Professor, Department of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Languages & Cultures

Olga E. KaganDepartment: Department of Slavic, East European & Eurasian Languages & Cultures

Keywords: Russia

In Memoriam: Professor Olga E. Kagan (December 25, 1946 – April 6, 2018)

Ph.D. (Dissertation "Theory and Practice of Writing a Learner-Centered Textbook of Russian as a Foreign Language"), Pushkin Russian Language Institute, Moscow, Russia

What I Do Now:
Director, UCLA Center for World Languages and National Heritage Language Resource Center
Professor, Coordinator and Undergraduate Advisor, UCLA Russian Language Program
Director of UCLA Russian Flagship Program
Co-editor, Heritage Language Journal

I have been teaching at the University of California since 1976, first at UC Riverside, and since 1981 at UCLA. In the past several years my main research and teaching interests have been heritage language learners. In 2000 I co-authored a textbook, Russian for Russians, for students who speak Russian at home but do not have sufficient literacy in the language. I am happy to see that the textbook is currently used at about thirty universities around the country. It means that many Russian programs are offering special instruction to heritage speakers of Russian. To read what the Daily Bruin wrote about a Russian class for Russian-speaking students at UCLA, click here.

Since 2000 I have served on the Steering Committee of the UC Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning and since 1991 I have been a Member of the Board of Directors of the American Council of Teachers of Russian

In 2006 the UCLA Center for World Languages and the UC Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning were awarded a four-year Title VI grant to create the National Heritage Language Resource Center, devoted to research, teacher training, and materials development for heritage language instruction.

What I Like Doing:
See above under "What I do now".

Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Post-secondary Level, American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European languages, 2003.
Two awards for books (see publications below).

Program Reviews:
2006: Harvard University Slavic Department
In the past ten years:
UC Santa Cruz, Foreign Language Program
University of Kentucky, Program in Vladimir, Russia
Middlebury College, The Russian School
Indiana University, Summer Slavic Workshop
University of Washington, Seattle, Uzbek Program

Current Professional Service:
2000 - present: member, Steering Committee, UC Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning
1998 - 2001: vice-president, the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European Languages (AATSEEL)
2000 — advisory board member, CAL Russian web-based exam project
1991 – present: Member, Board of Directors, the American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR)

What I have published:


  • Writing in Russian for Russian Heritage Speakers (with A. Kudyma) Zlatoust Publishers, St.Petersburg, Russia. Expected publication date: Winter 2011
  • Beginner’s Russian (with A. Kudyma and F. Miller), NY, NY: Hypocrene Press, 2010
  • Niznik, M.; Vinokurova, A.; Voroncova, I.; Kagan, O.; Cherp, A. (2009). Russkij bez granic [Russian without borders]. Old City of Jaffa, Israel: Israeli Association for Immigrant Children.
  • Russian without Borders II (2011), With Niznik, M.; Vinokurova, A.; Voroncova, I.; Cherp, A.
  • Rifkin, B., & Kagan, O., with A. Yatsenko. (2006). Advanced Russian through History, Yale University Press.
  • Kagan, O., Miller, F., & Kudyma, G. (2005). V Puti: Russian Grammar in Context (2nd edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Kashper, M., Kagan, O., & Morozova, Y. (2005). Russian Film for Conversation. Volumes 1 and 2. Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishers.
  • Kagan, O., Akishina, T., & Robin, R. (2003). Russian for Russians: Textbook for Heritage Speakers. Bloomington, IN: Slavica. Award for Best Contribution to Pedagogy, AATSEEL, 2004
  • Akishina, A., & Kagan, O. (2002). "Uchimsya Uchit" [We're Learning to Teach] (2nd expanded edition). Moscow: Russian Language Publishers.
  • Kagan, O., & Kashper, M. (2000). Chukovskaya's Sofia Petrovna: Student Edition. Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishers.

Edited Volumes and Journal Issue:

Book Chapters:

  • Kagan, O. (2014) Russian Heritage Language Learners: from Students’ Profiles to Project-Based Curriculum. In T.Wiley, J. Peyton, D.Christian, S.C.Moore, N.Liu (Eds.) Handbook of Heritage, Community, and Native American Languages in the United States: Research, Policy, and Educational Practice. Routledge/Cal, 2014.
  • Kagan, O. & Dillon, K. (2012) Heritage languages and L2 learning, The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. S. Guss and A. Mackey Editors. London: Routledge. pp. 491-505
  • Kagan, O. and Dillon, K. (2009) Preparation of teachers of heritage languages: A Matrix. Proceedings of the Teacher Preparation Conference, University of Minnesota.
  • Kagan, O. & Dillon, K., Russian in the United States In Potowski, K. (Ed). (2009). Language Diversity in the United States. Cambridge University Press.
  • Friedman, D., & Kagan, O. (in press). Academic Writing Proficiency of Russian Heritage Speakers: A Comparative Study, in D. Brinton, O. Kagan, & S. Bauckus (eds), Heritage Language Education: A New Field Emerging. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum and Associates.
  • In B. Leaver, B. Shektman (Eds.) (2002). Developing Professional-level Language Proficiency. Cambridge University Press, 2002:
    1. Angelelli, C., & Kagan, O. Foreign Language for Heritage (Home-Background) Speakers: What the Superior Level Foreign-Language Course May Offer.
    2. Dabars, Z., & Kagan, O. Teaching Russian Language Teachers in Eight Summer Institutes in Russian Language and Culture.
  • Bermel, N., & Kagan, O. (2000). The Maintenance of Written Russian in Heritage Speakers. In O. Kagan & B. Rifkin with S. Bauckus (eds), The Teaching and Learning of Slavic Languages and Cultures. Bloomington, IN: Slavica Publishers.

Encyclopedia Article:

Recent Articles in refereed journals (last 10 years):