Letter from the Chair

Welcome to the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics!

As you navigate our website, you may be looking to pursue your interests in foreign languages and cultures, where I believe our department can meet your needs. Whether your goals and pursuits include linguistic and cultural enrichment, international business, federal and foreign service, non-governmental work, foreign language teaching, social professions where knowledge of languages makes a difference, or you are passionate about learning the languages and cultures of the world, the department of Modern Languages and Linguistics is committed to preparing you for success in a diverse and globalized world. In our different programs we offer specialized training in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, as well as in general and applied linguistics. At the same time, we open our students’ horizons with a vast array of multidisciplinary literature, culture, film, and theory courses while many faculty also facilitate close-up views on the cultural diversity of the world through faculty-led abroad and exchange programs. Committed to academic excellence in their teaching and scholarship, our faculty warmly invites you to learn and participate in their pursuits as they investigate the processes of language acquisition and put them into practice in our language classrooms, research writings and other forms of cultural expression (film, digital media, performances, oral and vernacular art) central to our collective experience as global citizens and the linguistic structures that form the basis of all communication. Our faculty advance a multiplicity of scholarly fields, such as literary and film criticism, cultural and anthropological studies, linguistics, and theory. In doing so, we remain committed to the core values that fuel and characterize our critical, interdisciplinary, multicultural, and multilingual inquiry, namely, to create a better, more diverse, and more inclusive world by fostering, promoting, and constantly pushing forward the understanding and appreciation of all sociocultural and ethnic traditions.

In our department you will find a welcoming and inclusive community that values and cultivates each member’s unique identity and considers diversity the true engine for genuine change and innovation.

Reinier Leushuis
Professor of French and Italian
Department Chair