Francisco Plata, Chair
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 and minors are available in French and Spanish. 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. Active, personal use 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 are encouraged to complete at least one semester abroad, although a full year is highly recommended.
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 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. Four courses maximum (minimum three credits each) for two semesters, unless the department chair approves otherwise. Language majors who choose to study abroad must complete one advanced course in their major area on the Fisher campus after their return. Information on the study abroad program is available from the director of study abroad, the department chair, or the Study Abroad website.
Course Sequencing and Placement
Students who wish to continue study in a language begun in secondary school are placed in language courses according to previous language coursework. Students who have successfully completed three years of language study in high school (9-12) in the same foreign language may not be placed into the College 111 level in that language. Students wishing to continue study in this same language will be placed at the 112 level, or they may choose to begin another foreign language at the 111 level. Students who have successfully completed four years of language study in high school (9-12) will be placed at the 211 level or higher, as will heritage and native speakers, as determined by the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures.
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. Students may also apply to be placed at a more advanced level.
Course numbering recognizes the importance of sequencing. The initial sequence (111, 112, 211, 212) must be taken in order. LFRN/LSPN 212 and 230 must be successfully completed before a student enters 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 (AP) examinations, and International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations are available, and credit (not grades) is awarded by the College toward the degree and Core Requirements. Normally, credit will be awarded by the department for AP scores 4 and above in modern and classical languages, and for IB scores of 5 and above on the higher-level language examinations. Credit for foreign language courses may also be earned through the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Please see the department chair regarding the type of test to be taken and the rating needed to earn college credit.