Department of World Languages
What We Do
The study of a second language will suit those students whose future endeavors will have them working with a non-English speaking population, be it in the health services, education, social services, counseling or journalism, to name just a few.
Students who successfully complete a major in Spanish, with an accompanying minor or sequence of courses in a second language or subject area, will have been exposed to a variety of linguistic, literary and cultural models upon which to draw in their professional lives. They will have also developed empathy for non-native speakers of English, having undergone a similar experience while learning their second and possibly third languages. Furthermore, the knowledge of other languages is a positive attribute for anyone entering the job market or pursuing a graduate degree.
Even at the local level there is a great need for students who should broaden their cultural horizons in order to successfully function in the professional arena. The Mohawk Valley is home to speakers of more than 30 different languages. Job-seekers who are at least conversant in one of these other languages will find themselves to be more attractive candidates in the educational, health, social services and business fields because of their abilities to communicate.
Utica University offers a major in Spanish and minors in the study of French and Spanish languages, literature and cultures. Students interested in the Spanish major must develop a concentration with a faculty member. Logical combinations would include, but are not limited to:
- A second language
- International Studies
- Human Rights Advocacy
- Public Relations
The programs seek to help students gain fluency in reading, writing, and speaking the languages they study and to gain knowledge of their literature and cultures. Students will learn to make connections between their chosen discipline and other disciplines within the liberal arts tradition and in the world beyond the University, including professional aspirations. They also help students to acquire a deep and compassionate understanding of peoples and their culture.
Students may take advantage of the Mohawk Valley College Consortium agreement, wherein they may take one course per semester at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Herkimer College, Mohawk Valley Community College, SUNY Morrisville, SUNY Empire State College, and Hamilton College.
The Spanish major enables students to combine the study of Spanish with a major related sequence of courses, resulting in the acquisition of vocabulary and cultural knowledge relevant to the major related area.
Students will develop an understanding of the language, grammar, literature and culture of their primary language, through both classroom study and a foreign studies experience. The Senior Research Project will combine the primary language with a Major Related Sequence such as Sociology or Human Rights Advocacy, acquiring the background knowledge and vocabulary in the primary language with which to successfully work in this field.
This major is designed to meet the needs of those students intending to work with a non-English speaking population, be it in business and management, education, social services, journalism, law, travel and tourism, and other fields which require language-qualified personnel. Furthermore, the knowledge of other languages is a positive attribute for those students who will pursue a graduate degree.
There are benefits from studying a second language, in general, including:
- improving the grammar and vocabulary of your own language
- exercising memory and recall
- learning more about the geography and history of your country and the world
- understanding that English is not the only way to experience reality
- reinforcing the notion of culture (as opposed to tourism)
- having more empathy for other peoples and ethnic groups
- opening the door to other majors/minors/interests/careers
- facilitating opportunities to study abroad
- providing an experience that exercises many different skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) in ways not found in other courses
- A second language is very useful in many fields and professions, especially in several of the majors at Utica (Criminal Justice, Nursing, OT, PT, Cybersecurity, etc.). Students in these majors will inevitably come into contact with people who speak a language other than English
- A second language is an asset when applying for jobs
The language minor (and major) will prepare students for careers in fields such as education, social services, medical professions, criminal justice, journalism, civil services, editing, counseling, public relations, government, travel and tourism, and translating.
The Placement Process into the Language Program
a. Starting with first year students admitted for Fall 2022, there is no longer any general education language other than English requirement. Students interested in studying languages are placed as follows.
b. No students are placed in Italian 102 or French 102 or higher (unless they have AP credit or college credit, or are from Italy or a French speaking country). These students are placed in Italian 101 or French 101.
c. Placement decisions for Spanish are made according to the following scheme, based on full years of high school (9th-12th grades) language study:
- Two or less years of Spanish regardless of the grade earned, placement is in the first semester course 101. Three years with an average lower than 90, placement is also in the first semester course 101. If several years have passed since the student last studied the language, placement is in 101.
- Four years of Spanish, with at least an average of 80, placement is in the second semester course 102. Three years with at least an average of 90, placement is also in the second semester course 102.
d. AP scores of 3 are placed into the 201 level (Intermediate 1). Scores of 4 and 5 are placed in the 202 level. (Intermediate 2)
e. If a student has received college credit (this must be indicated on an official college transcript) then placement is as follows:
- If a student earned a C- or better in 101, placement is in 102
- If a student earned a C- or better in 102, placement is in 201
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