Degree Objectives and Learning Outcomes
The Department of World Languages and Cultures is designed to provide students with the necessary skills to communicate effectively in their chosen language specialty. Department courses help to develop communicative skills, literary competence and cultural awareness, while fostering an environment of critical thinking and intellectual growth.
A crucial aspect of the department's mission is that students expand the ability to relate their own culture with the culture of the language studied. The Department also complements study in many other disciplines and prepares learners for life-long appreciation of other cultures and communities.
Our major and minor programs require intermediate and advanced conversation and composition courses that will guide students toward language proficiency. All departmental language programs offer business courses to prepare students for the professional and business world. The Spanish section provides the separate major Spanish for the Professions.
The department offers literature and culture courses focusing on specific authors, movements and topics, as well as linguistics courses that present basic concepts of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, language variation, language change and second language acquisition. Departmental courses cultivate students' meta-linguistic and cross-cultural awareness, and understanding of the local and global communities. In literature courses students learn to think critically by analyzing the development of ideas and themes in different genres and across historical periods and by demonstrating an understanding of the many ways language is used to structure fictional worlds and to interact with the reader.
All courses require students to demonstrate listening, speaking, writing and reading proficiency in second languages, based on the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century as followed by the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL):
- Students will be able to engage in conversation, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.
- Students will be able to understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics.
- Students will be able to present information, concepts and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.
- Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the cultures studied.
- Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the products (artifacts) and perspectives of the cultures studied.
- Students will be able to reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the foreign language.
- Students will be able to acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the foreign language and its cultures.
- Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied and their own.
- Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own.
- Students will be able to use the language both within and beyond the school setting.
- Students will be able to show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using the language for personal enjoyment and enrichment.
Our foremost language objective is to foster critical thinking and analytical reasoning at all levels. Each course has its own formative and summative assessments depending on the discipline (language, linguistics, literature or culture) and the level.