Department Chair: Dr. Erika M. Sutherland
Professors: Birgel, Marx
Professor and Director of Language and Culture Commons: Iskold
Associate Professors: McEwan, Olid
Assistant Professors: Chatzidimitriou, Leisawitz, Trauger
Lecturers: Díaz-Dávalos, Moreno, Qualtere, Vitale
The department offers students the opportunity to acquire or advance communication skills in the Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Russian, and Spanish languages. Degree programs focusing on literatures, cultures, and societies through the medium of their own language are available in French and Francophone Studies and Spanish. A degree program in Russian is provided through the interdisciplinary Russian Studies program. Students can also earn a minor in Italian Studies, German Studies, as well as French and Francophone Studies, Russian or Spanish. All courses and programs contribute to the students’ general liberal education by giving it a broader and more international dimension. In addition, the department’s Language and Culture Commons provides a dynamic space for collaboration and creative work using digital learning materials and resources in support of these programs.
Language majors and minors are uniquely situated to take on the challenges and opportunities that globalization offers, as they are able to understand, appreciate, and critically analyze the perspectives of cultures other than their own. Senior capstone experiences in Languages, Literatures, and Cultures allow students to take their understanding of the literatures and cultures of one language and apply it in a broader multicultural and international context.
The department offers a variety of capstone programs and courses. Every spring, students in the language honor societies - Delta Phi Alpha (German), Dobro Slovo (Russian), and Phi Sigma Iota (French, Italian, and Spanish) - present independently produced projects based on specific issues in languages, literatures, and/or cultures. These presentations, done in English or bilingual format, are required of all senior members of the honor societies. The Spanish, Russian Studies, and French and Francophone Studies programs also offer a Capstone Seminar or independent project, required of all majors in a language.
Placement and Exemption
All students with prior studies in a language must take a language placement examination before enrolling for the first semester. The results of the examination will determine the appropriate language course assignment. Advanced students seeking exemption from the language requirement may take an exemption examination, normally given during orientation. Exemption may also be granted through an Advanced Placement (AP) examination, the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, or the SAT II test in the language.
Students from the United States who speak a language other than English in the home should take the placement test in that language if it is offered at Muhlenberg. If they speak a language other than those offered at Muhlenberg, the student may apply to the department chair for permission to use that language to satisfy the language requirement. Please note, however, that the testing of any language other than those offered through the Department is subject to the availability of qualified personnel to perform the testing and evaluate the student’s performance.
For international students for whom English is a second language, test results from the TOEFL, IELTS, or other exam demonstrating proficiency in English as a second language may be able to satisfy the language requirement with those test results.
Study Abroad Opportunities
The department strongly encourages students to participate in a study abroad experience. Qualified students desiring to spend a junior semester or year abroad may enroll in any of the approved programs through the Office of Global Education. For specific information, please see the section “Study Abroad Programs ”. For further details, students should consult with the chair of the department, as well as with the Office of Global Education. Applications for approval to study abroad must be filed with the Office of Global Education by December 1 of the sophomore year.
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