What’s New in the Department
Academic Advising Highlights
Our department is bustling this time of year as students busily work in their last few days of classes, take final exams, and register for Spring 2018 classes. It is my pleasure to share with you the “student side” of our department and our academic activities!
As the United States and other countries become more globalized, students are finding that language minors and additional majors are a valuable resource to them in their studies and career goals. Our minor and major degrees include not only the necessary language component but also the cultural aspect that is so important for being able to articulate. Language simply cannot be learned without having culture involved.
The department currently offers 11 unique minors in: Chinese, Film Studies, French, French Area & Culture Studies, German, German Area & Culture and Area Studies, Global Studies, Japanese, Russian Culture and Area Studies, Spanish, and Latin American Area Studies. The Russian minor was just implemented in Fall 2017, and we already have 12 students pursuing this track! Many of our minor-seeking students major in such diverse areas as mechanical and electrical engineering, business, English, communication, nursing, medical sciences, and philosophy.
Majors offered are Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and our department also advises for a BA in Humanities – International Area Studies degree. The majors of French, Japanese, and Spanish offer options in Secondary Education. The Professions majors in French, German, Japanese, and Spanish are proving very popular with students as an additional complementary major to their first degree program. We also see a connection here with students adding additional majors in the same areas indicated for our minor degree students.
Study Abroad continues to be a popular option with both language minors and majors. Students are excited to use their language and culture skills in places where the languages they study are widely spoken. Most students tell me that they add a week or two before or after their programs to sightsee and visit places of interest. Many times, parents plan to travel to where the student is placed and enjoy the sightseeing with them before they all return home!
As our chair, Jolyon Hughes, has already mentioned, we have many exciting developments taking place in the academic area, such as language proficiency certificates in Arabic and Korean, development of a mythology certificate and minor, and an online Spanish minor.
This December, we had 17 graduating students—four in French, six in Japanese, and seven in Spanish!
In the upcoming year, I will be working to develop internship programs for our students that are specific to language learning. These will be added to our website as they’re developed. Other projects in the works are to develop a classroom presentation about why students should consider including a language minor or major in their academic program and a workshop in careers in foreign languages. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to serve and expand our students’ best interests.
As the undergraduate advisor for the Department of Foreign Languages ans Cultures, it is always a pleasure for me to help students develop their academic plans, working with them to find applicable minors and majors that suit their unique and individual life plans, and to assist them in other ways. Every student has a unique and individual interest and outlook on life, and I can truthfully ask, “Isn’t it this global community outlook that makes the world more interesting?”
–Laurie Heustis, Academic Advisor
Graduate Program Update
Our graduate program is lively as ever! Meet our current teaching assistants, both first- and second-year students. Soon we will be saying goodbye to Mike, Carolina, Amanda, Enrique, Diana, Ángel, and Bryan—all of them graduating May 2018 and moving onto greener pastures. With us will remain Svetlana, Andrea, Priya, and Collin.
We are currently in the process of receiving admissions applications for Fall 2018, and we look forward to sending out acceptance letters this spring for our new set of master’s students. We are also reviewing our program and making some minor program changes to maximize classroom experience and learning. Stay tuned for more updates!
–Dr. Francisco Manzo-Robledo, Graduate Program Director
Jim Martin, director of the Language Learning Resource Center, was promoted over the summer to the position of lab director for the College of Arts and Sciences computer labs. Jim now reports to the college and is responsible for overseeing the computer labs in both foreign languages and cultures, and the English department, working to increase efficiency, decrease outdated technology, and enhance the overall learning experience for our students. Though we do not see Jim as much as we used to, his office remains in Thompson Hall and we frequently get to catch up. These days, Jim is often a blur as he runs between Thompson and Avery Halls attending to the various needs of the student computing labs.
In order to keep the LLRC running smooth while attending to his additional responsibilities, Jim hired former LLRC monitor and DFLC alumna Annie Boothman as assistant director of the LLRC. Annie decided to continue her graduate studies at WSU in the Department of English after graduating with her bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages and Cultures. We have been so lucky to have such a great employee for so many years to help ensure the scheduling, technology, and tutoring run as they should.
We have several lab monitors and technicians who have worked in the lab for several years during (or all of) their undergraduate careers. We wish them the very best as they embark on real life and follow their own career paths. May you always carry with you what you learned while in Thompson Hall and the LLRC. We will miss you!
New Public Relations Interns
Late this fall, we welcomed a new public relations intern, Tylie Topdjian, who has taken charge of our social media accounts and helped us put together this newsletter. Tylie is a senior communication major who will be graduating in May 2018.
At the start of the spring 2018 semester, we will welcome two additional public relations interns, Bethany Waddleton and Shannon Steffens, both senior communication majors who will work with the department to promote, advertise, and market our academic programs to future Cougs and to help with departmental events, among other professional tasks.
This is the third year of our collaboration efforts with The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication to provide junior and senior Murrow Public Relations students hands-on learning opportunities with a diverse group of people to enhance and solidify their professional preparedness before embarking in the real world, post-graduation. Go Cougs!
Study Abroad Updates
We are pleased to announce a new faculty-led study abroad program that will be offered for the first time in summer 2018 to Costa Rica with one of our Spanish instructors, Sonia Lopez-Lopez, who is not only working on earning her PhD but also is managing the STAMP test for the department and coordinating the Spanish 100- and 200-level courses for our 12 graduate student teaching assistants.
Our Russian conversation Instructor, Dr. Sergey Lapin, a native speaker of Russian and clinical associate professor of mathematics, is offering an inaugural faculty-led study abroad trip to Moscow and Saint Petersburg, Russia, in conjunction with the Honors College in summer 2018. This is very exciting for our Russian students who are also Honors students!