The curriculum of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures encompasses studies in language, literature, culture, literary theory, and linguistics to promote the intellectual growth of students. The MLL faculty helps students pursue the following interrelated goals in the context of a liberal arts education:
1. to acquire language proficiency and a critical understanding of the cultural heritage and literary traditions represented by the disciplines in our department;
2. to develop skills in the close-reading of literary and cultural texts in the target language, the ability to understand and assess critical approaches and theories, and the capability to apply these approaches and theories to textual analysis;
3. to foster/strengthen research skills and critical thinking in order to formulate ideas rigorously and to communicate them effectively, in speech and in writing;
4. to gain an interdisciplinary perspective through the analysis of connections between the disciplines of the Humanities, Fine Arts, and Social Sciences as they relate to our fields;
5. to expand their cultural awareness, inter-cultural sensitivity and global perspectives through the exploration of cultural values embedded in linguistic and other cultural codes;
6. to learn independently through diverse forms of cultural immersion, particularly study abroad, but also language tables, international housing, lectures, and related scholarly activities, thereby gaining a greater understanding of themselves and others.
1. Students will demonstrate, both in writing and orally, language proficiency in a particular language at the appropriate level.
2. Students will demonstrate their knowledge of particular cultural and literary traditions and integrate this knowledge into global perspectives.
3. Students will analyze and interpret literary texts and other cultural artifacts within a broad context and use their analytical skills and knowledge of theory to address interdisciplinary questions across the liberal arts curriculum.
4. Students will demonstrate an increasing ability to collaborate with others and will enhance their independent learning and personal maturation through different forms of cultural immersion.
1. The language proficiency exam and oral exchange (oral “defense”) component of the Senior Exercise provide direct results of students’ linguistic and analytic proficiency (goals 1 and 3). The initial Senior Exercise prospectus and annotated bibliography demonstrate the ability to conceptualize, analyze secondary materials, and plan an extensive independent project (goals 2, 3 and 4) and can be evaluated on its own or in relation to the final Exercise paper. Rubric-based assessment is used particularly for the written Exercise paper, in which students demonstrate analytical and argumentation skills, advanced research skills, knowledge of the field(s), and capacity to learn and produce sustained projects largely independently (goals, 2, 3, and 4).
2. CAPE testing in French, German, and Spanish administered at the end of semesters in classes as well as a placement exam, is a useful guide in assessing language proficiency (goal 1) especially in light of scores obtained at the start of the year. Although the CAPE test is not available in languages other than French, German, and Spanish, similar testing instruments are currently used in Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Italian as well. The STAMP (Standards-based Measure of Proficiency) tests now available in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish, are under consideration for future adoption.
3. Student performance throughout the KILM Workshops and subsequent training sessions (evaluated by the faculty and KILM Director) provides evidence of students’ increasing abilities to learn collaboratively as well as independently (goal 4), as well as models for increasing language proficiency at the primary and secondary levels (goal 1). Through KILM Director reports and faculty observation and meetings with ATs, we can measure how student teachers gain in language proficiency (goal 1), analytical skills with respect to pedagogy or reading texts with their AT classes (goal 3), in abilities to work independently (implement teaching plans, writing concise and useful AT reports for their professor) and collectively with their students (goal 4), and increased cultural and self awareness (goal 4). AT evaluations written by students in Intensive Introductory and Intermediate language courses provide indirect measures of AT performance and of students’ perceptions of their own learning, in addition to regular student evaluations of professorial instruction.
1. During each academic year, there are a number of meetings to evaluate what we have learned about student engagement in the KILM program, and methods of improving student performance through our training of ATs. Feedback from daily AT reports are used on a daily basis by each instructor for course articulation and planning.
2. At the end of each academic year, the department meets to discuss the data collected:
3. As one part of our commitment to international education and cultural immersion, we are currently investigating potential uses of the Study Abroad surveys collected over the past few years by the Center for Global Engagement so that we might more effectively assist students in choosing programs that would best suit their personal skill sets and achievements, not only for development of linguistic proficiency and cross-cultural knowledge but also for future career choice and personal growth after graduation.