Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Chair: Richard Reitsma, PhD
Our primary mission is to instill an awareness of language as an essential element of our thought processes, perceptions, and self-expressions. As recent world events have demonstrated, deep cultural knowledge and linguistic competence are necessary if one wishes to understand other people and their communities. We seek to provide students with the skills and intellectual breadth needed to communicate effectively and to play an active role in today’s world. The Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures offers a Spanish major and minors in French, German, and Spanish, as well as instruction in Italian and Polish. Language study combines uniquely with virtually any major; but of particular interest and practicality are dual majors with International Business and Marketing, International Relations, Bilingual Education, and Biology. Skills in a foreign language are often the deciding factor in an employer’s choice between our graduates and equally qualified but monolingual peers. Language majors pursue rewarding careers in social work, international business, government service, teaching, interpreting, and scientific research, to mention but a few of the many exciting possibilities.
Over the course of the semester, each student in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures participates in or attends two cultural events or activities outside regular class time. Please consult the department for a listing of these offerings.
Each language course offered in the department must be completed with a grade of C or better in order to proceed to the next level. Any course with a grade of C- or below must be repeated. A placement exam, in combination with high school language experience, IB or AP exam scores, etc. will determine initial placement in the course sequences.
All students should have an advisor in the major and should contact the department directly to have an advisor assigned if they do not already have one. Meetings with academic advisors are required prior to students receiving their PIN for course registration each semester. All majors should work closely with their advisor in discussing career expectations, choosing their major electives, developing their entire academic program and planning their co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences.
Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures majors are required to study abroad for a minimum of four consecutive weeks in a formal pre-approved program in the target language. Consultation with a department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures academic advisor is required prior to study abroad.
Students who wish to expand their educational opportunities may decide to declare a double major. The decision may be based on career goals or planned graduate studies. Before a student declares a double major, it is important to meet with the appropriate academic departments for advisement. Some double major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional course work may be required. In order to declare a double major, the student must complete the appropriate double major request form and get the signature of each department chairperson and the appropriate associate dean. Please note that students will receive only one degree, regardless of the number of majors they complete.
Additional information about dual majors is provided in the Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures curriculum information.
Minors in Other Disciplines
Minors provide students the opportunity to pursue additional interests but generally do not require as many courses as a major. Minors generally range from five to eight required courses. The minors page provides a complete list of minors and provides links to each minor. Some majors and minors can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional coursework may be required. Students must complete the appropriate minor request form.
Students who are native speakers of languages other than English may pursue a major in their native language. These students usually begin at the 300-level language courses.
Native speakers of languages other than English receive a language requirement waiver for other programs requiring a certain level of language proficiency if they are able to provide documentation of their native speaker status. Examples of documents include, but are not limited to, a school diploma received from a country where the language of instruction is not English or an internationally recognized examination certifying language abilities.
The Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Department offers a Spanish major and minors in three languages.
Study abroad is required for any language major and encouraged for minors. There are a variety of study abroad options that are detailed in the description of each program.
The language minor is an interdisciplinary program aimed at developing Intermediate language skills and broad cultural understandings. It is designed with flexibility in order to accommodate students’ personal and professional interests. Language and cultural studies minors prove to be important assets when seeking employment or applying to graduate schools. It also provides an incentive for students to study in upper division language and literature courses. Students who reach the intermediate level of French, German or Spanish have the opportunity of studying in Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, France, Germany, and Spain.
Students must complete six courses for Language and Culture Minor programs in French, German, and Spanish.
Up to two of these courses can be replaced by two FRC/GER/SPA electives or two approved courses from other departments or two approved courses from study abroad. Pre-approved Internships and Campus Ministry service trips may count toward a minor. All electives from other departments are subject to the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures pre-approval, such as courses in PSC, LAS, IR, HIST, or HON.
ITA 103 Introductory Italian I 3 Credits
Reading, writing, listening and speaking. Introduction to Italian culture. Course aim is for almost exclusive use of Italian in class.
ITA 104 Introductory Italian II 3 Credits
Continuation of ITA 103. Reading, writing, listening and speaking. Introduction to Italian culture. Course aim is for almost exclusive use of Italian in class.
Prerequisite: minimum grade of C in ITA 103 or permission of chair.
ITA 215 Intermediate Italian 3 Credits
Continued development in writing, listening, speaking and especially reading Italian literary and cultural material. Comprehensive grammar review. Continued aim of almost exclusive use of Italian in class.
Prerequisite: minimum grade of C in ITA 104.
POL 102 Survival Polish 1 Credit
Designed specifically for participants in the Campus Ministry annual trip to Poland. The goals for the course are directly related to the environment in which students work: summer camp for children.
Prerequisite: permission of instructor.