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Skidmore College
World Languages and Literatures

Our Mission

The study of languages has become essential to the education of global citizens as the world grows more and more internationally connected, and as nations become increasingly diverse. The ability to communicate effectively with people from different parts of the world not only enhances our capacity to think outside the boundaries of our native culture, but it is also a practical skill that can be applied to any career path. 

The Department of World Languages and Literatures offers a comprehensive selection of courses in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish, as well as courses in the Self-­Instructional Language Program in Arabic, Hebrew, Korean, Portuguese, and Russian. The Department seeks to develop students’ ability to understand, speak, and write the languages of their choice, and to read with appreciation literary and cultural texts in those languages. By discussing written and visual texts, students enhance their linguistic ability and refine their understanding of cultural traditions and perspectives. Global citizenship goes beyond language proficiency, and, for that reason, the Department’s upper-­level courses are designed to deepen the students’ familiarity with the cultures associated with the languages they study.

The mission of the Department of World Languages and Literatures is to develop in our students a cultural appreciation and language competency that will enable them to engage confidently with other cultures and to participate fully as global citizens, with knowledge that is transferable to any field they might pursue.

Student Learning Goals

Below are the departmental learning goals mapped to College-wide goals for student learning.

Our Goals for Student Learning

The Department of World Languages and Literatures adheres to the world-readiness standards for language learning articulated by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Based on these standards, our students will develop the ability to:

  • Communicate effectively, in their language of choice, in multiple settings and for multiple purposes. (Ia,IIa (in another language),c, IIIc,d)
  • Interact with cultural competence and understanding. (Ib, IIc,d, IIIb,c)
  • Connect with other disciplines and acquire information and perspectives in order to use the language in academic and professional settings. (Ic, IIe, IIId, IVa,d)
  • Develop insight into the nature of language and culture in order to act with cultural competence. (Ic, IIIa,d, IVa,c)
  • Communicate and interact with cultural competence in order to participate in  multilingual communities at home and around the world. (II a,d, IIId)

Information literacy

  • Understand, describe, and apply the scholarly communication process in literary, film, and cultural studies. (Ia,IIb,IIIc)
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically for value, relevance, and accuracy. (IIa,e, IIIe)

Visual literacy

  • Critically analyze visual representations, identify inter-textual references and interpret rhetorical concepts used to persuade the viewer. (Ic, IIa IVb)
  • Articulate and rationalize decisions made about image selection, manipulation, and contextual position. (Ic, IIb, IVa)

Technological literacy

  • Work across digital environments to present information effectively to a given audience. (IVa,c, IIIc)
  • Use on-line dictionaries and translators effectively, critically, and ethically. (Ia, IIc,e, IIIa)
  • Critically analyze how technology, culture, and environment interact and influence one another in the target language. (Ib, IId, IIIb)

Effective Oral Communication

  • Present Information, concepts, and ideas to inform, explain, persuade, and narrate on a variety of topics. (IIa,c, IIIc, IVa)
  • Articulate informed opinions accurately and professionally. (Ib, IIa,c, IIIa)
  • Recognize cultural difference that can appear in oral exchange. (Ia, IIIa,b)