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Skidmore College
World Languages and Literatures
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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

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;
  • Interact with cultural competence and understanding;
  • Connect with other disciplines and acquire information and perspectives in order to use the language in academic and professional settings;
  • Develop insight into the nature of language and culture in order to act with cultural competence;
  • Communicate and interact with cultural competence in order to participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world.
  • Recognize and examine the current and historical social, political, artistic, and/or economic lives of marginalized people across the world and the United States.