Languages, Literatures, & Cultures

Mission Statement

Our department believes that the study of other languages, literatures, and cultures is a vital component of a liberal arts education. The study of language enables students to understand the dynamic role language plays in shaping interactions between people. This understanding of language as a living process rooted in social and cultural contexts is essential in a pluralistic American society and in a world where nations are increasingly interdependent. 

Our mission is to teach foreign language skills and to offer diverse perspectives on the cultures of the societies where these languages are spoken. In our elementary and intermediate level modern language classes, we teach the fundamental skills of speaking, reading, writing, and listening. We strive to prepare students to communicate at a basic survival level in a second language and develop a solid base of linguistic and cultural understanding to allow more advanced study.

Our advanced programs develop proficiency in the language of study as well as increased cultural understanding, both of which are essential for successful communication in professional, social, and scholarly environments. Literature and civilization courses in the target languages, as well as those in translation, are designed to teach students how to analyze texts critically within a historical, social, and cultural context.  Because a culture is best experienced by living in it, the department encourages students to participate in study abroad programs in which the language of instruction is not English.

Our department is made up of dedicated teachers and scholars with diverse backgrounds and research interests. We strive for excellence and relevance in our teaching and believe that our scholarship enriches the learning experience of students. Through the teaching of the languages, literatures, and cultures of other countries, we aim to foster in students the ability to understand, appreciate, and critically analyze the perspectives of cultures other than their own.