We all–students and faculty–still talk about “language programs” in a way that ignores the fact that these programs have a lot more to offer than introductory language courses. Take German Studies at ASC, for instance: already the first four semesters of language-learning include a wealth of cultural knowledge, from learning about different ways to greet and to introduce oneself to film analysis. At the upper levels, courses such as “Contemporary German Life and Culture,” “Afro-German Culture and History,” and “German Cinema” demonstrate that learning a language is inseparable from learning about other cultures. Even more, the time invested in learning another language only pays off when it leads to the kind of intellectual engagement and growth that helps students to engage with and to discuss the other culture at a level that makes her globally competitive.
Unfortunately, the general curriculum is not really designed to support that, which is why I’m hoping to get some ideas for a curricular remodeling from the Cultures and Lamguages Across the Curriculum-Conference in Minneapolis.
Check back for updates as the conference happens.