Welcome to the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures at Washington State University! Our department is as old as WSU itself — with foreign language courses being offered here since the founding of this land-grant institution in 1890 under the Morrill Act, and yet we play an integral role in WSU’s very modern goal to offer students a world-class education, face to face.
To reflect that role, the name of our department was changed in the spring of 2003 from Foreign Languages and Literatures to Foreign Languages and Cultures. This change is a small but important one, as it reflects the exciting changes that have happened in the department, both in our focus and in the courses we offer. From the time of the earliest presidents of Washington State College (as it was originally known), who emphasized instruction in the humanities for a student body of rural origin, our mission has been to offer a course of studies and outreach programs to prepare our students to enter the global society, confidently and capably.
First of all, our curriculum has been expanded to include not only language and literature courses but also offerings in film, cultures, and global studies. Second, within our language sections (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Spanish) we have streamlined the curriculum to include the essential core and elective courses needed to gain proficiency in these languages and knowledge of their rich cultures. We have also developed specialized language courses for students in business, the social sciences, engineering, and the sciences. Our graduate program in Spanish—continuing the fine tradition of excellence since the first Masters Degree was awarded to Charles Augustus Barry in 1902—trains students for continued graduate work at the doctoral level and/or employment in education and industry.
In terms of outreach, we are looking at delivering these courses both in the traditional classroom and via Global Campus, while making sure that the same standards of excellence are maintained. We look to the future with the goal of globalizing our students though proficiency in one or more foreign languages and knowledge of foreign cultures. We invite you to explore this site to get to know us a little better and to enroll in one of the many language courses we offer each semester.
Study another language and culture! That is the way to translate an international outlook into a concrete reality!
Dr. Jolyon T. Hughes, Chair
Professor of German