Undergraduate Catalog 2012 - 2013


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Department of Languages & Culture

Professors: J. Bernstein, O. de la Suarée, M. Jian, K. Kim-Yoon, K. Rabbitt, F. Rodriquez, M. Tajas, K. Vassilev, B. Williams

Associate Professors: E. Frye, G. Maduro, E. Martínez(chair), M. Mukherjee,, G. Scott

Assistant Professors: H. Watanabe

Instructors: K. Akitaya-Hincapie, H. T. Cook, L. Jiang

Directors: J. Miles (Multimedia Center), L. Jiang (Center for the Study of Critical Languages)

The Department of Languages and Cultures is responsible for all foreign languages, cultural studies, and literature courses from basic to advanced levels. In order to maximize its instructional capabilities, the department operates a state-of-the-art-multimedia language center located in Atrium 131. In addition to the diverse foreign languages courses it offers, the department administers a major and minor in the literatures and cultures of Spain, Latin America, and Hispanics in the United States; a major and minor in French and Francophone studies; an interdisciplinary major and minor in Latin American and Latino studies; and supports a multi-disciplinary major and minor in Asian studies. Together with the Asian studies program, the department offers two tracks/concentrations in Chinese and Japanese language and a teacher preparation program in Chinese and Japanese. The department also offers coursework in academic ESL in support of the University's many students who are working in English as a second language. The department also houses a Center for the Study of Critical Languages, supporting instruction in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Russian, and Turkish.

The department administers a graduate program in bilingual/ESL in conjunction with the College of Education. The program offers courses toward a master's degree in education, and endorsements in bilingual/bicultural education and English as a second language at the graduate level.

The department is the home of the French and Spanish clubs for students majoring and minoring in French or Spanish, as well as those interested in Francophone and Hispanic cultures. The French and Spanish clubs help plan academic, cultural, and social activities. Several Hispanic fraternities and sororities, as well as French and Hispanic honor societies, are also associated with the department. It also sponsors several annual events including a bilingual/ESL conference for teachers and a poetry recitation contest for high school students. It also cosponsors the annual Círculo de Cultura Panamericano Conference on Spanish and Spanish American literature and culture.

The Department of Languages and Cultures aims to: (1) further the development of students majoring or minoring in Asian studies, Latin American and Latino studies, and Spanish; (2) provide post baccalaureate training in bilingual/bicultural education, as well as in English as a second language, leading to endorsement as a teacher in those fields in the state of New Jersey and elsewhere; (3) provide courses that may be used to fulfill the general education requirement in the humanities; and (4) offer electives in second languages.

Currently, the university is not admitting any new students to the French major.

The Foreign Language Graduation Requirement

William Paterson requires all students to complete up to 6 credits (two courses in one language) of a foreign language within the Basic I to Intermediate I sequence or equivalent. Students with no prior experience in a chosen language begin with 1100 (Basic I) and fulfill their language requirement with the second semester 1110 (Basic II) of that language. Students with prior experience in a chosen language need to be placed into a given level of the 1100, 1110, 2100, 2110 sequence (see below). The foreign language requirement is met upon completion of two semesters in the language from placement level or upon completion of exemption from the Intermediate I (2100) course.


The University does not automatically accept high school foreign language work as equivalent to college-level study. Upon admission, all incoming first-year and transfer students who have no transfer credit in language are required to take a foreign language placement test to determine the appropriate level of study. Students with very limited or no background in a particular language, or who wish to study a language they have never taken before, choose among one of the languages currently offered in the department and are placed in a Basic I section. Students must take Basic II (1110) in the same language to satisfy the requirement.

Likewise, those students who are placed in a Basic II section or higher (such as Intermediate I or Intermediate II) satisfy the foreign language requirement by taking two sequential courses in the same language. The department also honors advanced placement in foreign languages, depending on test scores.

Students who wish to complete their language requirement in one semester can register for Intensive SPAN 1060 Spanish I and II (6 credits). First-year students who wish to complete their language study in consecutive semesters (Basic French I or Basic Spanish I in the fall, Basic French II or Basic Spanish II in the spring) are encouraged to do so. This allows for faster language development through class continuity.

Native speakers of Spanish with little or no academic experience in the language should enroll in Contemporary Spanish for Native Speakers (SPAN 1140).

Challenge Test

The Department of Languages and Cultures also offers students the opportunity of "challenging" their foreign language placement in second-year language courses only (Intermediate I and/or Intermediate II). This option is only available for students who have completed fewer than 90 credits. The student must pay for a challenge test if they desire to obtain credit ($75 per level). If a student wishes to place out of the foreign language requirement in a language not offered at William Paterson University (e.g., Polish, Serbo-Croatian, etc.), the student may take a proficiency exam at an approved institution such as New York University before completing 70 college credits.

Academic ESL Program

William Paterson's Academic English program offers courses designed to improve the English reading and writing skills of those who are multilingual students from non-English language backgrounds. Program students are matriculated at the University and usually enroll in these courses during their first year; they may take additional courses. All Academic English courses earn graduation credits (free electives).

Academic English reading and writing courses are either intermediate (level one) or advanced (level two). Placement is determined by student profile information, Accuplacer test results, and a student essay. At each level (one or two), students enroll in a 3-credit reading course and a 3-credit writing course. An additional 2-credit writing workshop serves Academic English students enrolled in English 1100 Writing Effective Prose.

Note: Students enrolled in Academic English courses do not take basic skills reading and writing classes. For more information, contact Professor Gladys V. Scott, Academic English program director, by emailing scottg@wpunj.edu.

Honor Societies

The Nu Theta Chapter of Pi Delta Phi, the National French Honor Society, was founded at William Paterson in 2003. A member of the Association of College Honor Societies, the purpose of Pi Delta Phi is to recognize outstanding scholarship in French and Francophone language and literatures, to increase the knowledge and appreciation of Americans for the cultural contributions of the French and Francophone world, and to stimulate and encourage French and Francophone cultural activities. Members receive a subscription to the newsletter, and may avail themselves of scholarship opportunities. To be eligible, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in at least one semester of upper-division French. For more information, please contact Professor Madhuri Mukherjee, Department of Languages and Cultures.

Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, founded in 1919, is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and is affiliated with the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, the Instituto Internacional Sampere in Spain and Ecuador, the Instituto Bilingüe/Multicultural of Cuernavaca, Mexico, the Academia Latinoamericana de Español in Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru, and Enforex Spanish Language School in Spain. The society promotes excellence in the study of the Spanish language and literature, and recognizes student's high achievements in the field. Members receive a diploma, a commemorative pin, and the right to apply for the Society's scholarship. The chapter receives a subscription to Entre Nosotros, the society's yearly publication. To be eligible for membership, students:

  • must have completed at least three years, or equivalent, of college Spanish, including at least one class of a third-year course in Hispanic literature or civilization and culture.
  • must have a 3.0 or higher GPA both overall and in the major.
  • must have completed at least three semesters of college courses.
  • must show interest in things Hispanic and be of good moral character.

For more information please contact Professor María Tajes, Department of Languages and Cultures.

Multimedia Language Center

The Multimedia Language Center supports and enhances the instructional delivery of foreign language courses by integrating an innovative multimedia Intranet/Internet-based learning and teaching environment into the language curriculum. The Center provides a student-centered, communicative, and multimedia-based language learning and teaching environment to support the development and practice of language, research, and communication skills in the foreign language. For further information, please contact the director.

Center for the Study of Critical Languages

The Center for the Study of Critical Languages promotes the study of critical needs languages, supporting rigorous language study within the framework of competencies in the cultural, literary, historical, social, and political traditions of strategically important regions, with potential benefits for undergraduate and K-12 education and the business and professional sectors. The Center coordinates the enhancement of language teaching and learning in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Russian, and Turkish; coordinates curriculum development and faculty training in multimedia, online, and digital resources for language instruction; collects and archives curricular and supplementary instructional materials; maintains a website to publicize materials, as well as co-curricular activities and campus events; fosters a sense of community among faculty who teach the eight critical languages; fosters links with the school districts and the community; and evaluates and assesses the individual courses and the program.

Study Abroad Programs

The Department of Languages and Cultures hosts several, short-term study abroad programs. Students interested in these programs should contact the program directors: Argentina and Uruguay, Professor Octavio de la Suarée; Japan, Professor Hideo Watanabe; Puerto Rico, Professor Grisel Maduro or Professor Franklin Rodríguez; and Spain, Professor María P. Tajes. The University also provides long-term study abroad opportunities. Students interested in studying abroad for a long term should contact Ms. Cinzia Richardson in the Office of International Education to obtain the necessary information about eligibility, procedures to be followed, types of programs approved by the University, and credit transfers.

Degree Programs

At present, the department houses or supports five degree programs in Chinese, French, Japanese, Latin American and Latino Studies, and Spanish.