Department of Languages and Literature

The Major and Minor in Spanish

Mission, ArgentinaThe Department's programs in Spanish are guided by a simple but important philosophy: the world will have fewer boundaries for those who possess the ability to communicate in another language and show sensitivity toward and understanding of other cultures. We currently offer a major and a strong minor in Spanish, with an array of courses that stimulate students' intellectual and personal growth and broaden their perspective, thus enabling them to become responsible citizens and leaders in the world community. In addition to developing and polishing their language skills in our programs, students can combine a major or minor in Spanish with degree programs in another discipline such as global studies, social sciences, international business and economics, education, pre-law, health sciences, or social work.

Our faculty subscribes to the proficiency guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and uses them as a basis for instruction. Courses in Spanish are designed to enable students to achieve the following goals:

  • Initiate and progressively develop skills in listening comprehension, speaking, reading, writing, and cultural understanding;
  • Recognize the close relationship between language and culture, enabling them to become culturally sensitive to non-English speaking peoples and societies; and
  • Broaden their career opportunities and marketability in an increasingly globalized and interdependent world

All Spanish majors and minors are strongly encouraged to spend at least a summer, and preferably a semester, abroad in a country whose language the student has been learning. This experience affords students the opportunity to observe, firsthand, the culture s/he has been studying, as well as gain intensive real-life language exposure and practice that simply cannot be replicated in the classroom. Students also have access to a variety of internship and university study programs through Benedictine and other accredited institutions.

Major Objectives and Requirements

The program for majors in Spanish is designed to:

  • Enable students to develop at least intermediate-high level proficiency in all four skills, as stated in the guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). At this level students will be able to:
      • create with the language;
      • handle successfully most uncomplicated communicative tasks and social situations;
      • initiate, sustain, and close a general conversation with a number of strategies appropriate to a range of circumstances and topics, although errors will still be evident;
      • ask and answer questions;
      • demonstrate emerging evidence of connected discourse, particularly for simple narration and/or description; and
      • be generally understood even by interlocutors not accustomed to dealing with intermediate-high level speakers;

 

  • Immerse students in the culture of a Spanish-speaking country through a study abroad experience; and
  • Familiarize students with Spanish and Latin American culture, literature, art, and current political issues and their international ramifications.


Coursework for the major

A Spanish major must complete at least 36 hours from among Spanish courses numbered 201 or above, all with a grade of "C" or better. The 36 hours must include all of the following courses or equivalents that have been approved by the department:

201(3), 202(3), 211(3), 212(3), 230(3), 231(3), 305(3), 311(3) and 312(3). In addition, students must complete a 9 hour literature requirement consisting of one of the following four options: 1) C220(3), C221(3) and either C307(3) or C310(3); or, for those students entering the program after Fall 2011, 2) C220(3) and C310(3) and a 291/391 topics course in Spanish, >3) C221(3) and C307(3) and a 291/391 topics course in Spanish, or 4) C307(3) and C310 (3) and a 291/391 topics course in Spanish.


Additional major requirements

Reading outdoorsSpanish majors are required to participate in a study abroad experience in a Spanish-speaking country in order to graduate. This requirement may be fulfilled by participating in the Department's summer study abroad program in Spain, though students are also strongly encouraged to participate in longer study abroad experiences that last at least a semester. Students should make an appointment with the University's Office of International Programs and Services to begin discussing the study abroad opportunities available. In some extraordinary circumstances a waiver of this requirement may be requested from the Chair of the Department. (In place of studying abroad, the student may be required to participate in an internship and/or volunteer experience with an agency where Spanish is used extensively).

Majors must also demonstrate Intermediate-High level proficiency in spoken Spanish according to ACTFL guidelines. Students should arrange to take an oral proficiency exam during the semester prior to the semester in which they plan to graduate. This ACTFL oral proficiency exam is administered online for a modest fee. After taking the test, students receive a nationally-recognized certificate of their oral language ability from ACTFL.

For information on the ACTFL online test, contact Dr. Rafael Iglesias. The interview may be repeated for an additional fee until the required level of proficiency is demonstrated.

 

Minor Requirements

The program for minors in Spanish is designed to

  • Enable students to develop at least Intermediate-Mid level proficiency in all four skills, as stated in the ACTFL guidelines. At this level students will be able to:
      • create with the language;
      • handle successfully a variety of uncomplicated, basic and communicative tasks and social situations;
      • talk simply about self and family members;
      • ask and answer questions and participate in simple conversations on topics beyond the most immediate needs, such as personal history and leisure time activities; and
      • be generally understood by sympathetic interlocutors, although misunderstandings may still arise;
  • Expose students to the traditions, values and lifestyles of a culture different from their own.

 
A minor in Spanish consists of at least 21 hours of Spanish courses at or above the 200-level completed with a "C" or better. Students must complete all of the following courses or equivalents approved by the department: 

  • SPAN 201: Intermediate Spanish I
  • SPAN 202: Intermediate Spanish II
  • SPAN 211: Intermediate Grammar and Composition
  • SPAN 212: Intermediate Oral Communications
  • three more courses above the 212 level (9 credit hours), at least one of which (3 credit hours) is at the 300-level.

Minors must also demonstrate Intermediate-Mid level proficiency in spoken Spanish according to ACTFL guidelines. Students should arrange to take an oral proficiency exam during the semester prior to the semester in which they plan to graduate. This ACTFL oral proficiency exam is administered online for a modest fee. After taking the test, students receive a nationally-recognized certificate of their oral language ability from ACTFL.

For information on the ACTFL online test, contact Dr. Rafael Iglesias. The interview may be repeated for an additional fee until the required level of proficiency is demonstrated.

Teaching Certification

Students seeking certification to teach Spanish at the secondary level (grades 6-12) are to declare a Spanish major and an education minor. Advising is a joint responsibility of the Spanish and education programs. Students must complete all requirements for the Spanish major, the Secondary Education program, and the Teacher Education program (see Education).

Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.

– Rita Mae Brown