About us

Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at Wichita State is a medium-sized department: we currently number sixteen full-time faculty and twenty lecturers and assistants. The department embraces diversity by its very nature. That has been true since the founding of Fairmount College in 1895 when Latin, Greek, French, and German were offered. Spanish, added soon thereafter, has grown to be our largest section, offering BA and MA degrees. We offer the BA in French and in Classical Studies, together with minors in French, German, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. Courses are also offered in Italian, Chinese, and Japanese.

Students set out to learn a world language for four types of reasons that have come to define the various facets of our mission.

  1. Heritage speakers: a certain language and its culture are a part of ones family history; theres a deep-seated desire to perpetuate those traditions.
  2. Some students take one or two languages together with courses offered through the College of Education with a view to becoming teachers, generally PreK-12.
  3. Some highly motivated students plan to become researchers in an area of world language, linguistics, literature, or civilization. They pursue a program of study toward the BA with a specialization in French or Spanish, then progress to the MA in Spanish or the MALS including French. Ultimately the PhD, earned at another institution, will qualify them for a career as a professor.
  4. Undergraduates most often follow an applied track, taking one or two world languages (bilingual option) together with another discipline or major; this may involve a double major (within Liberal Arts) or double degree (across colleges), for example: world language(s) together with business, pre-law, criminal justice, social work, or engineering, to name only a few.

World language proficiency affords immense advantages when majoring in other humanities disciplines: English, history, philosophy, and religion; or in areas such as art history or music.

The Graduate Reading Exam. Some graduate programs (e.g. MA in history, PhD in mathematics) include a requirement to demonstrate reading proficiency in a world language. Our upper-division courses help students prepare to translate a text in their subject area to show they can conduct research in the other language.

All basic courses in the modern languages are structured around the principle of oral proficiency, in order to help learners acquire a usable level of fluency in the desired language. Grammar/translation the focus of teaching in the classics becomes an additional focus at the advanced level in the modern languages. When studying any modern language, learners at each level develop the four skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Our instructors, whether adjunct or full-time faculty, are all dedicated to excellence in teaching. Several have received teaching awards and almost all have been nominated for such an award. Our ranked faculty are active researchers in their respective fields, bringing their insights and discoveries to bear upon the presentation of material in the classroom. Click on Faculty to check out our professional service and research accomplishments.

Through honor societies and clubs in the various languages, the department offers a wide range of organized student activities. These include theatre events, conversation groups, symposia, immersion days, movies, and culinary adventures. We'll help you to prepare for study abroad in Puebla, Mexico or Orléans, France, and advise you about opportunities in other countries (see: Office of International Education). Scholarship information is available upon request.
We look forward to hearing from you!