ABOR OKs new language school
January 26, 2007

NOW HEAR THIS: ASU President Michael Crow listens to questions Thursday during the Arizona Board of Regents meeting at the Memorial Union.

Inauguration for School of International Letters and Cultures set for fall 2007
by Gary Levison Eric Binns

The Department of Languages and Literatures got a face-lift Thursday.

The Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) approved turning the department into its own school, the School of International Letters and Cultures, at a meeting in the Memorial Union.

ABOR sets tuition, fees and programs for the instate universities.

Beth Glessner-Calkins, assistant director of academic advising for the Department of Languages and Literatures, said the language department's faculty is excited for the school's fall 2007 inauguration.

"There's so much great energy in becoming a new school," she said. "It gives us the opportunity to be more interdisciplinary."

The Department of Languages and Literatures currently offers degrees in Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish.

The new school will offer the same majors through five different faculties - East and Southeast Asian, French and Italian, German and Slavic, Classics and Middle Eastern, and Spanish and Portuguese, Glessner-Calkins said.

SILC will require language majors to focus on two languages and not only the languages themselves, but the literature and culture as well, Glessner-Calkins said.

Also, under the new school, students will be required to write a proposal describing their ambitions for the specific major they desire to be a part of, she added. Currently, there is no written requirement for students to declare a language major.

Students who have already declared a language major will be able to stay with the current curriculum, but they will have a choice to switch to the new SILC program, she said.

The school will remain part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the current faculty will remain intact, Glessner-Calkins said.

According to the ABOR executive summary, there will be no new funds required to support the school and external subsidies will continue to come from various government agencies and private foundations.

Charlie Bounds, a music theory freshman, said the opportunity to learn about a culture will be much more beneficial than just learning the language.

"When you learn about the culture, you can apply the language a lot better,"
he said.

Bounds said his sister is currently studying abroad in Italy and said what she learned in the classroom is much different than what she is experiencing in the real world.

"She said it's totally different over there," Bounds said. "They speak totally different. She said you have to learn slang and apply things you don't learn here."

The opportunities will be much more plentiful and accommodating to students, Glessner-Calkins said.

"This will give students more choices," she said, "because our section will have more focus on common areas."

Going beyond the language is very appealing, said Brittany Beystrom, an undeclared freshman who is minoring in Spanish.

"I'd like to learn more about the culture, not just the grammar," Beystrom said. "Learning cultural stuff will be a lot more exciting and it won't be just another class."