Born and raised in Russia, Tatiana Akishina, Ph.D., is a professor of Russian and the Director of Language Programs for the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. She earned her B.A. with distinction from Moscow University, and continued her education at the Pushkin Institute for Russian Language, a leading Russian research institute for linguistics and methodology. There she earned a M.A. distinction and Ph.D., with her dissertation titled the “Oral Colloquial Speech in the Representation of Oral Scientific Texts." Among her teachers and advisors at the Pushkin Institute for Russian Language were the world-renown specialists in second language acquisition: Khavronina, A. Akishina, O. Mitrofanova, and A. Leontiev.
With 35 years of teaching experience, Tatiana Akishina has worked with students at all levels from all parts of the world at the University of Moscow, the University of London, and Middlebury College. She has consulted and created new programs for teacher training in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) and Nizhnij Novgorod (Russia), and coached language teachers at Indiana University. While at USC, she has created a variety of Russian language and culture programs for students and professionals.
While teaching Russian as a second language, she conducted research in second language acquisition in the areas of:
- Listening and reading comprehension (MADI)
- Using intensive methods for teaching Russian (Pushkin Institute, Russia)
- Teaching language to professionals (Bohum University, Germany) and teaching heritage speakers (UCLA, USC)
Her research resulted in more than 25 published textbooks and numerous articles. At present, she works on methods of teaching intercultural communication and business Russian. She actively presents at national and international conferences, including the World Congresses of Slavic Studies, and conducts short-term overseas programs. She was a recipient of the 2011 USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest award for teaching bestowed by the university. Her book "Russian for Russians" won the AATSEEL national award for best book in language pedagogy.