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Dr Catherine Chabert

Dr Catherine Chabert

Reader in French, Executive Director of Confucius Institute

School of Modern Languages

+44 (0)29 2087 5836
2.16, 66a Park Place, Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3AS

Since 2014, I have been the director of a unique university-wide language programme – Languages for All – which offers all undergraduate and postgraduate students the opportunity to improve their language skills alongside their studies for free. In addition to being a full-time Reader, I am also the Executive Director of Cardiff University’s Confucius Institute which specialises in teaching Mandarin language and culture to people of all ages and interests across Wales; our Chinese partners are Xiamen University and Hanban.

These leadership roles reflect my expertise in language learning and teaching, technology enhanced teaching and French higher education policy making.

A graduate of Lyon (Licence and Maitrise) and Cardiff (PGCE Post-16 and PhD), I was appointed to the Cardiff University’s Language Centre in 1997. In 2000, I moved to the university’s Centre for Lifelong Learning and continued to work in the area of Modern Languages, developing programmes for full-time and part-time students, face-to-face, blended and distance learning. From 2005 to 2010, I was responsible for the overall Centre’s Marketing and Communications strategy. Between 2012 and 2014, I was Co-Dean of Lifelong Learning before moving to the new School of Modern Languages to become the Director of the Languages for All programme. In 2015, I was additionally invited to become the Executive Director of the Cardiff University’s Confucius Institute. I was promoted to Reader in 2016.

Honours and awards

  • 2016: I was awarded Xiamen University’s 2016 Confucius Institute Individual Performance Excellence Award from Hanban-Southern Base
  • 2016: Languages for All was shortlisted in the Outstanding Support for Students category for the Times Higher Education Awards
  • 2015: Languages for All was awarded the Cardiff University Celebrating Excellence Award for Outstanding Contribution to the University’s International Activities

Professional memberships

  • Chair of UNILANG (this is a recognition scheme which serves to help UK university students articulate and translate their language learning outcomes in terms of the CEFR)
  • Member of the AULC (Wales Representative and Deputy Treasurer)
  • Member of CercleS (Deputy Secretary General)
  • Member of the UCML (Wales Representative)
  • Accredited Assessor and Trainer for the French diplomas of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (DELF-DALF), A1 to C2 (Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques), three successive accreditations since 1999 (Current accreditation: 2015-2020)
  • Accredited Assessor for the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris CCIP – DFP B2 (Diplôme de Français Professionnel B2)
  • Practical Leadership for University Management – ILM (2009)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2007


  • Chabert, C. 2017. The political dimension of the CEFR. Presented at: 6th Bremen Symposium On Language Learning And Teaching At Universities, Bremen, Germany, 24-25 February 2017.







Some of the modules I have taught

  • French for Professional Purposes (Final year UG Modern Languages)
  • French for Professionals in the EU Context (Final year UG Business School)
  • French Language (Final year Modern Languages)
  • Developing Oral and Aural Skills (Year 2 UG Business School)
  • Higher Intermediate B1 (Languages for All)
  • Advanced B2 (Languages for All)

Programmes I have developed and taken through Quality Assurance validation

  • Languages for All (in the first six languages, from A1 to B1)
  • Business School UG degrees with a minor in a Modern Language
  • BA Chinese Studies (the language side from HSK1 to HSK5)

Other Quality Assurance roles

  • 2017: University of Liverpool (External Reviewer on the 3-Year Minor Subject Components in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish)
  • 2016: University of Manchester (Periodic Review of the Faculty of Humanities, LEAP - Language Experience for All Programme)
  • 2014 and 2015: Aberystwysth University (Lead External Examiner at the School of Education and Lifelong Learning for Modern Languages, Humanities, Sciences and Arts)

Recent external examining roles

  • University of Sheffield (2017-2018 ) – UWLP French
  • University of Manchester (2013-2017) - UWLP French
  • Aberystwyth University (2012-2017) - School of Education and Lifelong Learning, Modern Foreign Languages

My research interests include higher education policy making, globalization and virtual universities. I have closely followed the evolution of digital technologies in teaching, culminating in my PhD thesis “The Virtual University in a Globalizing World: a Comparison of Policy Initiatives in France and the UK”. This research compared and contrasted the conception and implementation of virtual university policy-making in higher education in the UK and France between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s.

I am currently researching national language certification schemes in higher education.

External profiles