ESL Teacher in rural Japan. I was initially drawn to teaching because of the opportunities for travel, and then I became hooked by the close relationships that can be built in a foreign language classroom. Through this career, I have been able to teach all over the world, and to teach students from even more countries through university ESL programs. I think that learning an additional language is one of the most powerful tools a person can develop to expand their own personal opportunities, and I have loved being a part of my students’ foreign language journeys.

As I advanced in my career, I began working more administratively to create cultural exchange programs, to represent higher education in global forums, and to advocate for cross-cultural training in professional development. Through these experiences, I have been able to see the cross-application of education theory in many different government, development, and commercial organizations.

Through my role in the MAICD program, I study ways that education and other community services can be delivered and cultivated among people who really want and need assistance. I think there is an element of teaching that happens in nearly all community development projects, whether we are teaching patients, colleagues, administrators, or donors. It is my goal that I will be able to utilize my cross-cultural experiences to help prepare ICD students to be more culturally sensitive and inquisitive as they participate in diverse development endeavors. I hope to study innovative intersections between education and development, such as language training and cultural acclimation for refugees, and native language arts as a tool of building community pride and economic vitality.