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Washington State University

Chair’s letter – Fall 2017

Thompson Hall

Hello, Cougs,

It is indeed an honor to be able to address you in this forum and to let you know what the department has been doing since publication of our Spring newsletter. As some of you may already know, two years ago we were tasked by the Provost to think strategically about collaborations with other departments in order to build dynamic synergisms that would elevate our scholarly pursuits and put our students in a better place to succeed. To this end we put forward a proposal, vetted by our executive steering committee, for a new school consisting of our department, Comparative Ethnic Studies (CES), and American Studies (AS). The proposal is now being examined by the Provost’s office and will be presented in the spring to the Faculty Senate as the next step toward approval. Please stay tuned; further progress on this exciting development will appear in the spring edition of News Travels.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to our activities and programs during the past year. Your support means a great deal to the faculty and students who are taking advantage of new programs in more languages than ever before. Students and faculty have benefited greatly by your generosity and we want you to know how much we appreciate your continued support. Many of our new projects would not be successful or even possible without your help and we are ecstatic about your level of commitment and participation in our endeavors. We received a $15,000 grant from the Max Kade Institute for the German Summer in Vienna for the coming summer. There have also been awards for student travel in both general and language-specific programs, meaning that both undergraduate and graduate students in a any language can receive travel stipends in order to participate in academic conferences and/or study abroad programs.

This past summer marked a new high in faculty-led study abroad programs. Dr. Joshua Bonzo took students to Berlin, Germany, on his first beginning-level program. Dr. Insook Webber began a program in French language and culture in Paris, and I took students to Berlin on an upper-division German Summer Study Abroad program. These programs will run again this coming summer (2018) with my own program rotating to Vienna. More information about these programs, and their benefit to WSU students, can be found elsewhere in this newsletter. In the coming summer, there will be an additional program: the inaugural Summer Study Abroad program in Spanish language and culture to Costa Rica, led by Sonia Lopez-Lopez. The popularity and growth of these programs demonstrates our department’s commitment to transformative learning experiences for our students. My vision is continued growth in DFLC faculty-led study abroad programs that give students hands-on, experiential learning opportunities. Our department should be a leader in international education, training students in cultural competency, language/culture, and global citizenship.

Beyond these exciting developments, the DFLC has created an online certificate in beginning Spanish language, Spanish 101 – 204, and similar face-to-face certificate programs in Italian, Arabic, and Korean. Another online certificate program is an online certificate in Mythology, with courses such as Aztec/Inca/Maya, Norse/Germanic Mythology, Russian Fairy Tales, Chinese Mythology, and others currently in development. Future projects include both an undergraduate and graduate certificate in Film and a fully online Spanish minor. The department is working very hard to innovate and remain competitive with students in a global marketplace.

All of these programs, and more, are taking place within an atmosphere that is conducive to research, which is the backbone of a research institution. DFLC faculty are publishing articles, books, and papers in nationally and internationally well-known journals and publishing houses. Congratulations to Joan Grenier-Winther, Vilma Navarro-Daniels, and Francisco Manzo-Robledo, to name a few, for their important contributions to the discipline this year. More information about special projects is available in each language section. Despite a very heavy service and teaching load, our faculty members have continuously produced high-quality scholarly publications, elevating the status of the department in each language section. I look for this productivity to continue to flourish over the coming year and to possibly grow with new collaborative projects potentially stemming from the new collaborative unit with CES/AS faculty members.

I wish to thank all of you for your support and encouragement. It means a great deal to the faculty, staff, and students in the DFLC. Have a happy holiday season and I look forward to addressing you again next semester.


JT Hughes  

Dr. Jolyon T. Hughes PhD

Professor of German

Chair, Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures