The Department of World Languages and Cultures is dedicated to helping students discover the world through the study of language, literature, and culture. Our goal is to provide students with the means to explore their own worldview and challenge their capacity to identify with people of differing backgrounds. We endeavor to motivate in students an appreciation and understanding of the world’s people so that they may leave Medgar Evers College with the ability and the desire to communicate and empathize with others.
The Department of World Languages and Cultures emphasizes the variety and integrity of our programs, the skill and competence of our graduates, and the importance of our efforts within the vocational and career-oriented mission of our college. To this end, our courses: help students discover their capacity as language learners; provide students with the appropriate language skills to enable them to communicate effectively and function in their chosen profession; enable students to acquire and incorporate knowledge of the tools and organizational proficiency needed for language and cultural studies; inspire students to think critically in the humanistic tradition about texts and language; instill in our students the positive nature of cultural differences.
This includes mutual respect and concern for one another, openness to questions and risk taking, and a focus on excellence and engagement in active learning. Our faculty is responsible for facilitating learning and guiding students toward the accomplishment of established educational outcomes. With a diverse and international student body, and the teaching experience of our full-time and part-time faculty, our courses are especially well-suited to complement not only other disciplines in the School of Liberal Arts and Education, but also those taught in the School of Business and the School of Science, Health and Technology. In our role as scholars and teachers of language and literature, we deal constantly with issues of identity and diversity. Therefore, our department is particularly well adapted to the College priorities of developing cross-cultural communication, internationalization and entrepreneurship among our students.
In keeping with the basic philosophy of Medgar Evers College and of the Department of World Languages and Cultures, the fundamental objectives of the Department are: to develop fluency in the written and spoken language, to familiarize students with a culture, language and literature other than their own; to provide language students with the skills and knowledge necessary for effective communication in the foreign language; and to provide adequate training for those who plan to continue their language study and for those who plan to enter one of the many professional fields that require a mastery of a foreign language. All courses are given in the target language unless otherwise specified. The language laboratory is an essential part of all languages classes.
One Student at a Time: Creating Success
Whether it be contact with a foreign language other than one's own, the refinement and development of one's own native tongue, or the experience of another culture through literary texts or sociopolitical documents, modern languages and their cultural and literary components are an essential part of success in contemporary society. Success is measured not only in the ability to speak, read and write the language of another culture, but also in the intellectual development of the individual as a whole.
The Department of World Languages and Cultures prepares students for success on several levels. First and foremost, the study of foreign languages and literature is the foundation for critical thinking and communication. For the non-native student, our language courses develop the essential skills necessary to communicate in the target language and to gain access to another culture. For our Hispanic students who possess mainly an oral command of their language, we offer Spanish courses for heritage speakers, especially designed to improve their abilities in writing and speaking; as well French courses specially oriented towards writing and the introduction of Francophone culture and literature in West Africa and the Caribbean are also available for students who already master French at an intermediate conversation level.
Finally, by studying and learning another language and culture, students learn by comparison with their own native language, its structures and syntax. It has been proven that second-language acquisition improves the student's communication skills in his/her own language. Our courses introduce students to the diversity of thought and experience teaching them how to gain perspective and judgment about their own culture.