Oksana Willis holds a Ph.D. in Russian literature from Moscow State University. A native speaker of Russian, she currently teaches all levels of Russian through literature, social science and media. Dr. Willis regularly works with heritage speakers. In 2016, she directed the Harvard Summer Program in Tbilisi (Georgia), where she carried out administrative tasks and taught an Intermediate Russian language course.
Dr. Willis started her career as a Russian language teacher at the Technical University (MADI) in Moscow, where she taught a yearlong intensive preparatory Russian language course to foreign students who planned to continue their studies in Russia. In the United States, Dr. Willis worked as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Tampa, and held the position of Assistant Professor of Russian at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, CA. During her term at DLI, Dr. Willis led a Russian language immersion program, worked on the development of a new textbook for the Russian Basic Course, and taught foreign language methodology and pedagogy to the DLI faculty. In her additional role as Faculty Development Specialist, Dr. Willis certified new DLI instructors, and designed and facilitated workshops in the U.S. and international locations. Dr. Willis has presented at various pedagogical conferences at DLI, Harvard and other academic institutions. Dr. Willis was awarded the Coin of Excellence and Certificate of Excellence in Teaching at DLI, and the Certificate of Teaching Excellence from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University.