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Message from the Department Head:

An Extraordinary Year in Any Language


Adrian Del CaroThis academic year (2015-2016) has been a year to remember for student achievements. The Student Spotlight section of this newsletter documents successes of our extraordinary undergraduate and graduate student majors, as well as those extraordinary "honorary" majors from other departments in arts and sciences and other colleges (engineering, political science, biology, linguistics, and biochemistry & cellular and molecular biology).  With increasing frequency, students from across the university are supplementing their major with studies in modern foreign languages and literatures, realizing that language and culture expertise enhances their competitiveness in their pursuit of career opportunities as well as major national awards and scholarships.

Three of our students were featured in the spring issue of the college's magazine, Higher Ground. I invite you to read these stories as two examples of how our students are engaged in Experience Learning, the provost's new quality enhancement program (QEP).  One story features Kasey Summeriski describing her rich learning experiences studying abroad in Cuzdo, Peru this past semester, funded by a  Ken and Blaire Mossman Scholarship from our department.  Another story highlights two students of our German program, Kacton DeVoti and Kalissa Ervin ('15), who were the first to hold summer internships with Volkswagen Chattanooga. 

This academic year has likewise been a year of stellar productivity and accomplishment in teaching, research, and service for our faculty, both professors and lecturers.  Readers of the Faculty Accolades and Accomplishments section of the newsletter will observe that we will, indeed, be challenged in future years to sustain the pace of this year in garnering internal and external awards.  What a joy to see our colleagues receive the recognition they deserve!

Outside the walls of McClung Tower, many very worthwhile events engaged students and the broader public and are described in detail in the Campus and Community Engagement and Academic Outreach article. These activities are always a labor of love for the organizers: UT AuthorFest, Brazilian Cultural Night, Soccer Tournament (Spanish won), Chinese Karaoke Contest, Immersion Days, MFLL Talent Show, French Connections, to mention only some of the bigger events. And how can we not salute the inaugural issue of our very first graduate student journal, Vernacular, designed, produced and edited entirely by our graduate students? The achievements of our Language and World Business Program (LWB) majors are suitably chronicled here as well.

The entire department received a compliment this year as well.  Spring semester 2016 concluded with our mid-cycle program review, which generated an eight-page Mid-Term Report prepared by Professors Amy Elias (English), William Neilson (Economics), John Nolt (Philosophy) and Elzbieta Sklodowska (Spanish, Washington University). Let me leave you with a quote from the authors of that report, whose recommendations will occupy our collective energies for several years to come:  "The University has in its MFLL community a tremendous and diverse resource from which it benefits considerably in all areas germane to institutional excellence: interdisciplinary research and teaching, academic leadership, global and community engagement."

Finally, my thanks to all in the MFLL community for their outstanding effort this year, and our heartfelt thanks to our MFLL Advisory Board and to those generous supporters whose funding makes a difference to our students at home and abroad.

Best wishes,

Adrian Del Caro
Professor and Department Head

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