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News Travels Spring 2016 Home 2

From Our Chair

Dr. Hughes speaking at the DFLC Awards Ceremony.
Dr. Hughes speaking at the DFLC Awards Ceremony.

Greetings Cougs, Coug Parents, and Alumni!

It is my privilege to be able to address you all again in this manner and welcome you to News Travels, the bi-annual newsletter from the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures. We are heading into the summer semester after a very busy beginning to 2016.

First, we’re extremely pleased to recognize the promotions of two faculty members, one a popular and long-serving tenure-track professor and the other an alumna of our Spanish graduate program: Dr. Rachel Halverson will be promoted to Professor of German and Cassandra Gulam (alumna) will be promoted to Senior Instructor of Spanish on July 1. We also have two graduate students who were accepted into Ph.D. programs in Spanish Language and Culture. Lorena VegaTamayo will attend UC Riverside and Edurne (Edi) Betrán de Heredia Carmona will attend Arizona State University in the fall semester. Also, I would like to bring particular notice to last year’s winner of the Marianna M. and Donald S. Matteson Distinguished Professor Award, Dr. Joan Grenier-Winther. Congratulations!

Our faculty members have had an extremely productive period in the area of scholarly output. Dr. Christopher Lupke has just published a book titled The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien: Culture, Style, Voice, and Motion (2016), by Cambria Press. Dr. Vilma Navarro-Daniels was awarded an International Travel Grant, and Dr. Ana María Rodriguez-Vivaldi was given an award for Outstanding Academic Advising. The Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures is working diligently to produce innovative and original research in the areas of literature, language, and culture. At the same time, the faculty members are also showing that they are excellent resources in the areas of teaching and service as well as research.

This summer will provide much-needed rest for some while providing a high level of activity for others. After working with the Office of International Programs, the DFLC is beginning to expand its faculty-led summer study abroad programs. This year, the German section will travel to Vienna, Austria, and the French section is putting the final touches on its application for a similar program in Paris under the direction of Dr. Insook Webber. We hope to begin work on a similar program in Spanish language and culture in the coming months. These programs are vital for helping students to improve their language skills and to become culturally competent, and they are crucial for attracting students into our major and minor programs. Study abroad opportunities also help increase student interest in languages as second majors. The Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures is working to create a variety of pedagogically sound, culturally relevant, and academically helpful programs to get students invested in languages and cultures in addition to any other areas of interest they might have.

Foreign Languages are becoming known as “value-added” majors, particularly evident through our Languages for the Professions track. Offered as a second major only, Languages for the Professions must be taken with another major, such as Business, Engineering, Veterinary Medicine, English, Communication, or History. Considering the ways students garner credits on their respective paths toward graduation, a second major in a foreign language, coupled with any other degree, makes students much more impressive on paper and provides them with a competitive edge in the global job market. For example, if a student has 30 UCORE (general education credits) and 40 credits in the primary major for a total of 70 credits, he or she would still need 50 credits to graduate (120 total credits needed). Why not fill those credits up with a second major in a language, which will allow global employment and a competitive advantage in virtually any discipline or industry? We believe that our Languages for the Professions second major is an effective way to assist students in fulfilling their 120 credits without simply taking whatever is available, but, instead, getting another valuable degree in the same amount of time. This is what we mean by value added! Some of the world’s largest corporations are based outside the U.S. and a degree in Foreign Languages and Cultures can help graduates get a foot in the door with some of them.

In conclusion, thank you for your support of Foreign Languages and Cultures study at WSU. I hope that I have the chance to meet many of you, should you come to campus at any time. Thank you again for all of your encouragement and dedication to the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures. We look forward to another great year at WSU, and we will see you after the summer break.


Go Cougs!!!


JT Hughes


Dr. Jolyon T. Hughes Ph.D.

Professor of German

Chair, Department of Languages and Cultures

Washington State University

Thompson Hall 110B

Campus Delivery 2610

Pullman, WA 99164-2610

(509) 335-6173