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World Languages and Literature

World Languages are a gateway to becoming a world citizen and understanding culture at a national and international level. With the increase in globalization the study of world languages and literature provides a window to cultural differences and promotes transcultural and translingual understanding.

World Languages and Literature had several exciting lectures on campus this year. Faculty in the TESOL program put together a series of linguistics talks including the work of Dr. Tammy Slater, an applied linguist working in the area of Systemic Functional Linguistics, and Dr. Han Ye, a specialist in second language acquisition. Dr. Lisa Vitale organized the event, Strong Women, Strong Voices, dedicated to the International Women’s Day which included a presentation by Dr. Erin Larkin.

Extraordinary efforts of Dr. Ruben Pelayo and Dr. Resha Cardone brought the commemorative conference in honor of the great Gabriel Garcia Marquez to Southern’s campus. In addition to visiting scholars who presented works, several Southern faculty provided exceptional personal accounts of their reading of Gabriel Garcia Marquez works.

On curricular matters under the coordination of Dr. Luisa Piemontese, Spanish basic language programs experienced almost revolutionary transformation with the majority of 100-level classes now taught using the Silent Way approach to language acquisition. Many of 101 Spanish classes are thematic and focus on the study of cultural topics such as music, art, and sports. The Spanish section has also developed a desirable minor in medical Spanish. The Italian curriculum now includes two great classes Italian Food Culture and Italian Cities and Culture. Both classes are taught in English and partially in Italian and focus on different aspects of Italian culture. Students of German continue to participate in the German exchange program, and Professor Annemarie Geibel has continued leading the German Club this year and treating students to the wonders of Austrian baking!

Study abroad continues to thrive in World Languages. Drs. Arboleda, Palma, and Eilderts led summer abroad studies to Salamanca, the region of Tuscany, and Paris, respectively.  In particular Dr. Arboleda celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Salamanca Summer program in July with over 600 students completing the program over the course of years.

Two alums of the TESOL program, Jessica Somerville and Sophia Diamantis, have been accepted into doctoral programs at the University of Ohio and University of Wisconsin, respectively. Several current graduate TESOL students presented work at regional conferences. Talia Monroy and Jessica Kamens presented on pre-reading activities for ELLs at the Connecticut Literacy Association, and Alyssa Stoval and Rifah Alzahrani discussed “The Importance of Interaction in the Writing Classroom” at ConnTESOL Conference in October, 2014.

Fourteen MS/TESOL alumni met at SCSU to be trained by Marisa Ferraro, TAT Program Manager and Dr. Lorrie Verplaetse. They were trained to deliver intensive summer training and coaching to approximately 120 Stamford Public School teachers on “Best Instructional Practices for ELs” (English learners). Many of these alums were supported, financially and otherwise, through our Training for All Teachers US Dept. of Ed. funded program.

World Languages and Literature Department

Recent Departmental and Faculty Successes

Dr. Resha Cardone has two articles forthcoming, “Nona Fernández’s Mapocho: Spirits in a Material Wasteland,” in Studies in 20th and 21st Century Literature and “Entrevista a María Elena Gertner: conversación en torno a la Literatura,” in Revista Chilena de Literatura. She has two more articles under review and presented her research in Santiago, Chile.

Dr. Luke Eilderts published a review of Carrick’s Nouveau Réalisme, 1960s France, and the Neo-avant-garde: Topographies of Chance and Return in The French Review.

Dr. Jesse Gleason published an article on her research in System: An International Journal of Educational Technology and Applied Linguistics as well as the work, “Meaning-based scoring of automated speaking assessment” in Hispania. In addition to several individual presentations across the country, Dr. Gleason jointly presented with Dr. Schmitt their research on ESOL teacher training in Aachen, Germany and in Toronto, Canada.

Dr. Pina Palma recently published her work, “The Devil and the Mirror: Pulci’s Theology,” Ebbi voglia anco io d'esser gigante: New Studies on the Poetry of Luigi Pulci.  In May, she was a guest speaker on radio show, The Italian Art of Living Well, 88.7FM.

Dr. Elena Schmitt published two works on her research, “Seat Time Versus Proficiency: Assessment of Language Development in Undergraduate Students” in the AAUSC volume, Innovation and Accountability in Foreign Language Program Evaluation, and “Shifting paradigms: A model for the integrated assessment of language and culture,” in W. Chan, S. Bhatt, M. Nagami, & I. Walker (Eds.) Culture and Foreign Language Education: Insights from Research and Implications for the Practice. She also gave several conference presentations in and out of the country from San Antonio, Texas to Aachen, Germany.

Dr. Lorrie Verplaetse published a journal article, “Using big questions to apprentice students into language-rich classroom practices,” in TESOL Quarterly and a book chapter, “Language arts and the Common Core State Standards,” in G.Valdes, K. Mencken, & M. Castro (Eds.) Common Core and ELLs/emergent bilinguals: A guide for all educators.

Dr. Lisa Vitale has two articles under review, “Savonarola: Michelangelo’s Unlikely Muse,” at the journal, Renaissance Quarterly and “The Saint Unveiled: St. Catherine of Siena and Her Friendship with Raymond of Capua,” in Italian Culture. She presented “Authentication and Order of The Dialogue: Cavallini’s Illumination,” at the 49th International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, MI.

Dr. Jian Wu gave a presentation on technology and language learning, “Language Learning in an iPad Learning Lab,” in Nagoya, Japan.