The Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics
Large, diverse, and productive, the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics consists of 21 tenured or tenure-track professors, 4 visiting faculty, 56 instructors, 5 language coordinators, 30 graduate students, and 4 staff members. In the last three years members of our research faculty have published 13 books, 8 edited collections, and dozens of articles and book chapters.
We teach 21 languages, offer 9 majors and 3 Masters Degrees in French, Linguistics, and Spanish. Our majors are interdisciplinary and many of our courses are cross-listed with other departments and colleges. Nearly 6,000 students take classes in our department each year.
The purposes of our department are parallel and multiple: to promote the knowledge of languages, to study and facilitate the study of literary and other cultural texts, to study and facilitate the study of language on a theoretical level, and in all its endeavors to promote critical thinking. To these ends, the Department is committed to excellent and innovative scholarship and teaching and to the promotion of diversity and trans-cultural understanding within the department and the university.
As the largest department in the College of Arts & Sciences, we are committed to the national goal of universal bilinguism as put forth by the Modern Language Association. As Russell Berman, President of the MLA, puts it in the Summer 2011 MLA NEWSLETTER, "Languages mean career skills for the workforce, but they also contribute to each person’s cognitive growth. Without sufficient language learning, American students will suffer from diminished educational opportunities, and we sabotage their prospects in the global economy. Building first- and second-language literacy has become a matter of national urgency." In today's globalized world, we boldly take on the charge of preparing S.U. students to be true leaders in their chosen fields by giving them the skills they can acquire only through studying language and literature. As Berman further states, "Because second language acquisition builds first-language ability, the current dearth of language-learning opportunities helps explain the poor English literacy results for US students. Students who have studied a second language use their first language better. We language and literature scholars are well positioned to articulate a comprehensive language agenda that encompasses both “foreign” languages and English and includes a national goal of improved first- and second-language literacy for all students. Broad-based literacy is the democratic form of the humanities."