About the Department
Foreign languages currently offers courses in:
- Arabic language
- Chinese language
- French language, literature, and culture
- German language (Continuing Education only)
- Italian language, literature and culture, and
- Spanish language, literature and culture.
All language programs are supported by free foreign language tutors and the state-of-the-art technology in our Language Resource Center. We also offer Continental European literature in translation courses which satisfy the University’s Division I Literature Sequence requirement [undergraduate catalogue].
The full-time faculty members of the foreign languages department each hold an earned doctorate in the field in which we teach, giving each of us the specialized knowledge to offer challenging and insightful upper-division and graduate courses. All of the department's faculty are engaged in ongoing research, professional development, or publication projects that enrich our teaching and contribute to our fields. In addition, each faculty member has extensive training in teaching foreign languages at all levels, from the elementary level up, which reminds us of how exciting--and sometimes daunting--it is for students at the beginning of the language-learning process. The fact that all of the faculty teach lower-division as well as upper-division courses allows us to get to know our students well and to guide students through the stages of language learning. The full-time faculty is supported by a very friendly and always helpful department secretary and by talented adjunct instructors who have a passion for language teaching. If you have questions about any of the department's programs, please feel free to contact the department chairperson or any member of the faculty or staff. We are here to help you succeed!
The department currently offers a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with the choice of four different concentrations:
- Professional Concentration for professional applications, including business, law, health services, social services and technical professions;
- Elementary Education Concentration for elementary and middle school teacher preparation;
- Secondary Education Concentration for middle and high school teacher preparation;
- Literature and Culture Concentration with a liberal arts focus which may apply to any number of liberal arts fields or be used as preparation for graduate studies in literature.
The department offers four minors:
- French Minor
- Italian Minor
- Spanish Minor
- Foreign Languages Minor
For the French, Italian or Spanish minor, students must earn 15 credits above the elementary level. Typically, 6 intermediate-level credits (201 and 202), plus nine additional credits earned by completing 3 courses chosen from the 300, 400 or 500 series. The Foreign Languages Minor is a combination of any two languages offered by the department, with emphasis on one language in particular in which a student might already have some preparation. It requires 18 combined credits, at least 12 of which must be above the elementary level, and must be approved by the chairperson of foreign languages.
The department's Master of Arts in Teaching Spanish was developed in response to the increased need in North Shore communities for well-trained and licensed Spanish teachers at both the elementary (P-6) and secondary (5-12) levels, this program meets the pedagogical and content standards of the Massachusetts Department of Education for licensure at the initial level. Content area courses, conducted entirely in Spanish, give students an overview of literatures, cultures, linguistics, and teaching methodology.
Foreign Language Requirement
Any of the languages offered by the department may be used to complete the university-wide foreign language requirement that most Bachelor of Arts students have. The language requirement entails passing a 4th-semester (202-level) language course, or any higher level language course. If you have no prior study of a language, this means taking 12 credits, or four courses (101, 102, 201, 202) in one language. If you have studied a language in high school or if you speak the language due to life experience, you should begin at a higher level, and you may only need to take 3 or 6 credits in the language to complete your requirement.
Students wishing to study Spanish can take the free online Spanish Placement Test to find out which level is right for them. Students who have previous experience in French, Italian, Arabic, or German, should follow the Department's Language Placement Guidelines or consult a faculty member in the foreign languages.
In addition to passing a 202 or higher level language course, there are other ways students may satisfy the foreign language requirement, including: transfering a 202 or higher level language course from another college or university, testing out of the language requirement (such as the AP test, SAT subject tests, CLEP test), or completion of a high school diploma in a foreign country where the language of instruction was not English (this applies to most international students). For more on these options, consult the University's Undergraduate Catalog or the chairperson of the department.
In special circumstances, if a student has severe difficulty in learning a foreign language, a student may petition for a foreign language substitution, which is a two-semester culture course in English. This is a serious and lengthy process and should not be undertaken unless the student can prove a severe difficulty in language learning. The process for this petition is outlined in the university catalogue [undergraduate catalogue p. 14].
The department strongly encourages students to study abroad. In collaboration with the Center for International Education, we offer short-term summer study abroad options in Canada, France, Italy, and Spain. Through the Center for International Education’s study abroad office, students can find other programs to study abroad for a summer, semester, or a full year in many different countries in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia. For more information, contact the Center for International Education.
Language clubs: the department of foreign languages sponsors a French Club, an Italian Club and a Spanish Club. The clubs are always seeking new members and students interested in leadership positions in the clubs. Each club organizes social and cultural activities on and off campus, including movie nights, dinners, and trips to museums. Join the email list of the French Club, Italian Club or Spanish Club to receive announcements about meetings and events. Click here to join a mailing list or to find us on Facebook.
La Lista: The Spanish program also hosts a virtual Spanish club, an online email list called "Castellano" to which students and members of the community can contribute. La Lista ("the list" in Spanish) is a bilingual (Spanish-English) mailing list for people associated with the Salem State community to share information and discuss topics related to the Spanish speaking world: language, culture, and politics, as well as jobs, fellowships, and other professional opportunities. The list is open to anybody with ties of any sort to Boston's North Shore area that Salem State serves. Subscribe to La Lista here.
Department Events: The department organizes events such as guest speakers, movie nights, and parties. We regularly organize a party at the end of each semester for all of the students, faculty, and friends of the programs to celebrate and socialize. In early December, we host a Holiday Party and in early May, the Spring Fling. The Spring Fling is also an awards dinner where outstanding students in the Spanish major and in the minor programs are recognized for their hard work. Awards are given for Academic Excellence, Academic Achievement, and Service to the Department.
Lingua Franca Newsletter: The department publishes a newsletter each semester to keep students informed of departmental events and larger issues related to foreign languages. Students are invited to contribute articles or ideas for articles. You can find out more and read back issues of the Lingua Franca newsletter online.
HOPE Award Essay Contest: Every spring, the department sponsors an essay contest for the HOPE award. This cash prize is given to the student who writes the best essay on the topic of: doing Humanitarian work, creating Opportunities for those in need, promoting Peace in the world, or sharing your Expertise about linguistic and cultural diversity.
International Photo Contest: Each spring, the department also hosts an international photo contest. Students, faculty, administrators and staff are invited to submit their best photo of an international locale they have visited. The 12 best photos are selected for a photo calendar, published each summer. Proceeds from the calendar support the HOPE award.
Undergraduate Research Symposium: Students in the Senior Seminar course, and sometimes in other advanced Spanish courses, regularly present their original research at the university’s annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. All students are invited to attend the symposium and support their classmates as they present their research to the university community (in Spanish!).
Phi Sigma Iota International Honor Society: The department has joined the Phi Sigma Iota international honor society. Click here for more information.