College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Modern & Classical Languages

Language Placement & Fall Quarter Registration

View the following document for guidance: MCL Language Placement Guidelines and Summer Advising Contact your language advisor for additional assistance. 

Preparing for Graduation

If you are nearing graduation, please remember to contact your language advisor to request a major/minor evaluation. A signed copy of the evaluation with be returned to you for your submission with your application for graduation

Major & Minor Declarations Process

To declare a new major or minor, please use the following e-form and submit to your language advisormajor declaration form / minor declaration form

Faculty Spotlights

Congratulations to Kirsten Drickey, Senior Instructor of Spanish, for receiving the 2021 Ronald Kleinknecht Excellence in Teaching Award! This award is presented annually to one faculty member from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences who has made outstanding contributions to teaching at WWU. The award was established by Ronald A. Kleinknecht, the founding dean of CHSS. 

Professor Hugo García published the essay "Cuba and/or the night" in Hypermedia Magazine. The essay was selected to be part of the dossier entitled "#SOS Cuba" that Hypermedia Magazine created from a selection of approaches of different Cuban intellectuals and artists who explain the latest events in Cuba from different perspectives.  

He also published a book chapter titled "From Havana Back to the Source: The Decaying City as a Character in the Films of the Cuban Revolution." (pp. 216-238) in the book War, Revolution, and Remembrance in World Cinema. Critical Essays, edited by Prof. Nancy Membrez (Univ. of Texas, San Antonio).

Pictures of Professor Garcia and book "War, Revolution and Remembrance in World Cinema."


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.


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.