Ruben Gomez, Chair
Carolina Casella, Christine Collins, Marc Papé, Francisco Plata, Maria Stella Plutino-Calabrese, Cara Welch
The Department of Modern Languages and Cultures prepares students to participate in today’s global society. The international market requires diversity, cultural awareness, and linguistic facility. Many students choose a language major or minor to prepare for work in fields including domestic and international business, government, historical and medical research, computer science, teaching, interpreting, and translation.
Major programs are available in French and Spanish. Italian is offered only as a minor, with additional coursework offered in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Language of Nazareth College. For those students who have not attained reading proficiency in a foreign language, our Literature in Translation courses provide the opportunity to explore non-Anglo-American traditions in cinema, literature, world mythologies, and cultures.
Introductory courses awaken an awareness to language itself, developing basic skills in vocabulary, grammar, reading analysis, and cultural awareness applicable to any realm of study. The active, personal use of the language promotes communicative competency in the target language.
Upper-level courses explore the historical and critical background in the literature and culture of each language, while developing a student’s analytical and research skills. Majors will complete a capstone research project in the final course within the major, which includes written and oral presentations. All language majors must complete at least one semester abroad although a full year is highly recommended. The Fisher four-week summer programs only satisfy this requirement after the completion of two additional 300 or 400 level language courses in the major. Language majors are strongly encouraged to double-major to apply the language within another discipline (i.e., inclusive education, history, political science, science, international studies, management).
Fisher alumni have identified the skills our program develops:
- Oral presentation
- Clear and focused writing
- Critical thinking
- Intercultural awareness
- Research and analytical capabilities
To achieve maximum proficiency in a language, majors must, and minors are strongly encouraged to, spend one or two full semesters in an immersion experience where the language is spoken. Three courses maximum (minimum three credits each) may be counted toward the major for one semester overseas, with only 6 credits of coursework applied at the 3/400 level. four courses maximum (minimum three credits each) for two semesters, unless the department chairman approves otherwise. Majors must complete one advanced course in their major area on the Fisher campus after returning from foreign study. Information on the College Foreign Study Program is available from the director of foreign study, department chair, or on the Foreign Study website.
Course Sequencing and Placement
Students who have successfully completed three sequential levels (I, II, III) in the same foreign language may not be placed into the College 101 level in that language. Students wishing to continue study in this same language will be placed at the 102 level, or they may choose to begin another foreign language at the 101 level. Students who have successfully completed advanced level IV Spanish/French will be placed at the 103 level or higher, as will heritage and native speakers.
Students who wish to continue language study are strongly advised to enroll in language courses as freshmen to avoid problems with retention of foreign language structures. Placement in the beginning-level courses will be assessed in classes during the first week of the semester.
Course numbering recognizes the importance of sequencing. The initial sequence (101C, 102D, 103D) must be taken in order and completed before a student enters the 200 level. LSPN 201D must be successfully completed before taking LSPN 202D. Two 200-level courses should normally be completed before proceeding to the 300 level. After successfully completing coursework at one level, a student may not take a lower-level course for credit without the permission of the department chair. Any special cases should be referred to the department chair.
Credit Through Outside Examination
College Level Proficiency Examinations (CLEP), Advanced Placement Examinations (AP), and International Baccalaureate Examinations (IB) are available, and credit (not grades) is awarded by the College toward the degree and Core Requirements. Advanced Placement Examinations, which include a literary portion, will be reviewed by the department as necessary to determine the awarding of credit. Normally, credit will be awarded by the department for AP scores 4 and above in modern languages, 3 and above in classical languages, and for IB scores of 5 and above on the higher-level language examinations.