Edelmira Nickels Ph.D.

Edelmira Nickels
Portrait image
BIO picture Edelmira Nickels

Edelmira Nickels Ph.D.

Department Chair
Strategic Languages Department

Areas of Expertise

  • Development of language tests/assessments
  • Language training program management
  • Language testing program management
  • NATO language interoperability

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D., Applied Linguistics, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • M.A., TESOL and Applied Linguistics, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • B.A., Secondary Education, English as a Second or Other Language, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras

Dr. Edelmira L. Nickels has served as Chair of the Strategic Languages Department at the Partner Language Training Center Europe (PLTCE) since 2020. As Chair, she oversees the execution of intermediate and advanced Language Enhancement Courses in Farsi, French, Levantine, Modern Standard Arabic, and Russian for government linguists from the US and NATO Nations.  She also manages the Applied Consecutive Interpreting Techniques workshops.  In addition to her Departmental responsibilities, Dr. Nickels advises the Director of PLTCE on matters related to foreign language acquisition and language assessment. She also contributes to NATO-funded projects for language interoperability, e.g., via NATO Defence Capacity Building Trust Fund projects.

Prior to her current position, Dr. Nickels served as the Chief of the English Testing Flight at the US Defense Language Institute English Language Center (DLIELC) in San Antonio, Texas. There, she was responsible for the development, distribution, and security of English-language proficiency tests in support of Security Cooperation, military accessions, and US-sponsored exercise programs for the US Department of Defense. Dr. Nickels led a remarkable team of civilian and military personnel in the creation of over 1,000 valid test items each year and the oversight of 261 non-resident test sites worldwide. Additionally, she managed the administration of an average of 34,000 English Comprehension Level tests, 1,100 Oral Proficiency Interviews, 900 Resident American Language Course Placement Tests, and 16,000 resident book quizzes per year. Dr. Nickels also represented the US Government as training facilitator in PLTCE’s NATO accredited Language Testing Seminars and on three DLIELC mobile training teams to the Middle East.

Before entering civil service, Dr. Nickels worked in academia, where she published several research studies in second language acquisition and in discourse analysis. At university, she taught ESL, Spanish, and courses in linguistics. Dr. Nickels also brings extensive experience from years of working in language testing and assessment with local, state, and non-profit organizations in the US.

pltce.programs [at] marshallcenter.org