A Note From the Chair

CATEGORIES: March 2014

Dear WLC students, alumni and friends,

Each month we highlight recent accomplishments in our department. These have included unique curricular endeavors such as the Language and Cultures for Professions (LCP) secondary major, extraordinary study abroad and international internship programs, or successful student projects.

As mentioned previously, WLC offers coursework in nine different languages (ten if you include English): American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. Annually, we teach roughly 14,000 student credit hours each year, and currently we have about 220 students majoring in the department. During any given semester, WLC offers over 100 courses with a wide array of topics ranging—and most of these are content-driven courses to perfect language proficiency and provide a base on which to understand about the socio-political and economic situation of the different cultures we study. From contemporary German cultural studies to sustainability and biodiversity issues in the Middle East to the major writers of Equatorial Guinea, WLC teaches a variety of courses that reflect growing interest in international issues. Moreover, within these courses, we offer some pretty interesting topical modules and case studies: science fiction writing in Latin America, stand-up comedy in Russia, early German scientific thought, business practices in the francophone world, classical archeology, wind energy in Spain, French filmmaking, Chinese short-short stories, Spanish world dialects, or deaf culture—to name just a few.

As one can see from this collection of topics, language learning and teaching has changed a great deal over the past decade or so. WLC faculty continue to teach language courses, but today they do so much more. Through careful study of primary and secondary texts and artifacts, constant training in new approaches and foci, or by visiting archives abroad, WLC faculty are internationally recognized scholars who endeavor in all cases to closely connect their published research with their classroom teaching. By undertaking field research at archives in France or Spain, examining major museum installations in Germany and Austria, working on archeological sites in Greece and Italy, or by meeting face-to-face with authors, filmmakers, and politicians abroad, faculty continue to build impressive scholarly profiles. But, what often is forgotten is that these research trips abroad also inform teaching, allowing us to provide the most interesting and engaging—as well as relevant—content to our students. Research and teaching are therefore closely entwined in WLC, and we take pride in being able to relate innovative new scholarly areas to our classroom teaching.

Therefore, this month I would like to remind our readers about faculty research and teaching initiatives and give you an idea of some of topics we are teaching these days…

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