Christopher Jacobs

Assistant Professor of French, Italian, Spanish & Linguistics

Office: THMH 205a   |    Phone: (308) 865-8536   |    Email:

Christopher Jacobs


Ph.D. in Spanish (Applied Linguistics), Temple University, Philadelphia, PA (2020)

M.A. in French (Linguistics and Pedagogy), Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT (2018)

M.A. in Spanish (Linguistics and Literature), Temple University, Philadelphia, PA (2017)

Master of International Affairs, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA (2014)

Research Interests

Second and additional language acquisition (SLA)

Enjoyment, anxiety, and flow in learning

Motivation and investment

Task-based language teaching (TBLT)

Project-based learning

Authenticity in teaching and assessment

Individual differences

Language for specific purposes (LSP)


A native of southcentral Pennsylvania, which is a lot like southcentral Nebraska but with far more trees and far more Penn State blue and white (WE ARE!), Chris has taught Spanish, French, Italian, ESL, and linguistics in many contexts ranging from primary school to university. Chris has studied Spanish, French, Italian, German, Catalan, Portuguese, and Mandarin Chinese, and in doing so, he has discovered that, in order to develop proficiency, one must connect with the language and practice it in real-world ways.

At UNK, Chris teaches a variety of language, linguistics, and pedagogy courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In his teaching—no matter the language, level, or content area—Chris seeks to create meaningful, student-centered learning experiences that bridge disciplines and make connections to students’ non-academic lives. In pedagogy classes, he aims to help teachers and teachers-to-be to develop their own personal styles, to apply theory to practice, and to model effective teaching strategies.

Chris’s research, which is in direct dialogue with his teaching, seeks to determine how to render learning experiences more relevant and engaging in both face-to-face and online contexts. He is currently working on a project exploring how learning can be optimized by creating flow—that is, a state of deep focus on an enjoyable activity that is at once challenging and accessible—as well as another closely-related project on improving student motivation in distance learning.