Jul 19, 2024  
University Catalog 2014-2016 
University Catalog 2014-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Languages

Division of Fine Arts and Humanities

Library 549 - (504) 520-7495 - http://www.xula.edu/languages

Department of Languages Mission Statement

Taking as the most fundamental principle the creation of a more just and humane society, the Department of Languages exemplifies a pluralistic teaching and learning environment by exemplifying diversity. Courses in the Department of Languages are infused with a multicultural, multiethnic content that counters the inexcusable and all too frequent omission of the African continental and Diaspora presence in the teaching of languages and literatures, while at the same time incorporating a global perspective which prepares students for their professional and personal lives in the third millennium.

Through the department’s diversity, varied research interests, and dedication to a pluralistic and integrated pedagogy, the Department of Languages works to advocate a sound intellectual dialogue, a rigorous and progressive academic formation, and a commitment to stand firm against all forms of injustice. The faculty engage in the ongoing enhancement of the curricula and ensure that the courses are all encompassing, enriching, and challenging.


Language is the gatekeeper and conveyor of culture. Recognizing this essential relationship between language and culture, the Department of Languages seeks to infuse its courses with significant content and cultural information.

The Department of Languages contributes to a heightened sense of global community and world citizenship and assists in the development of the language and cultural skills necessary for graduates to function effectively in intercultural and international work environments. The curriculum is proficiency-based (the acquisition of the four primary skills in the target language: comprehension, speaking or signing, reading, and writing), and emphasizes an understanding of the target culture. The language curriculum affirms the crucial role of literature in developing critical and analytical thinking skills and in providing insight into culture and the transmission of societal values.

Careers enjoyed by language alumni are interdisciplinary and international in scope and include teaching languages at every level, the Foreign Service, law, business, health care, international relations, translation and interpretation, tourism and travel. Xavier language alumni have pursued graduate and professional degrees in business, medicine, education, fine arts, performing arts, law, international affairs, psychology, sociology, languages and literature. They have served the national and international communities in these and other disciplines. They serve on prominent nationally and internationally recognized governing boards, and as university presidents and vice presidents.

Students receive instruction in the diverse cultures and content areas expressed by their languages of choice. The Department of Languages is committed to teaching the international significance of French and Spanish and stresses their importance as bases for communication by peoples of color. All students considering a major in languages must confer with a departmental advisor as early as possible in their Xavier careers so that their curricula can be appropriately designed and will be inclusive of both skills and content courses.

Instructional Strategies

Instructors in the Department of Languages are committed to the incorporation of instructional technology, experiential learning, and inter-departmental collaboration. In addition to traditional classrooms, the Department of Languages offers instruction in electronic classrooms with multimedia facilities, computerized teaching laboratories, and seminar rooms for upper level classes. Many skills level courses feature Internet enhanced instruction, online homework, and instructor-developed multimedia programs.

The Languages faculty is composed of instructors from many cultural and ethnic backgrounds and nationalities. Because of the nature of language instruction, students are exposed to a diversity of cultures and perspectives both in the structure of their courses and in contact with their professors. Combining exciting and enriching instruction with the latest in classroom technology, our classes are small. Students receive close personal attention at all levels of instruction. By taking advantage of the many cultural resources of New Orleans and south Louisiana, students can participate in local and regional multicultural learning experiences involving language practice.

Placement and Credit Policy

The University’s Language Placement and Credit Policy is found on the University’s website at: http://www.xula.edu/cas/documents/lang_placement_pro.pdf.

Majors and Minors

The Department of Languages offers majors and minors in French and Spanish, with additional study available in Mandarin, Latin, and American Sign Language. Ordinarily, the major requires 30 semester credit hours in the target language beyond 1010-1020; students who wish to begin a language major at the elementary level receive assistance from their advisors and other members of the department faculty in order to facilitate course planning leading to satisfactory completion of all necessary coursework in a timely fashion. Language majors and minors and other interested students have access to summer, semester, and year-abroad international study through the Center for Intercultural and International Programs (CIIP). All students are urged to take advantage of this opportunity. Most upper-level students and double majors in the department earn part of their required credits through immersion study in a country where their language of choice is spoken. These students return to Xavier with advanced-level language skills, as determined by the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) examination developed by the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

Eighteen hours of major courses and nine hours of minor courses must be completed at Xavier unless the student obtains permission from the department head and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Students interested in majoring or minoring in a language and studying abroad must have a language advisor and must consult with that advisor prior to entering the program of study or registering for international coursework. All students should take at least one literature course either before or during foreign study. Majors are required to attend all departmental meetings and pass a comprehensive examination in the target language. This comprehensive examination contains literary topics on European, Latin American, and African texts, as appropriate to language and course selection.

Minors are required to complete 18 hours of courses in one language, six hours of which must be at the 3000 level or above and should include a course on literature. Students desiring a double concentration in languages must complete 12 hours in each of two languages (24 hours total) or in a language and another discipline. Recommended courses for a 12-hour concentration in languages include the following: 1090, 2010-2020, and one 3000 or 4000 level course, or 12 hours of all upper level courses, depending on the student’s level of performance.

The programs of the Department of Languages open the doors to other cultures and offer many exciting options for future professional development, giving students access to a rainbow of communities and civilizations. Department graduates take their rightful places as world citizens who contribute to the complex and challenging global economy of the 21st century.


    Bachelor of Arts