Our Department's Mission and Goal
Our mission and goal is to serve the university and its students. We do so through coursework; through advisement; through intellectual activities which foster an understanding of, and the ability to use and operate within, languages and cultures from around the world. To that end, we offer coursework which facilitates our majors' and minors' graduation with a liberal arts degree in four years. We offer also coursework which serves the general student body for the liberal education program. To that end we offer language courses as available (for example, Chinese and Russian), and courses taught in English. Moreover, we make our courses available to other programs across the campus which require or recommend us to their own students.
More recently developed campus learning objectives also are supported within our department. Our majors are expected to "demonstrate competence in a major field," to "communicate effectively through writing, speaking, and group interactions," to "think critically and creatively," and to "apply understanding of cultural differences." We contribute as well to implicit and explicit goals of the University of Minnesota and UMD, in particular, those of internationalization and study abroad.
Generalists in our teaching, we specialize in different scholarly or creative areas which contribute to our teaching and our profession. While we are literature faculty for the most part, our incorporation of film and cultural studies relative to our language areas has resulted in a broadened content in our courses. Ultimately, we seek to enable our students to become bilingual and bicultural, and to see the world through the eyes of native speakers in the multitude of nations where our languages are spoken.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Students will demonstrate a proficiency level in speaking the target language, at a minimum, of Intermediate (as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). This means that students can, among other things, converse with ease and confidence in routine tasks and social situations, can exchange basic information, can narrate and describe in different time frames, can use connected discourse of paragraph length, can maintain some consistency in performance albeit with some breakdowns, and can be understood by native speakers unaccustomed to non-native speakers.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to pronounce the target language in an approximation of native-like speech.
- Students will understand the cultural practices products & perspectives of cultures using the target language.
- Students will make cultural connections across time and space.
- Students will demonstrate higher level critical reasoning / analytic skills in the target language.
- Students will demonstrate oral presentational skills in the target language.
- Students will demonstrate written presentational skills in the target language.
- Students will study abroad where the target language is spoken.