Degree Essentials

Spanish

Faculty

Professor Xinda Lian, Chair

Professor Susan Paun de García; Associate Professors Dosinda Alvite, Mónica Ayala-Martínez; Assistant Professors Jason Busic, Francisco J. López-Martín, Charles St-Georges; Visiting Instructors/Assistant Professors Jose Manuel Canibano, Iliana Rosales-Figueroa, Arturo Matute Castro, Silvia Roig Martinez, Beth Tatko; Academic Administrative Assistant Liz Barringer-Smith

Departmental Guidelines and Goals

Educated people spend their lives trying to grow in political, social and intellectual freedom. One kind of intellectual freedom requires us to break away from the notion that our native language is the most natural and apt means of expressing the full range of human experience. An education can start with the discovery that all words are purely conventional devices. They are nonetheless tools that stir emotions, articulate ideas, and establish relationships with others. Learning a foreign language contributes to our education by providing an intimate exercise in cultural and linguistic concepts that open up new vistas on what it can mean to be human. Also, foreign-language courses allow entry into the subjectivity of the target language on its own cultural and linguistic grounds, allowing a different and more profound redefinition of our own culture.

Our basic courses offer the opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge to master a foreign language. Students take full advantage of that opportunity, so they can use the target language in subsequent courses dealing with the foreign culture. The Department emphasizes the use of a foreign language in most of its courses so that students can best appreciate a foreign culture from within its own mode of expression.

With a view toward career opportunities, the Department encourages integrating foreign language study with a variety of other academic areas, such as history, philosophy, international studies, environmental studies, biology, economics, political science, and English. Courses in cultural studies and literature, aside from their intrinsic worth, also present multiple perspectives on other cultures and areas of intellectual experience.

A student wishing to spend a summer, a semester, or a year abroad with programs approved by Denison should consult members of the Department and the Office of Off-Campus Studies (see Off-Campus Programs). On-campus opportunities to improve their command of the language are provided by the Language and Culture Program, language tables, foreign films, club meetings, and similar activities sponsored by the Department. There are as well subsidized field trips to museums and pertinent activities in cities across the country, and in some cases foreign countries.

Spanish Program Mission Our mission is to enrich students' views on life by learning the Spanish language and studying about Hispanic cultures and their canons in an intellectually challenging environment. By closely working with professors in class and individually, students learn about the diversity of target Hispanic cultures and engage critically in a variety of intellectual, academic, social and emotional approaches to life. Students' regular practice in the second language and constant exploration of Hispanic cultures broadens their horizons and prepares them to become global citizens.

Spanish Program Vision Our students become co-learners with each other and us, and competent in intercultural communication and the study of cultural discourses. They engage with a wide range of texts and develop analytic and evaluative skills to be active participants in a rapidly changing world. They connect with the world outside in multiple and significant ways: study abroad, student conferences, guest speakers, extracurricular activities, community outreach. Our program is a rigorous, intellectually stimulating, and fulfilling endeavor, responding to an ever-changing world. It integrates culture, language, and literature through and across multiple perspectives and methodologies. It also forges ties with many other departments throughout the university so that our discipline can facilitate research and the construction of knowledge across the curriculum

Goals for the Major In our courses in the major students cultivate functional language abilities and develop knowledge of the cultures and literatures of Spanish-speaking peoples. They do so through historical breadth and depth of inquiry, covering different Hispanic regions and exploring a variety of interdisciplinary approaches. Students will develop critical language awareness, interpretation and translation, historical and political consciousness, social sensibility, and aesthetic perception. At the linguistic level the Spanish program subscribes to the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century articulated by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

  • Communication

    • Interpersonal

      • Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.

    • Interpretive

      • Students understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics from diverse media.

    • Presentational

      • Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.

    Cultures

    • Practices and perspectives

      • Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the culture studied.

    • Products and Perspectives

      • Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the products and perspectives of the culture studied.

    Connections

    • Students reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the foreign language.

    • Students acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the foreign language and its cultures.

    Comparisons

    • Students demonstrate understanding of the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied and their own.

    • Students demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own, including the relationship between accepted practices, products and perspectives.

    Communities

    • Students use the language both within and beyond the school setting.

    • Students show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using the language for personal enjoyment and enrichment.

Spanish Major

Students majoring in Spanish must take a minimum of 9 courses above 213. Required courses are: Spanish 215, 220, 230. In addition, students must take 3 elective courses at the 300 level and 3 elective courses at the 400 level. All students who wish to engage in Senior Research projects are expected to submit a petition to the department during their junior year (before a study abroad experience is undertaken). All students who declare a Spanish major need to get an advisor in the program to guide them through their educational career.

Spanish Minor

The minor in Spanish consists of at least five courses above the 213 level, including three required courses at the 200 level and two electives at the 300 or 400 level. The following courses are required: 215, 220 and 230.

Additional Points of Interest

The Language Lab An important asset of the department is the Language Lab with its 27 Macs, zone-free DVD player, multi-standard VCR and document camera. The Lab provides support for learning activities outside and inside the classroom, ranging from grammar drills to research and collaborative writing projects, as well as discussions on authentic materials published on the Internet. The area is designed not only for individualized instruction but also for group work and small seminars that use a variety of digital materials for class discussion.

Cultural Enrichment Each semester the Department offers students exceptional opportunities for cultural enrichment in foreign languages. These opportunities include, for example, off-campus trips to target-culture plays, movies and performances, as well as campus visits by native scholars and performers. In that way, experiences in target cultures become more readily available to our students. These opportunities are made possible through a most generous endowment bestowed on the Department of Modern Languages by the Patty Foresman Fund.

The Foresman Lounge Located in the central hub of the department, it provides the Denison community with a space for a wide range of activities such as receptions, classes, and informal gatherings. This area has a small kitchenette with a table and chairs for sharing lunch or a coffee with our faculty. It is also equipped with a wide range of technological devices with which to enrich our students' learning experiences. This room has a 52-inch flat screen TV that is connected to a satellite dish, which provides us with SCOLA television services from around the world. The TV is also connected to a multi-standard VCR, a zone-free DVD player and a document camera. The lounge has a ceiling-mounted data projector, which connects to a networked Mac computer, the DVD player, VCR and document camera.

General Departmental Regulations Students planning to major in the Department are advised to begin course work in the first year. Those wishing to fulfill the basic requirement in language by continuing the one begun in secondary school will find it advantageous to begin their course work in the first year. The Department of Modern Languages strongly recommends that students complete their language requirement by the end of their sophomore year.

The Language and Culture Program This exciting residential option gives students the opportunity to hone their language skills and to participate in special cultural events. Students who choose this residential option will live in a small community of their peers who share their enthusiasm for foreign languages and cultures. Special extracurricular activities and programming in the Language House support language acquisition and permit a closer relationship with professors and language assistants from the Department of Modern Languages.

Study Abroad Spanish major and minor students are highly encouraged to study in a Spanish-speaking country through an approved academic program. Courses muse be pre-approved by the Spanish coordinator in order to be considered for Spanish credit BEFORE going abroad. The Spanish section will not evaluate a study-abroad course for transfer without evidence (syllabus, course description, reading list, etc.) of the content of the course. To receive Spanish language credit, study abroad courses must be pursued in Spanish, be content based and be similar in quality and contents to a Spanish course at Denison. Students are encouraged to take courses that enrich the curriculum at Denison. Neither technical courses nor orientation sessions can receive academic credit. Summer programs: Students may study in a pre-approved summer program that is at least 6 weeks long and 45 hours minimum. One course will transfer towards a major/minor from summer study.