Ron Gougher is an international language education authority who shared and applied his expertise to serve educational, governmental, industrial, and private organizations for more than half a century. His work has taken him to China, Japan, Taiwan, Mongolia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Czech Republic, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Vietnam, Cuba, Israel, and Egypt as recently as 2014. Additional travels and work in Finland, Sweden, France, Germany, England, Holland, Italy, Turkey, and Switzerland have given him an additional global perspective.
Born in Allentown, PA, Ron attended Northampton High School and then earned a Bachelor of Arts in German from Muhlenberg College. Over the next four years, while teaching German full time at Parkland High School, he studied German at Albright College, Stanford University and Harvard University. He ultimately earned a Master of Arts in Teaching German from Lehigh University and an advanced studies certificate from The University of Pennsylvania.
His days at Parkland were memorable because he not only also served as Chairperson of the Foreign Language Department for two years, he was also one of the wrestling coaches who helped to guide the school to its first wrestling championship. Parkland’s German program received regular local, state, national and international recognition during his tenure from 1962-1965, including awards from the Federal Republic of Germany. Ron also developed and implemented the first Advanced Placement course given at the school.
Ron next taught German at the Moravian Seminary for Girls from 1966 to 1969. Again, the school’s German program was recognized for excellence.
Says Ron, “It was during this time that I developed my teaching theories based on the idea that students need to be evaluated based upon performance throughout their high school careers rather than credits earned from time spent in class. Much of my professional writing is about individualizing instruction, portfolio assessments, testing that requires standard language performance, as an alternative to credit offered for time spent in class. This philosophy affected my entire testing approach during my subsequent career as a university professor.”
Ron next served as an Instructor of German at Lehigh University from 1965-1969 and as an Associate Professor of German at West Chester University from 1969–2004. During this period he also served as Coordinator of the German Program from 1972–2004, Chairperson of the Department of Foreign Languages from 1977-1996, Coordinator of the International School – University Partnership Program from 1988–2005, and as the first Director of International Education at West Chester University for more than a decade. Mr. Gougher was also campus director for the Experiment in International Living for two decades. Over the years, Ron was the recipient of numerous grants from state and federal agencies, the Fulbright Commission and the Soros foundation, headed by world-renowned financier and philanthropist George Soros. One such grant promoted the teaching of Russian, Chinese and Japanese in Chester County, PA, schools. In 2004, West Chester University honored Ron with the Distinguished Service Award. He also received an award certificate from the United States Congress, as suggested and supported by Congressman Joe Pitts and colleagues.
During his career, Ron worked with the U.S. Government, providing helpful information to both the National Security Council and President Clinton on matters related to the Balkans during the late 1990’s. He also supported collaboration between NASA and the Russian space program, resulting in visits by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko to homes and schools in Pennsylvania. Ron has edited columns in major foreign language journals, presented papers, and delivered lectures in 26 states and more than 15 countries.
In recognition of his accomplishments, Ron has been featured in the 3rd through 8th editions of Who’s Who in American Education, the 28th through 37th editions of Who’s Who in Finance and Business, and the 50th through 70th editions of Who’s Who in America. He has also appeared in multiple editions of Who’s Who in the East and Who’s Who in the World published over the past 30 years.
His professional affiliations include the American Association of Teachers of German, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, and the International Platform Association. Ron actively worked with the Citizen American Ambassador Program in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Egypt, Cuba and Israel.