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2017-2018 Department Update

August 22nd, 2018

Student News

We are proud of the accomplishments of our students. Thanks to donor-funded scholarships, more LLC students are able to immerse themselves in the cultures they love, travel to present at conferences, and simply better afford to pay for their studies.

This year and last, LLC students presented their work at the Multicultural Undergraduate Research Art and Leadership Symposium and the Graduate Research Showcase. They received nationally competitive scholarships including the Fulbright, Marshall, Truman and the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarships.

Master’s student, Ernesto Juárez-Rechy, received the Gloria Leyva Dubin Travel Award, to attend the 21st Spanish Graduate Literature Conference “Visual and Artistic Manifestations in Cultural and Literary Studies” at Arizona State University in spring 2018, where he presented the paper “Doña Berta y el arte como espejo de idealidad y de culpa” [Doña Berta and Art as a Mirror of Idealism and Guilt]. In this paper, he analyzed a text by 19th century Spanish author Leopoldo Alas “Clarín” through the lens of Freudian psychoanalysis.

This summer, Mako Beecken brought students to Kagawa University in Japan, and Jonathan Carlyon and Antonio Pedrós-Gascón led a program for studying Spanish language and culture while walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route.

Faculty News

  • A College of Liberal Arts faculty-led study abroad program at CSU’s Todos Santos Center in Baja Mexico will happen in Fall 2019.
  • CSU is the academic partner for Semester at Sea, and in over a three-year period, seven LLC faculty are serving as professors or administrators, helping to internationalize our teaching as well as to bring a heightened awareness of world languages to the 500-600 students from various institutions who sail each semester.

Faculty Hires

  • LLC’s 48 faculty members hail from 5 continents and more than 20 countries.
  • We have several new faculty hires:
    • Silvia Soler Gallego (2015), Assistant Professor of Spanish, Ph.D. from the University of Cordoba, Spain, with a specialization in translation and interpretation. Her research interests include museum audio description.
    • Peter Erickson (2016), Assistant Professor of German, Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. His research focuses on the intersection of literature, art, and religion in the 18th and 19th centuries.
    • Jun Xu (2017), Assistant Professor of Chinese and Japanese, Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. He has research interests in second language acquisition and Japanese pedagogy.
    • For Fall 2018 we will welcome new special assistant professors Carmen Martin (Spanish) and Nyssa Knarvik (Spanish), and instructors Olatz Pascariu (Spanish), Esther Brenowitz (ASL), Chisato Steele (Japanese), and Ahlam Alhudithi (Arabic). Last year we were joined by Nick Barnard (ASL) and Nancy Robinson (Chinese culture).

In Fall 2018 we will search for a tenure-track specialist in Spanish with a focus on Mexico or Central America.

Faculty Research

  • Four LLC colleagues contributed to a 2016-18 grant project funded by the U.S. Department of Education Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Languages program: Maura Velázquez-Castillo and Shannon Zeller developed a curriculum for Spanish for Animal Health & Care that is the first of its kind. They will be teaching online courses for the new undergraduate certificate in this area, and have presented and published on their research.
  • Andrea Purdy developed an innovative course on Working with Spanish-Speaking Youth and Families which will be popular with students in majors such as Human Development and Family Studies and Social Work.
  • Frédérique Grim continued her work in Culture and Languages Across the Curriulum (CLAC).
  • Thanks to Mako Beecken’s efforts, LLC received a Japan Foundation grant and signed a memorandum of understanding with Kagawa University.

Faculty Engagement

In addition to mentoring student leaders and organizing annual events, LLC faculty are also engaged in outreach and engagement with local communities:

  • translating and interpreting for Fuerza Latina organization for immigrants’ rights
  • providing accessibility to visually and audially impaired people through translation
  • guiding LLC students to team-teach in local schools and present world languages storytimes for children at the local libraries.
  • symposia on “Environment and Conflict in Latin America,” (2018, Sophie Esch and Fernando Valerio)
  • To bring together K-12 teachers with faculty, the Bimson Humanities Seminar this year was “Challenging Student Perceptions of the Middle East and North Africa” (co-led by Mary Vogl, Gamze Çavdar in Political Science, and Andrea Duffy in International Studies).

Program News

Thanks to our stellar colleagues, the American Sign Language program is rising to new heights. There are now four faculty members and we offer second- and third-year course sequences, plus a new ASL Interdisciplinary Minor is going through the curricular process, to start soon, initiated by Dede Kliewer and Deanne Seitz.

We now offer a master’s level certificate in Spanish linguistics and literary studies and Professor Soler will be developing a master’s level certificate in translation.

In the Office

Last September, Carol Hughes, LLC administrative assistant, retired after 19 years in the department. Marne Lundstrom, who now serves in that role, will soon celebrate her year’s anniversary with us.

Assistant for HR and Finance, Kaity Lewis, started in December 2016 and welcomed baby Oliver Dean on July 31, 2018.