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Department of Modern Languages and Literature

Mission Statement

The Department of Modern Languages and Literature exists to achieve excellence in research, teaching and public service related to the languages, literatures and cultures taught in the Department. Research, teaching and service are interrelated pursuits with common goals. The Department strives to maintain effective programs of undergraduate and graduate instruction whose quality is sustained by the constant intellectual and professional development of the Departmentís faculty, as well as by their strong commitment to service. Consistent with the Mission Statement of The University of Texas Pan-American, the Department of Modern Languages and Literature is committed to providing an environment of academic freedom in which faculty engage in teaching, research, and service. Students learn from faculty scholars who engage in research and creative activity to promote excellence in teaching, to develop and maintain scholarship, and to extend human knowledge.

The Department believes that an essential part of a college education is the study of a foreign language, which enhances the student's overall capacity to communicate by providing the essential means of access to other cultures. To learn another language is to acquire a different system of communication. This process increases the understanding of one's own language; facilitates comprehension of how language structures human consciousness; and increases awareness of language in interaction with other social institutions.

The Department's undergraduate and graduate programs help meet the university-wide goal of encouraging students to appreciate their own culture and others, affording students opportunities to understand how ways of knowing are produced and conditioned by a variety of cultures. In addition, the Rio Grande Valley is home to an important Spanish-speaking population and is a center of social, commercial and professional activity that is conducted either entirely in Spanish, or bilingually in Spanish and English. As UTPA teachers, part of our mission is to furnish our students with the intellectual and communicative tools necessary to live and work effectively in a bilingual world, and to prepare them to become scholars, teachers or other kinds of professionals who will contribute to the prosperity of the area and the nation.

The Department strives to maintain the quality and breath of all its programs:

  • beginning and intermediate language instruction
  • undergraduate majors (French, Spanish, Latin American Studies) and minors (French, Spanish and Latin American Studies)
  • graduate M.A. (Spanish)

Activities of the Department include but are not limited to:

  1. research in literary criticism, language pedagogy and linguistics; creative writing
  2. courses, programs and training in support of our mission
  3. sponsorship of scholarly, pedagogical and cultural events pertinent to our mission. The department is committed to the internationalization of our programs and strongly supports study abroad, and other international initiatives.