The study of foreign languages is an important element of an education in the liberal arts, vital today for any student who seeks fruitful interaction in a rapidly evolving and interconnected global culture, but especially for the student educated in the Catholic and Franciscan tradition. Foreign language study is an important discipline for refining one’s communication skills, improving clarity of thought and expression, and enhancing the knowledge and use of one’s native language. It fosters the mental flexibility required in an ever-changing workplace environment. Learning a second language expands one’s cultural awareness and lessens dependence on stereotypical expressions and formulaic reasoning. Knowing a foreign language deepens an education in the humanities, rendering more vivid the student’s knowledge of history, geography, philosophy, literature, and the fine arts. Above all, the acquisition of a second language engages the individual on the path of responsible citizenship in the world community, encouraging foreign travel and exploration of foreign cultures, essential elements of a truly liberating education.
The Mission of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures therefore is to provide a comprehensive program of instruction in French, German, and Spanish for students wishing to major/minor in these fields and to provide courses for students wishing to acquire skills in these languages on the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels.
Teaching in the modern languages emphasizes the four linguistic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in order to foster effective interpersonal communication, essential comprehension and appreciation of written and spoken texts, as well as reflection upon them, and critical reaction to them. For this purpose, the language programs also seek to impart an awareness of the cultures which use the languages, both in their historical and contemporary contexts. Languages therefore are studied in a manner that reflects their links to many fields of human experience, including literature, art, music, film, philosophy, theology, and science. The Department’s goals thus include enabling students to be informed about world events, at least in as far as they affect the cultures they study, and responsive to the experiences and perspectives of societies at different times and places. In acting on its mission, the Department furthermore helps students experience the classics of Western civilization and develop historical consciousness. While the subjects in the Department’s domain are taught according to their "proper autonomy," they are brought as far as their nature allows into relation with Christian revelation, Catholic tradition, and specifically Franciscan values.
In light of the above mission, the programs in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures are designed with three general aims: 1) to provide courses in French, German, and Spanish for students wishing to acquire skills in these languages on the elementary, intermediate, and advanced level; 2) to provide students with an opportunity to complement their major studies in another field with a minor in French, German, and Spanish, and 3) to provide a solid comprehensive program in French, German, and Spanish for students wishing to major in the field.
The majors in French, German, and Spanish are offered for three categories of students:
The major programs include a variety of courses in language command, linguistics, literature and culture, so that students may gain exposure to all necessary aspects of their chosen field of study. Overall, the departmental course offerings in French, German and Spanish are designed so as to facilitate that majors should have a chance to
Upon completion of the French major, a student should be able to demonstrate
Note: to facilitate assessment of these program learning goals, all French majors will take the departmental French Assessment Exam twice: when first enrolling in any 300 or 400 level course, and again during the final semester of enrollment in a French course.
Upon completion of the German major, a student should be able to demonstrate
Upon completion of the Spanish major, a student should be able to demonstrate
A large number of elective hours makes it possible for a language major to acquire skills in a second or third foreign language, or pursue academic interests, especially a major, in other fields. Small-sized classes afford personal attention and individualized instruction. Our Language Learning Center complements the work of the classroom by making use of computer technology; it is available for private practice, group study, reading, listening, and viewing enjoyment.
The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers language courses in French, German, and Spanish on the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels, as well as literature and civilization courses, to accommodate students majoring in other fields, and in particular: (1) those who, as part of their liberal arts education, wish to acquaint themselves with the literature and worlds of thought outside their own cultural environment; (2) those who wish to combine the knowledge of a foreign language with other professional interests, thus enhancing job opportunities and advancement, and (3) those who will need the knowledge of one or more foreign languages for research.
For students pursuing the Bachelor of Arts degree, the foreign language requirement is 6 credits at the intermediate level in a modern or classical language, i.e., French 201- 202, German 201-202, Greek 201-202 or 207 I, Hebrew 205-206, Latin 203-204 or 207 I, or Spanish 201-202 or 206. For students not prepared to enter the intermediate level, a six-credit elementary course is also required. The foreign language requirement may also be satisfied by examination or other verification of proficiency.
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