Dean: Peter A. Dorsey
Professors: Marco D. Roman (Chair), Susann Samples
Associate Professors: Christine L. Blackshaw, Diana M. Rodríguez-Lozano, Michael G. Sollenberger
Assistant Professor: Elaini G. Tsoukatos
Lecturer: Roxanne S. Stefanik
The ability to communicate in a foreign language and to demonstrate a substantial understanding of a foreign culture and its literature has ever been the mark of an educated person and is at the heart of higher education. Therefore, the Department of World Languages & Cultures has as its mission the development of linguistic, cultural, and literary proficiencies which help students gain an appreciation of social pluralism and cultural diversity. Our programs provide students with the means to participate directly in foreign cultures and to compare and contrast them with insight and sensitivity. More specifically, the department’s core offerings and major course programs in French, German, and Spanish provide students with access to bodies of knowledge which are unavailable to monolingual individuals thereby positioning them for the increasingly global world in which we live. Consequently, the department fulfills the university’s liberal arts mission to educate by providing students with the necessary communicative skills that enable them as globally educated citizens “to understand and to challenge or embrace the cultural forces operating on them” while at the same time “compassionately engaging with the world.”
The goals of the department’s programs are at once practical and cultural. In learning to communicate, students develop the skills to understand and interpret both written and spoken language. Moreover, they learn to write and speak in the foreign language about historical, literary, and cultural topics of interest to the native-speakers of the foreign language as well as the student. These practical skills permit students to work at jobs in non-English-speaking countries and to work with people in this country who do not speak English. Students improve their creative and analytic skills; they strengthen their memory; they increase their ability to speak and write in their native language; and they generally cultivate their intellects, making them more apt for the apprehension of truth, the overall goal of a college education.
At the same time students come to understand through their study how foreign languages are inextricably connected to particular civilizations and societies. They learn that communicating in a foreign language means becoming literate in another culture rather than merely learning to decipher a code. Achieving these goals enables students to gain an awareness of and sensitivity to ways of thought and expression not native to them. They become aware of how foreign language is linked to every aspect of culture. They come to understand the social structure, politics, psychology, literature, history, world view, art and religion of other societies. They learn how to live happily as residents of foreign societies and to appreciate foreign travel. As students come to understand cultures that express themselves in other languages, they attain a more complete and accurate understanding of our own society’s religion, art, history and literature, and of its strengths.
As an important complement to its campus programs, the department encourages its students to study abroad. To facilitate such educational experiences, the department regularly offers summer study abroad programs in San José, Costa Rica; Tours, France; and Seville or Madrid, Spain. In each of these programs, study-abroad participants live with host families, attend courses at well-established language institutes, and may take courses offered by a Mount foreign language professor. Such arrangements provide students with the atmosphere that is needed to practice their foreign language skills, gain valuable cultural insights, and make lasting personal relationships.
In addition, Mount St. Mary’s sponsors a series of semester-long foreign study. These programs organized through the Mount’s affiliation with the American Institute for Foreign Study or in conjunction with foreign university partners and led by Mount St. Mary’s University faculty focus on providing students with an interdisciplinary understanding of the country visited. The Florence and Ecuador programs, in particular, provide students of Italian or Spanish with the opportunity to develop their language skills begun at the Mount.
Finally, the department offers students the opportunity to add to their cultural understanding through department-sponsored culture/service trips to Costa Rica, Perú, Martinique and Mexico. While learning what it means to compassionately engage with the world, foreign language students gain valuable practice in their language in a real-life environment.
Credit for Prior Learning in Prior Learning in Foreign Language
- Students who place at the intermediate (201) or advanced (300/400) level of language study on entering Mount St. Mary’s may receive credit for their prior learning.
- Students may receive credits for prior learning for each language in which they place at the intermediate or advanced level. Students must take these courses within 48 credits of attempted Mount credit. Such credit will be awarded as follows:
- A student who places at the intermediate level and who earns a C or better in a 200-level foreign language course taken at Mount St. Mary’s will receive six credits (three for the course and three for prior learning).
- A student who places at the advanced level and who earns a C or better in a 300- or 400-level foreign language course taken at Mount St. Mary’s will receive nine credits (three for the course and six for prior learning).
- Students may receive such credit only if they place at the intermediate level or above at matriculation, and they may receive such credit only once for each language-following the first intermediate or the first advanced foreign language course taken at Mount St. Mary’s. Students who withdraw from their first intermediate or first advanced course in a particular language forfeit the possibility in the future of earning credits for prior learning in that language.
- Students may not receive credit for prior learning if they have received foreign language credit via a course not taken at Mount St. Mary’s. Students receiving credit for prior foreign language learning will not be assessed an additional tuition charge.
- Prior Learning credits may be counted toward both the major and minor in that language.
English as a Second Language
Mount St. Mary’s requires that students whose native language is other than English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and score no less than 550 on the exam in order to be admitted to the university. Students who need help in English after enrolling at Mount St. Mary’s should meet with the Director of Learning Services.
The Department of World Languages & Cultures plays a primary role in both the major and minor in international studies, each of which has an advanced foreign language requirement. (These programs are described in detail elsewhere in this catalog-see College of Liberal Arts ) Students majoring in international studies find a major or minor in a foreign language to be a natural complement to their chosen area of study.
Secondary Teacher Certification
The department offers Secondary Teacher Certification programs in French, German, and Spanish in conjunction with the department of education. Students in this program complete the requirements for a major in their chosen language and a set of designated education courses. This program follows the recommendations and requirements of the Maryland State Department of Education.