Introducing Jonathan Prestrud

Language Center Staff Spotlight Series
Image of Jonathan Prestrud.

Meet Jonathan Prestrud, who has worked at the Language Center since 2013. His current job title is Executive Office and Administrative Specialist, but what does he really do? In this interview, Jonathan highlights major aspects of his work and shares how he can help you tackle your next project. This is part of a series of Language Center Staff Spotlight articles.

Which parts of your current job description should ElsieTalk readers know about? Are there specific services or expertise you offer that readers could take advantage of more than they currently do?

I’m fortunate to have held many positions with the Language Center over the 9 years I have worked here since I started as a student worker in 2013. As of this interview I work as an Executive Office and Administrative Specialist,  and in my case that means I’m the supervisor and hiring manager of the undergraduate student staff who work in our Main Office (Jones 110) and Study Lab (Jones 135B). With their help, we conduct all scheduling for classrooms and small rooms in Jones Hall, provide checkout equipment to instructors and graduate students, digitize films for our digital content library, LC Elevator, and support incoming visitors and patrons. I also serve as the Coordinator of the Face-to-Face program of TandemPlus, a language and culture exchange program that has a nearly 30-year history with CLA. 


I’ve served on the administration team of the Language Center for many years and also have some working knowledge about most things that go on here. So, you can reach out to me for information about language exchange opportunities and with interests in collaborations, for scheduling classrooms or small rooms at the Language Center, but you can also approach me with any other inquiries related to our services. If I can’t help directly, there’s a good chance I’ll know who has the best chance at doing so.

Can you briefly describe 2-3 projects you've worked on in the past year?

Amid all of the transitions and workflow changes we experienced in the past year, there were many projects underway. One I enjoyed a lot was being a part of the Tip of the Day team — a small group of LC colleagues who met weekly to dream up technology tips to blog (particularly for online meeting and instruction) that we hoped would be helpful. It was a regular time to not only explore software and consider new ideas amidst the stay-at-home era, but also a refreshing and enjoyable time to “play” with these things with coworkers. The results were excellent, and the meetings felt somewhat less dour than others at the time.


TandemPlus has many ongoing projects. So, I’ve been continuing work on those throughout the last year. The TandemTalk Newsletter is our newest method of broad communication with current TandemPlus participants and subscribers alike — it’s slowly receiving some facelifts and we are increasing the information on available resources to participants. Alongside that, I continued development of the TandemPlus information site as we upgraded from Drupal Lite 7 to 9. There are a few staff working on these and it’s encouraging when we have time and initiative to make progress so that we grow the resources available to participants.


In collaboration with Beth Kautz and Dan Soneson, I initiated the pilot of the “Peer-to-Peer” option for individual exchanges in TandemPlus this last year. That is, TandemPlus participants can now opt to find a “study buddy”, a partner who is studying the same language, rather than a native speaker partnership. This initiative helps bridge the gap for unpaired participants whenever native partnership options are no longer available. It also provides the opportunity for practice across class sections and levels and we hope it will help foster more relationships in the language learning community. 


As a bonus: I also was honored to serve as a member of the CLA Staff Council Steering Committee. Together I met with five other colleagues across CLA to develop the bylaws of — and inaugurate — the constitutionally mandated CLA Staff Council, the official governing body of Civil Service and Labor Represented staff in the college — all of whom are automatically members. I encourage you to join the semesterly!

What is an example of a project or request that falls outside the scope of your job? To whom would you refer people with such a request?

While my team helps to schedule language tests in the spaces of Jones — and many of our student staff work directly with Testing as proctors for certain tests — I am not directly involved in the Language Testing Program. Your best contacts for Testing are Monica Frahm, Anna Hubbard, Mary Gilchrist, and Joanne Peltonen; reach them at


If you’re interested in setting up a virtual, Class-to-Class exchange between your language class here and one abroad, Beth Kautz is our “C2C” coordinator and can work together with Carter Griffith to help you set up an exchange! They, too, can be reached at

What skills and competencies do you bring to your current job from your educational background, positions you have previously held in the Language Center, or from work and relationships with other units at this/other institutions?

My strong suits are in technology — I am a bit of a nerd and tend to pick up technology quickly — communication, scheduling and organization, event planning and organization, and patron support. Being able to communicate well, and discuss ideas with people from all walks of life, to find, train and support strong students with talent, and to work independently are the skills I am proud of.

Is there anything else you would like readers to know about you?

I enjoy learning about the many and varying personal interests of coworkers and I can (probably) talk (broadly) about (just about) anything. Feel free to strike up a conversation with me! Apart from being a film/show and video game nerd, I am enthusiastic about learning languages — my wife and I study together frequently. We also try to find as much time for travel as possible, either to small towns nearby, new states and countries, or into state and national parks to enjoy rock climbing with friends.

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