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College of Arts and Sciences

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of International Language and Culture Studies encompasses teaching, research/creative endeavor, and service.


The department aims to provide students with linguistic and critical thinking skills as well as cultural knowledge that will enable them to understand and appreciate the uniqueness of other language groups and prepare them to function in other language settings.

Research/Creative Endeavor

The department embraces a broad understanding of scholarship/creative endeavor, consistent with Boyer's view that knowledge is created through research, through synthesis, through practice, and through teaching (1990, p. 24). All of the department's faculty will contribute to knowledge in one or more of these areas.

The work of the faculty is featured in Opus (link, PFW’s institutional repository.


The department's faculty will contribute to the effective functioning of the campus through participation in faculty governance and through leadership on behalf of language and culture studies. The department's faculty will contribute to the community and to the profession through service that draws on their expertise in the discipline and/or the classroom.

Goals for Student Learning

The department is committed to enabling students to become proficient speakers of the language(s) they study and sensitive to cultural differences. Rigorous study of literary and non-literary texts, including film and other media, is the basis for achieving these goals.

Students who complete a four-semester language requirement (or equivalent) will have a basic functional knowledge and a solid basis for further study in the language. Majors will acquire a broad foundation in language, literature, and culture in preparation for graduate studies or for a career where proficiency in a foreign language and international perspectives are important assets.

Language Proficiency

After completing the first four semesters of a language, students should demonstrate speaking proficiency at the survival level as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

Majors are expected to achieve the intermediate-high level in speaking and to demonstrate the ability to recognize and analyze grammatical and usage errors in their own and others' writing.

Cultural Knowledge

Students will develop:

  1. Increased understanding of what it means to belong to a culture
  2. Awareness of how culture affects other interconnected issues of identity such as gender, race, class, ethnicity and religion, and how these categories intersect and overlap
  3. The ability to think critically about these issues and how they shape intercultural communication

Students who complete the first four semesters of a language will learn to examine stereotypes and to respond in culturally appropriate ways in everyday situations in the target culture.

Majors will be prepared to participate in an educated non-specialist discourse regarding the history, geography, social institutions, politics, literary and other artistic traditions as well as popular culture of the language group(s) they study.