Nilakshi Phukan has been teaching Hindi-Urdu languages and South Asian literature at the Department of World Languages and Cultures at North Carolina State University since the Fall of 2011. She received her Ph.D. Degree in Hindi Literature from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, Agra, India in 2006. She received her Post Master’s Degree in Linguistics from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, Agra, India in 2002. She also received her Master’s Degree in Hindi Language and Literature from Dr. B R Ambedkar University in 2000. She joined to teach Hindi-Urdu languages as a lecturer at North Carolina State University in 2005 and also worked as a lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was a Hindi-Urdu language instructor and coordinator at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since the Fall of 2012, she has also made her courses available to students at multiple campuses within the UNC system through UNC Online. She has taught Urdu courses to military personnel at Fort Bragg as part of NC State’s Project GOLD (Global Opportunities for Leadership Development) initiative.
Nilakshi Phukan has been incorporating new technologies into the Hindi-Urdu language and South-Asian literature teaching and learning process, which is not only making learning and communication more interactive by allowing students to be more engaged with the subject but also, generating fresh enthusiasm and attraction among students of this new generation. Projects related to technology such as Virtual Reality, 3D Printing, Green Screen (hands-on or interactive experience in or outside of the classroom), and 360-degree Visualization lab experiences are proving how language and literature classes can be integrated with computer science, engineering, graphic designing, and other STEM disciplines to create a fun project that not only allows each student to create their own designs but also develop a deeper level of mutual understanding of cultural competence to participate in various societies around the world.
Nilakshi Phukan has consistently engaged with new pedagogies for teaching and learning foreign languages and literature. She has completed her certification as an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) Tester for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). As a certified ACTFL OPI Hindi language tester, she has incorporated ACTFL’s proficiency-based global assessment guidelines into her language curriculum. These follow the guidelines on oral proficiency levels established by the federal government’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR). Since her certification, she has regularly conducted Oral Proficiency Interviews to test students at NC State University and at other universities in the region, both in the UNC system and outside of it.
Nilakshi Phukan has been working as a lead Instructor for two STARTALK Summer Hindi Language and Cultural Programs (US Federal government projects). One is YHS STARTALK Summer Language and Cultural Programs in collaboration with North Penn School district, Lansdale, Pennsylvania, and the other one is Sangam Franking STARTALK Hindi Language & Culture Program in Franklin County, New Jersey. STARTALK is a project sponsored by the US Federal Government and the National Foreign Language Center to increase the number of U.S. citizens learning, speaking, and teaching critical-need foreign languages such as Hindi/Urdu.
She has participated in STARTALK training at the University of California, Los Angeles (July 2015, July 2018), Columbia University (March 2016), and New York University (June 2016, June 2017). These have covered heritage language teacher training, Hindi/Urdu teacher training, and training in performance-based assessment for Hindi/Urdu teachers. Most recently, she participated in a STARTALK Teacher Leadership Development Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara (July 2017). This was co-sponsored by Stanford University and the California World Language Project and focused on the theme of Common Core Practices for Language Learning and Global Competence. She has incorporated STARTALK-endorsed principles for highly effective language teaching and learning in her classes at NC State. She is also a licensed yoga Instructor from the North Carolina School of Yoga, USA and currently teaching yoga at Morrisville Aquatics and Fitness Center along with K&L Gates LLP in Research Triangle Park, Durham.
In addition to instructional responsibilities and ongoing professional development training, Nilakshi coordinates a number of extension and engagement activities to promote long-term enrollment in Hindi/Urdu courses at NC State. She organizes an annual “Hindi-Urdu Cultural Night,” a unique opportunity for language students to showcase their Hindi and Urdu skills and talents through various language and cultural presentations. She also invites various community organizations and individuals to showcase the diversity of South Asian art and culture. Since 2011, she has also been serving as the campus advisor for eight different South Asian student organizations at NC State.
Nilakshi has been regularly publishing articles on Hindi fiction in international literary journals, including Vobhom Swar (US and Canada), Hindi Chetna (US and Canada), Shivana Sahityiki (Delhi, India), and Hans (Delhi, India). These have focused mainly on the novels and short stories of contemporary Hindi writers such as Sudha Om Dhingra and Ajay Navaria. To promote scholarly engagement across disciplines and languages affiliated with work on South Asia, she has also published several translations. These include two collections of short stories translated from Hindi to Assamese, Kunkhan Apun Bhumi? (Which land is yours?), in 2012, and Shishur Shreshtha Galpa (The Best Stories for Children, 2013). Nilakshi has published additional translations of short stories in the literary magazines, Vibhom Swar, Hindi Chetna, and the Assamese periodical. She was the chief editor of a collection of Assamese folk stories, translated into English as Grandmother’s Tales (2014).
Dr. Nilakshi Phukan was selected and invited to present in front of Chancellor Woodson at the CHASS Around the World gathering topic “Digital Making in CHASS: Innovative Teaching that Empowers Students for Success” and she was one of three representative faculty members, including Prof. Fernanda Duarte (Department of Communication) and Prof. Paul Fyfe (Department of English) from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. This initiative was part of the Diversity Mini-Grant Award Dr. Phukan was awarded this academic year; the title of her presentation was “Enhancing Language Skills and Cultural Awareness Through Virtual Reality.”
Service to the University and Professional Societies:
- FacultySenator and University Standing Committee Member, Fall 2022
- College Led Senator from CHASS, Fall 2022
- Association of WomenFaculty (AWF) steering committee as a CHASS representative at NCSU, Fall 2022
- World Literature – South Asian Literature
- Departmental Voting Faculty (DVF) at NC State University
- North Carolina Consortium for South Asian Studies
- Asian Language Concentration
- Mentoring Undergraduate Research Scholars for ENG 394-001 Honors Contract for spring 2020 research under the University Honors Program (UHP) of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs (DASA).
- Film Series Organizer (Hindi/Urdu) 2015–present
- Departmental Hindi/Urdu Outreach Program Coordinator, 2011–present
- World Literature Committee Member, 2016–present
- South Asia Consortium, 2011–present
- Get Involved at NC State member, 2011–present
Current Projects and Web Resources:
1. Online Advanced Level Hindi Resources – A collaborative product between SEELRC – the Slavic and Eurasian Language Resource Center at Duke University and the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at North Carolina State University.
2. Virtual Reality Modules for Foreign Language and South Asian Literature at NC State University: https://spark.adobe.com/sp/design/page/c443d4e1-e553-4971-a899-5c1bb227b95a
3. 360-Degree Visualization Presentation at NC State: https://spark.adobe.com/page/ebzL0yolxck29/
4. Story/Skit Writing and Green Screen Projects: https://spark.adobe.com/page/ebzL0yolxck29/
5. 3-D Printing and Collaboration with Hindi-Urdu Language and Literature: https://spark.adobe.com/page/uVnNWAT6G27Gk/
6. Hindi-Urdu at NC State University Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Hindi-Urdu-at-NC-State-University-197682150301148/
7. Asian Language Concentration at Packapalooza: https://fll.news.chass.ncsu.edu/2018/10/26/asian-language-concentration-at-packapalooza/
Currently Working On Books:
- “Hindi Conversational Topics/Themes: A Complete Course Pack for Novice and Intermediate Levels Based on ACTFL OPI Endorsed Principles”
- “Acquisition of World Languages and Cultures in the Context of Hindi-Urdu”
- Online Advanced Level Hindi Conversation Projects: A collaborative project between NC State University and Duke University. Granted by CSEEES (The Duke-UNC Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies)
- Online Hindi-Urdu Scripts Courses
Extension and Community Engagement
Professional service off campus:
- Serving as an expert reader for Literature FY2023 NEA Translation Fellowships – Translation Projects in the National Endowment for the Arts, May 2022.
- STARTALK Summer Hindi Language and Culture Program (PA) Lead Instructor, 2015 – present
- STARTALK Summer Hindi Language and Culture Program (NJ) Lead Instructor, 2016 – present
- Hindi Pathshala, Morrisville (NC) Lead Instructor & STARTALK Mentor, 2011 – present
NC Hindi Vikas Mandal (Hindi Literary Society), Board of Directors, 2011 – present
- Urdu Majlis (Urdu Literary Society), Member, UNC, Chapel Hill, NC, 2006 – present
- Cultural Secretary of Assam Association of North Carolina, Cultural Secretary, 2011 – present
- Assam Association of North America, Regional VP, 2013 – present
- Yoga instructor at Morrisville Aquatics and Fitness Center, North Carolina, 2014-present
New Courses Developed & Teaching Innovations
FLN 201/203, FLN 202/204 (created syllabus & course content): Intermediate Hindi/Urdu I & II
FLN 201/203, FLN 202/204 (created syllabus & course content for delivery to multiple UNC campuses as a 2-way interactive video-conferencing course): Intermediate Hindi/Urdu I & II
FLN 301 (created syllabus): Advanced Hindi/Urdu I
FLN 101/103/102/104 (redesigned syllabus & course content for delivery to multiple UNC Campuses as a 2-way interactive video-conference course): Elementary Hindi/Urdu I & II
ENG/FL 394 (designed syllabus for World Literature curriculum) – South Asian Literature in Bollywood ENG 394 (designed syllabus for World Literature curriculum): Masterpieces of Non-western Literature as part of the World Literature curriculum
FLN 301- 001 (redesigned syllabus & course content for delivery to multiple UNC Campuses as a 2-way interactive video-conference course): Advanced Hindi-Urdu I: 20th Century Hindi/Urdu Prose FictionFLN 302/ENG 394 (designed syllabus for World Literature curriculum): Advanced Hindi/Urdu II, Twentieth Century Hindi/Urdu PoetryFL 295 (designed syllabus & video content): Fast Track to Hindi/Urdu Scripts, UNC Online
FL 295 (designed curriculum for military personnel at Fort Bragg): Summer Intensive Elementary Urdu“Hindi/Urdu Conversational Movies,” designed & produced based on ACTFL Oral Proficiency principles Summer Intensive Elementary Urdu Course: To the militaries of Fort Bragg along with NCSU Students
Skype Tutoring: To Fort Bragg Militaries
Advisor for 8 South Asian student organizations at NC State University: EKTAA, Wolf Pack Raas, Nazaare, Jawani at NCSU, Hindi-Urdu club, Muslim Student Association (MSA), Hindu Student Association (HSA), Global Microfinance Brigades at NC State, 2011 – present
Cultural Activities, South Asian Event Organizing, Community Outreach
Scholarly and Creative Activities: Books, Translation
Dr. Nilakshi Phukan’s critical research book “नेटिव अमेरिका की लोक कथायें – आदिवासियों की पुकार Native American Folk Tales – An Unforgettable Truth” was published by Vani Prakashan and launched at India International Center in Delhi, India in January 2023. All the folktales were collected based on the folk-cultures-traditions, customs, lifestyles, beliefs, and life philosophy of Native American tribal people, including Indigenous groups of the Catawba, Lambie, Cherokee, Tuscarora, Picot and Mohican, Arapaho, Salishan, Sahaptins, Creek-Muskogee, Miowak, and Inuit. This book focuses on the history of North Carolina’s Indigenous tribes e.g., Lumbee, Cherokee, Catawba, Tuscarora, and neighboring tribes as well. Copies are available through Amazon at these links: Amazon (International): https://www.amazon.com/dp/9355189168?ref=myi_title_dp
Amazon (India): https://amzn.eu/d/hyaNKtu
Dhingra, Sudha Om. Kunkhan Apun Bhumi? (Which land is yours?). Trans. Nilakshi Phukan. Nagaon, Assam: Gigabits Press and Publication, 2012. Hindi to Assamese.
Yadav, Usha. Shishur Shreshtha Galpa (The Best Stories for Children). Trans. Nilakshi Phukan. Nagaon, Assam: Akonir Sahitya Sabha, 2013. Hindi to Assamese.
Edited Book, Translation
Grandmother’s Tales (Assamese folk stories). Ed. Nilakshi Phukan. Nagaon, Assam: Akonir Sahitya Sabha, 2014. Assamese to English.
- “Enhancing language skills and cultural awareness through virtual reality modules” article published in Pronaam – a quarterly publication from AANA (Assam Association of North America, AFNA (Assam Foundation of North America), ASNA (Assam Society of North America), April, 2023
- “North Carolinian Natives – A Brief History of the Native Folk Culture” – to be published in Vishwa Hindi Patrika, World Hindi Secretariate, Mauritius.
- An article “Hindi Language and Culture Teaching with New Technologies” published in the book “Dimensions of Hindi Language Teaching” on Hindi Teaching as a Second/foreign language from the Colibri Press, Lisbon, 27 January 2022
- “World Literature Created in the Times of Crisis – An Introspection and a Ray of Hope – संकटकालीन समय में रचे विश्व साहित्य – एक आत्मविश्लेषण और उम्मीद की किरण” – My latest article during Covid 19 published in the international magazine of global Hindi contemplation “Vibhom Swar”, a quarterly publish Hindi literary magazine from India and USA, Issue October – December 2020.
- An article topic, “Virtual Assam Convention 2020 – A Historic Step!” published in “Pranaam” Newsletter – A Quarterly Publication from AANA (Assam Association of North America), ASSNA (Assam Sahitya Sabha of North America) and AFNA (Assam Foundation of North America). https://aanahome.org/images/Newsletters/PRONAAM_PostConventionNewsletter_October2020_Version1.pdf
- Native American folk story, “The King of Polar Bears” translated into the Hindi language was published in the international magazine of global Hindi contemplation “Vibhōma-Swar” Year: 5, issue: 18, Quarterly: the web version of the July-September 2020. http://www.vibhom.com/vibhomswar.html
- Honored honorarium for the article “Teaching of Hindi language and literature by using modern technologies in America” published in “World Hindi Magazine” run by World Hindi Secretariat – A Bilateral Organization of the Government of India and Mauritius, 2019. http://www.vishwahindi.com/hi/news8.aspx
- “आमेरिकी विश्वविद्यालयों में हिन्दी भाषा का शिक्षण” (Hindi language teaching in American Universities), Sahitya Prabha
- “डॉ. सुधा ओम ढींगरा का उपन्यास “नक़्क़ाशीदार केबिनेट” का साहित्यिक विश्लेषण” (A literary analysis of Dr. Sudha Om Dhingra’s Novel “Nakkashidar Cabinet”), Shivana Prakashan, 2017
- “A Special Literary Reference on Ajay Navaria’s story Vikhandan.” Shivana Sahityiki, July–September 2017
- “Kauwa Kiran Laya” (Crow Brought the Light): An Inuit Myth translated from English into Hindi. To appear in middle school course packs of India.
- “Hindi Language in Global Perspective.” Vibhom Swar, April–June 2017
- “Bhagawan ki Srishti” (God’s Creation). Hindi Pracharini Sabha, April 2008
- “Qismat” (Luck). Hindi Pracharini Sabha, November 2007
- “Pariksha” (Exam). Maryland Asom Sangha, July 2007 in Assamese.
“Germany t Ebhumuki” (A Glance in Germany). Akonir Agradoot, August 2006
“Me and My Journey.” Friends Magazine, November 2010
- 2023, April 11: Invited to present for the NCSU Chancellor’s CHASS visit on the topic of “Digital Making in CHASS: Innovative Teaching that Empowers Students for Success” and my presentation topic was “Enhancing Language Skills and Cultural Awareness Through Virtual Reality”.
- 2022 December: Invited to speak online at the 75th-anniversary celebration of Nowgong College (Guwahati University) in Assam, India.
- 2022 October 23: Invited to speak on a panel at the 2022 NC State Women of Color Retreat. The theme, “Becoming: Collectivity Reclaimed and Reimagined” – Superwoman Complex, Colorism, Microaggressions, Soul Care and Collective Healing, Intersectionality (exploring intersectional identities and solidarity)
- 2022 April 30: Invited as the guest speaker on the topic “Global Scenario of Hindi – An International Collaboration” initiated by the Hindi Department of Moridhal College (Guwahati University) in Assam, India.
- 2022 March 10: Invited to present at The Cardinal at North Hills, a senior living community on the topics of “Let’s Learn about Indian Languages, Music, and Cultures”.
- 2021, June 27: “Breaking the Silence of Native American Folktales through Translations” – Presented my book project at the 2021 #SALTA(South Asian Language Teachers Association) International Virtual Conference this weekend. Received wonderful comments and suggestions to make my project more interesting from the various scholars around the world!
- 2019, June 5 – June 7: Presented my paper “Teaching and Learning Hindi Through Modern Technologies in American/NC State University” (“अमेरिका में आधुनिक प्रौद्योगिकियों द्वारा हिन्दी भाषा-साहित्य का शिक्षण और अधिगम”) in The International Conference on Hindi as a Second/Foreign Language at the University of Lisbon, Portugal Organized by the Center for Indian Studies, Center for Linguistics of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and in collaboration with the ICCR/Embassy of India in Lisbon, Portugal.
- Led the discussion panel on the topic “Difference in learning a language for proficiency vs learning a language for academic studies” in the seminar for “Evaluation of Military Foreign Language Training for University Credit” at Hawthorne Inn and Conference Center, Winston-Salem, NC. February 6, 2018
- Creating learning episodes based on authentic materials to increase foreign language literacy, Asian Studies seminar, NC State University. November 16, 2017
- “Developing Topic Based Activities Aligned with Goals- Designing Learning Episodes Based on Cultural Stories” STARTALK Focus Session on in STARTALK fall conference, Portland, Oregon, November 2017.
- “Hindi and the World: Local and Global Perspective,” presenter, International Hindi Conference, Consulate General of India, New York, May 2016.
- “Pedagogical Implications of Using Audio-Video Materials to Model Quasi Real-Life Communication and to Engage Students in Interactive Activities at Different ACTFL Levels,” presenter, International Hindi Conference, Rutgers University, April 2015.
- “Hindi-Urdu Conversational Movies Using ACTFL Methodology,” presenter, Foreign Language Association of North Carolina Conference, Winston Salem, NC, October 2013.
- Talks and Presentations, Invited
- Invited to give a presentation titled “Enhancing Language Skills and Cultural Awareness Through Virtual Reality” at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ annual event called “Digital Making in CHASS: Innovative Teaching that Empowers Students for Success”. This initiative was part of the Diversity Mini-Grant Award that Dr. Phukan was awarded this academic year of 2022-2023, April 2023.
- A talk on the topic, “The Lumbi Tribes of North Carolina and the Folktale – The Spirit of the River” at North Carolina Sahityik Manch/Literary Forum on Sunday, January 22, 2023.
- Invited to speak on a panel at the 2022 NC State Women of Color Retreat, on October 23, 2022. The theme, “Becoming: Collectivity Reclaimed and Reimagined” – Superwoman Complex, Colorism, Microaggressions, Soul Care and Collective Healing, Intersectionality (exploring intersectional identities and solidarity).
- Invited as the guest speaker on the topic “Global Scenario of Hindi – An International Collaboration” initiated by the Hindi Department of Moridhal College in Assam, India on April 30, 2022.
- “Breaking the Silence of Native American Folktales through Translations” – Presented my book project at the 2021 #SALTA(South Asian Language Teachers Association) International Virtual Conference on June 27, 2021.
- an international conference collaboratively organized by Nowgong Girls’ College, Lakhimpur Commerce College, and the University Grant Commission of India IQAC (International Quality Assurance Cell) India (2022)
- Invited as the distinguished speaker for “Online Teaching Strategies – Share and Learn” organized by NYU (New York University) Hindi-Urdu workshop, July 24, 2020. Presentation topic: “A Journey with 3D Printing and Green Screen Skits.”
- Invited as the distinguished speaker at the international webinar organized by Dyal Singh College, Karnal, India on the topic, “Relevance of literature during the Corona pandemic”, on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.
- Invited to be on the panel of judges at Yale University Hindi Debate Competition 2020, National Round on Friday, March 27. The competition was canceled because of the novel coronavirus epidemic.
- “Designing Learning episodes from cultural and mythological stories” – Presented in STARTALK spring conference on the topic in Loews Philadelphia Hotel, PA, April 2018.
- “Difference in learning a language for proficiency vs learning a language for academic studies” – Led the discussion panel on the topic in the seminar for “Evaluation of Military Foreign Language Training for University Credit” at Hawthorne Inn and Conference Center, Winston-Salem, NC, February 2018.
- “ACTFL/Defense Language Institute Hindi Standard Setting Workshop” invited as a language resource person, MD, March 2017.
- “Hindi and the World: Local and global perspective” invited presenter at International Hindi Conference at Consulate General of India, New York, May 2016.
- “Asian American Pacific Islander Women’s Panel” hosted by the Women’s Center at NC State University, March 2016.
- “Pedagogical Implications of Using Audio-Video Materials to Model Quasi Real-Life Communication and to Engage Students in Interactive Activities at Different ACTFL Level” invited presenter at “International Hindi Conference” organized by Rutgers University, New Jersey, April 2015.
- “Northeast India, People, Language and Culture” invited presenter for Advanced Hindi/Urdu class at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, November 2014.
- “Hindi-Urdu Conversational Movies Using ACTFL Methodology” invited presenter at FLANC Conference, NC, October 2013.
- “South Asian Culture and Hindi/Urdu Languages” invited presenter to AFROTC cadets at NC State University, November 2012.
- A Diversity Mini-Grant by the ODEI (2022) “Enhancing Hindi-Urdu language skills and Cultural Awareness through Virtual Reality Modules”,
- Nominated the Outstanding Engagement Award by FLL Awards Committee for outstanding performance and contributions to the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, October 5, 2022.
- NC State University Libraries Alt-Textbook Project Award, a nationally recognized leading project in supporting teaching and learning more equitable and effective, February 2022
- $ honorarium was offered for my article “Teaching of Hindi language and literature by using modern technologies in America” published in “World Hindi Magazine” run by World Hindi Secretariat – A Bilateral Organization of the Government of India and Mauritius, 2019
- Duke Grant for creating and developing advanced-level Hindi conversational online materials for world language resources at Duke University.
- Nominated for CHASS outstanding lecture award for 2014-15, 2015-2016
- Hindi-Urdu Conversational Movie Project: Received a departmental fund to create and develop Hindi-Urdu situational conversation movies from the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at North Carolina State University, 2013
- Hindi-Urdu Club’s President’s Award: For the outstanding contribution to advancing the Hindi-Urdu languages in the NCSU campus, 2012
- Online Advanced Level Hindi Conversation Project Grant: Duke University, Granted by CSEEES-The Duke-UNC Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies, 2014
- Hindi/Urdu Conversation Movie Project: Funds from the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at North Carolina State University, 2012
- Novice Level Conversations
- Intermediate Level Conversations
- Advanced Level Conversation
- Superior Level Conversations
- A Door into Hindi Online Portal: https://taj.oasis.unc.edu/
Ph.D. Hindi/Assamese Folk Literature and Culture Dr. B R Ambedkar University 2006
M.A. Linguistics Dr. B R Ambedkar University 2002
M.A. Hindi Language and Literature Dr. B R Ambedkar University 2000
B.A. Major in Hindi Language and Literature, Minoring in Education, English Guwahati University 1998
Area(s) of Expertise
Her research concentration include:
Languages and Literatures
Hindi-Urdu prose and poetry
Bollywood Movies and South Asian Literature
South Asian history, cultures and literatures