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Washington State University

Chair’s Letter

Dear Cougar Alumni and Friends,

As the 2017–2018 school year draws to a close, it seems appropriate to look back and to acknowledge our successes, accomplishments, and motivations for going forward. For several years now, our faculty and students have been winning multiple awards at the college level, which shows how valued our faculty and students are within a larger college context as well as within the department.

This year, we celebrate one of our faculty members and two students as among those recently recognized for outstanding achievements: Dr. Joshua Bonzo for Excellence in Teaching by a Clinical Faculty Member Award; Amanda Hussein for Master’s Student Achievement  in the Humanities; and Angel Romero for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student.

We are also excited about an upcoming strategic realignment within the college that will merge the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures with a portion of the Department of Critical Cultures, Gender, and Race Studies to form a  larger, multidisciplinary School of Languages, Cultures, and Race.

The new school will house faculty from both units, providing students, faculty, and staff an expanded array of opportunities in innovative and collaborative scholarship. This new, larger unit will be home for study in all 9 currently taught languages as well as Global Studies, Comparative Ethnic Studies, American Studies, and General Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences. (For a complete list, please see our new website coming in July.) We look forward to the many advantages offered by the new school structure.

While this year has been full of excitement and growth, we are also sad to say proshchal’nyy privet (“farewell”) to our long-time Russian instructor and winner of the college’s Excellence in Teaching by an Instructor Award in 2017, Elena Smith, who is retiring at semester’s end. We will miss her greatly. To try to fill her shoes and to keep the Russian program vibrant, we will be hiring two Russian instructors affiliated with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics: clinical associate professor Dr. Sergey Lapin and master’s student Mikhail Gongadze.

Meanwhile, the Curriculum Committee has been working diligently and we have some new courses and programs to announce for Fall of 2018. The Spanish Core Competencies Global program will officially begin in the fall semester, along with the Mythology program and its courses. Film Studies is also a new course prefix and the department will begin to map out the programs and courses in this exciting new direction.

The French section has worked hard to create a  second minor program related to the WSU Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles (AMDT) department. It is now ready to begin signing up students.

Two faculty-led summer programs, one in Vienna and one to Paris, will be running this  summer. Both programs have received external support, which has greatly lowered the overall cost and increased the availability for students. The French section received a generous endowment from the Johnson family and the German section received a grant from the Max Kade Foundation and the Schlect family. A special thanks to everyone who has given financially to our students and their programs of study.

Thanks to all of you also for your support and encouragement. It means a great deal to the faculty, staff, and students in the department. Have a happy summer and I look forward to addressing you again next semester.


JT Hughes

Dr. Jolyon T. Hughes, PhD
Professor of German and Chair
Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures