The Language Resource Center, originally named the Language Resource Program, was founded in 1986 by Applied Linguistics professor Russell Campbell.
Campbell was the first to develop English-language programs in China after the Mao era. He established ESL programs abroad in a total of nine countries. Campbell also worked in the area of heritage language education. Olga Kagan, director of the language programs in the UCLA Slavic Department and an expert in Russian pedagogy, focused her research on heritage language acquisition and teaching and they collaborated on a number of projects related to heritage language education. Prof. Campbell chose Dr. Kagan to succeed him upon his retirement as LRC director and they served together for the year before his death in 2003.
Starting in 2005 under Professor Kagan’s directorship, the LRC collaborated in designing and administering the UCLA Russian Flagship Program, part of the national Language Flagship, which teaches undergraduates to professional-level proficiency in critical languages.
In 2006, LRC was awarded a Department of Education Title VI grant and to create the National Heritage Language Resource Center, one of 17 national Language Resource Centers.
Following Dr. Kagan’s death in 2018, Dr. Peter Cowe, a specialist in Armenian and a professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, became the center’s director. In addition to his research on a range of Armenian topics, Dr. Cowie oversees research in his department on heritage language studies and is deeply connected with the local Armenian speaking community in Los Angeles.