The Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures sets goals that reflect the commonalties as well as the divergences between the different language sections. The goals of the department are consonant with its own mission statement, and can be identified within the College mission statement, since the department plays a vital role in the fulfillment of the college's mission of education.
- Providing students with an understanding that the language of a people is an important component of its culture.
- Developing an understanding that the concept of culture embraces all aspects of the life of a people, including their arts, literature, history, and the linguistic, societal, and political processes of that people.
- Providing students with programs that guide them toward achieving proficiency in listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing.
- Providing students with programs that insure that graduates will be well prepared whatever their career decision may be.
Non-major and non-minors
- Students will acquire an awareness of and sensitivity to the target culture.
- Students will achieve at least a minimum level of proficiency that will enable them to perform linguistic tasks in the target language.
Majors and minors
- Students will achieve a level of cultural understanding that will enable them to interact appropriately in terms of cultural norms.
- Students will interact in the target language through listening, speaking, reading, and writing at a level that involves situations and issues of a more complex nature.
The meeting of goals and measuring of outcomes
We address these goals in our syllabi, through our daily classroom activities and assignments, and by making available to students a variety of extracurricular activities that are designed to enhance the classroom experience. In addition, all programs in the department advocate a period of residence and study in the country of the target language.
- Beginning level language courses
The goal is that students acquire basic reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in the target language.
- Intermediate level courses
A higher level of linguistic and cultural competency is expected at this level. At the end of their intermediate level courses students will be able to write short essays in the target language, and contextualize language in a more complex manner. They will also read and discuss short literary, and/or other appropriate texts in the target language.
- Advanced level composition, and composition and conversation courses
Students will develop a higher linguistic and oral competence in the target language. They write essays in which they formulate and defend succinct arguments in the target language. They read literary and other texts and understand audiovisual materials in the target language. Their understanding of cultural issues should be such to allow them to maintain a conversation on sophisticated topics.
- Advanced courses for majors and minors
The students' linguistic, literary and cultural competency in the target language will allow them to interact more fluently with native speakers. They will also be able to analyze well a literary text, and have a basic knowledge of the historical and cultural context of the author and his/her work. Basic literary methods and linguistic theories are used in analyzing literary texts.
The outcomes of these goals are measured on an on-going basis through daily classroom interaction and specific assignments, unit tests, and comprehensive semester exams of an oral and written nature. In the case of the three literature and language programs outcomes are further monitored by an exit comprehensive exam. Certain programs also measure the outcomes by a diagnostic exam that is administered in the fifth and seventh semesters, respectively. The two area studies programs measure their outcomes with the production and presentation of a major scholarly paper, written in the senior year under the guidance of one of the participating faculty members.
The outcomes inform us as to what extent we are meeting our program goals. The impact of our contributions to various committees will determine how well the department is meeting the goal for itself.