The MCEC Project

The Multilingual College Email Corpus Project (MCEC) is an ongoing collection of student and instructor emails across several departments from the University of Arizona.

It is a first-of-its-kind project given its wide scope (several disciplines and academic levels) and the sociolinguistic information collected (L1, L2, linguistic experiences, heritage languages, and more).

I initiated the MCEC as my Ph.D. dissertation project and, since then, it has grown in orders of magnitude. I am currently co-leading a team of seven graduate students (including myself) from three different departments.

Expected outcomes and impacts

Concrete outcomes of our work will include the creation of the following materials:

  • A list of recommendations and examples for writing successful college emails.
  • Evidence-based rubrics for students to evaluate the likelihood of success of their emails.
  • Curricular and pedagogical materials for students such as exercises and or word/phrase lists designed to improve students’ pragmatic competence in college email communication.
  • Curricular and pedagogical materials for instructors on how to text mine our corpus to better serve their students in their respective fields
  • Text mining teaching materials through Binder for researchers in the social sciences and digital humanities to work with our (and any) text corpus.

These resources are aimed to be used by the academic community within and outside the University of Arizona and will be distributed freely through the University of Arizona Research Data Repository (ReDATA) under an open-source license. The resources will support student success (a) interpersonally by helping them write emails that foster positive rapport between them and their instructors and (b) transactionally by teaching them how to be more effective communicators and improve their interpersonal competence. Our goal is to help improve students’ college email communication and advance their global, cultural, and professional literacy.

Future plans

While currently working at the University of Arizona level, we expect to grow beyond its walls so that students and instructors from all over the country and, possibly, the world can discover how to better interact with each other given their particular linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

The MCEC team

Founders and co-directors: Damian Romero (me) and Hanyu Jia

Research Team: Wei Xu, Maria Laura Viale, Kristina Mihajlovic, Peiwen Su, and Hui Wang (our newest member, yay!).

Advisory Board: Dr. Julieta Fernandez and Dr. Carmen King de Ramirez

* The MCEC project is an interdisciplinary team effort compromised with diversity and inclusion.

Associated code repositories

Here is a mock website for the project as a placeholder while our team builds the official MCEC website.