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College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Modern & Classical Languages

Have Questions about Language Placement?

View the following document for guidance: MCL Language Placement Guidelines Contact your language advisor or professor for additional assistance. 

Major & Minor Declarations - New Process!

Students, if you would like to declare a new major or minor, please use the following e-form and submit to your language advisormajor declaration form / minor declaration form

Latin American Studies

New Program in Latin American Studies Debuts at WWU! Meet with Program Director Luis Portugal to learn more about this program.

Faculty Spotlights

Congratulations to MCL Chair and German Associate Professor Shannon Dubenion-Smith on receiving the Goethe-Institut/AATG Certificate of Merit! This award honors those who have demonstrated achievement in furthering the teaching of German in the U.S. by being outstanding teachers, making significant contributions to the profession, and demonstrating successful interdisciplinary cooperation. Read the full story in Western Today

Dr. Joan Hoffman, professor of Spanish, published a new article: "'Una señorita de Figueras' with a 'temple verdaderamente varonil': Ángel Guerra  and the Tortured Marketing of Víctor Català." Espacios de encuentro e identidad: Actas del XXXV Congreso Internacional de ALDEEU (Spanish Professionals in America) [Selected Proceedings], 2019, pp. 241-55.

Photo of Dr. Hoffman

Dr. Christina Keppie, professor of French and linguistics, has been named director of the Canadian-American Studies program at Western Washington University. Read about it HERE.

Christina Keppie, photo by Hannah Wong

Dr. Sandra Alfers, professor of German in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and director of the Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity has been named a recipient of the 2018 Rep. Timm Ormbsy Award for Faculty Citizenship. Read about it HERE

Photo of Dr. Sandra Alfers

In Memoriam

In October 2020, we lost a dear former colleague, Professor Emeritus Shaw Gynan. Prof. Gynan taught Spanish, linguistics, and world language pedagogy courses during his 32-year tenure at Western. We are deeply saddened by his passing and will remember him fondly for his intelligence, wit, and his convivial and generous spirit. You can read Prof. Gynan's obituary and share memories here

In the photo above, Dr. Gynan poses with Dr. Ernesto Luis Lopez Almada of the Universidad Nacional de Itapua and the Universidad Catolica de Encarnacion after a talk they gave at Western in January 2019. 

Gift in Prof. Gynan's honor may be made to the Shaw Gynan Memorial Scholarship.  

 

Holocaust survivor Noémi Ban, community educator and outspoken fixture on Western’s campus for years, dies at age 96. Read more about Noémi's life and enduring message here >

Noémi Ban, a survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp who became an outspoken advocate and educator on the horrors of the Holocaust and the enduring power of love and tolerance, died on Friday, June 7 at the age of 96.

Interlingua 2019 

Take a look at MCL's latest newsletter featuring faculty, students and alumni.

Photo of cover of MCL newsletter

 

Modern and Classical Languages Mission Statement

In fulfillment of Western Washington University’s stated goals, the Department of Modern and Classical Languages enables students to engage firsthand with world societies. The members of the department believe that cultural knowledge and language proficiency are inextricably linked. We embrace diverse perspectives and inclusivity. We foster a collaborative environment that facilitates individual, social, cultural, creative, and scientific exploration.

The department offers students the opportunity to build linguistic and cultural competencies that support successful communication; develop respect and responsibility for local and global communities; and appreciate the literature, history, and other aesthetic expressions of a given culture. Ultimately, students graduate from the department well poised to succeed in the workplace, support global citizenship, and explore innovative solutions for world challenges.


The Department of Modern and Classical Languages is a meeting place for diversity and for critical thinking. Our faculty members represent fifteen countries and offer courses in eleven languages. We cherish the contributions that this diversity brings to our campus community and to the community at large. Learning a language is the primary gateway to understanding the cultures and values of those who speak it. Learning a language fosters empathy, respect, and appreciation of the richness found across diverse cultures. By embracing diversity we can find creative solutions to problems and challenges of both local and global scope. As world language educators, we believe these are values that make our communities, and ourselves, stronger.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/learning-foreign-language-revealed-world-never-knew-existed