Dr. Lorum Stratton
Interim Chair – CMLL
Associate Professor of Spanish
Texas Tech Professor, 1969 -
I have been thinking these past months about my life as a foreign language professor and the impact it has had in my own life, the life of my family and hopefully with the thousands of students with whom it has been my privilege to associate. Especially my life has been enhanced, enlightened, and made so much richer through the opportunities that I have had to accompany more than 1,600 students as they have expanded their world through a study abroad experience in Mexico or Spain. “Language is the centre of human life.” Those who learn a second language and who have the opportunity to interact with native speakers through a study abroad experience find that this is a life changing experience.
Two of the most important factors in learning a second language are motivation and attitude. Motivation may generally be defined in relation to two factors: the needs of the learners and their attitudes towards the second language. Learners are motivated if they need to learn the language in order to achieve a goal or if they want to communicate with speakers of the target language and learn about the country where the language is spoken, or in a classroom setting it may simply be the desire to obtain a good grade.
Motivation = effort + desire to achieve a goal + attitudes. The longer I live the more convinced I am that “attitude” and desire and effort can allow us to achieve heights that we have never before attained. I close with this incredible quote on attitude. I hope it will may add to your life experience.
"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you and me... we are in charge of our Attitudes." Charles R. Swindell
Dr. Janet Pérez
Horn Professor, Spanish
Reflections from Dr. Pérez
Although there were several things I wanted to be while growing up, being a teacher and/or publishing scholar was not one of them. Both my parents were from large families with numerous siblings—most of them teachers and mostly not in the category of favorite relative. Most often I thought of working in a large publishing office, or for the Foreign Service (I had scored very well on the relevant exams). I received a Fulbright the year I graduated from Duke and so spent a year in Madrid. I was supposed to have a research project and therefore began interviewing contemporary novelists, which turned out to be a real game changer. During that year, I met and interviewed 40 contemporary writers, including several who would be Spain’s most prominent authors for the next 30 or 40 years. At that time, very little was known about recent (post-war) literature in Spain, so upon return I found myself in demand as a lecturer, as well as able to publish basically whatever I wrote. There was almost no competition.
While this may sound like a fairy-tale, there were no problems in the job market--every job I ever interviewed for was offered to me. Along the way, I had numerous opportunities to lead groups of students for organizations operating programs abroad, not only to Spain and Mexico but also Norway, Venezuela, Colombia, etc. Quite a contrast to what the job market would become not too much later! Several years of this calmed my wanderlust, and I taught in Washington, D.C., New York and then the University of North Carolina—the oldest state university in the U.S.--where I became the first woman ever hired full time in the UNC department of Romance Languages. My two children were both born in Chapel Hill, and during the same two years, I published my first three books. During the next seven years, I became the first woman to gain tenure in that department, and the first to become a full professor. It wasn’t as easy or conflict-free as this summary may sound (I also became the first Affirmative Action officer for that department, active in numerous organizations for women at levels ranging from local to national). Among the various “firsts” to be mentioned: I am the first person I’ve ever heard of who had to obtain tenure three times, because before Affirmative Action [and many times after advent of that law], skullduggery was rampant. From very early on, I have been active in numerous foreign language associations, frequently representing them at the state and national level and holding executive offices, activity I continued into the Third Millennium.
Another significant area, editorial work, harks back to my having been an editor of my high-school yearbook, and providing news items for both church and school newspapers, activities that continued through college and graduate years, and branched out to include my typing (and editing) papers, theses and dissertations for fellow students, and subsequently manuscripts for professors. From the time I went to North Carolina, I served on multiple editorial boards. Most recently, and most significantly, in 2001, I became Editor of Hispania, official journal of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, a post I held for the maximum possible nine years. Along the way, I have provided editorial services to more than forty professional journals and periodicals and have served in a variety of offices for professional organizations, such as Vice President and President of the South Central Modern Language Association and of the Southwest Conference on Latin American Studies. I served on the Executive Council of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese 2000-2011, and on an extensive list of lesser organizations.
Not to be forgotten and never by me is my service as Associate Dean of the Graduate School, (1988-2000), preceded by two years as Adjunct at a time when TTU had temporarily lost that position during a period of financial exigencies [1985-1987]. The list of my numerous responsibilities as Associate Dean fills over 60 lines in my C.V., but for me the most meaningful and unforgettable of those multiple tasks was as director of the Interdisciplinary Programs (M.A. and M.S.) involving some 125 students—the most forgotten group of graduate students in all of Texas Tech. And although I was able to help many of those students individually, I failed in years of efforts to help the group—to find a “home” for those two programs, a way that the students could come to know their cohorts, could have a meeting place, and develop a sense of belonging to a group. This continues to be an unmet need.
Perhaps the most highly visible of my successes was my election in 2009 as a full-fledged member of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language, followed immediately by election to Corresponding Membership in the Royal Spanish Academy. Another very significant distinction was my election in 1999 as an Honorary Fellow of the Hispanic Society of America, a worldwide organization limited to 400 members, which has only a handful of Honorary Fellows. My more significant lifetime distinctions include having been elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Duke for my graduate career [a very rare recognition]; my being named by TTU for the President’s Academic Achievement Award; my inclusion as a Charter Member of the TTU Teaching Academy (1996-present); my elevation to Horn Professor (1986); my election as Qualia Chair (2000); and elevation 2010-11) to the Order of Don Quixote. Finally, filling a very special spot among my honors are those moments of great privilege when I have hooded new Ph.Ds, a list which continues to grow, now including some 60 doctorates.
Dr. Christopher Bains
Assistant Professor, French
An Interview with Dr. BainsWhat made you decide on your field of research?
I am sure part of it comes from my dual heritage French-American. Thanks to this fortuity, I think I have always been open to international relationships. Most of all, though, I studied French in college and fell in love with it.
What do you enjoy most about your field?
I enjoy thinking about literary and cultural topics, and interacting with students and colleagues. I especially like seeing students come into their own, when they are able to think about critical questions in new and exciting ways. I believe that when students are exposed to different cultural perspectives, they begin to contextualize their own views.
Have you had any of your students go into this field?
Sure, the French program has had many students go on to top Ph.D. programs or to complete an MA in French. I should point out that the field of French studies is both vast and dynamic. I really believe that the critical thinking skills one acquires by studying French can be applied to many different areas of life, including, but not limited to, professional activities.
Tell me something about your favorite student.
Her name is perseverance.
What are your personal hobbies and interests?
In no particular order: sharing food with friends and colleagues, enjoying a good strong coffee, the Auvergne region of France, the cities of Bordeaux and Paris.
What are your favorite Texas Tech events and traditions?
I like commencement because it honors the tradition of Texas Tech academic achievement. I appreciate the national French honor society, Pi Delta Phi, because it has such a long heritage at Texas Tech.
Would you like to add something else interesting about yourself or your work?
I work on issues related to 19th-century French literature and culture. In particular, I look at how literary representations fit into a wider cultural context: interdisciplinary, aesthetic, historical, ideological, etc. What interests me is the way in which literary language comes to signify, that is to say, how its content is exchanged, transformed, and debated across the wider society. I believe that these transformations continue to take place today, making literature eternally relevant to understanding life.
When did you join Texas Tech University?
I joined Texas Tech University in fall 2007.
The International Teaching Assistant, July 23- August 10, was hosted by CMLL under the direction of Dr. Dale Griffee, Assistant Professor, ESL & Linguistics and the coordination of Ms. Carla Burrus, M.A. One hundred twenty-six international graduate students from all the colleges across Texas Tech who are awarded teaching assistantships and graduate part-time instructors for the 2012-2013 academic year participated in the summer workshop. Six instructors and three teaching assistants fulfilled the role of training and testing the participants.
The purpose of the program is to help provide excellent instruction to all Texas Tech students who will be working with these teaching assistants by supporting the ITAs in their teaching roles at Texas Tech through evaluation and training in conjunction with their respective academic departments.
The Texas Education code was amended in 1989 to require all faculty whose primary language is not English to achieve a satisfactory score on the Test of Spoken English or other approved tests. Institutions are charged with providing programs or short courses to meet the needs of those faculty who do not achieve a satisfactory score.
In compliance with this mandate, Texas Tech holds the 3-week workshop during which all graduate students employed as teaching assistants and graduate part-time instructors in courses offered for credit that are taught in the English language must be proficient in the use of the English language. The workshop assesses each participant’s readiness for the classroom. Successful completion of The SPEAK Test, the Performance Test and the Michigan Listening test is required for approval to teach.
Students who do not succeed may enroll in ESL 5310 during the long semester to improve his skills and to be retested at the end of the semester or repeat the summer workshop the following summer.
"This summer twenty-eight Texas Tech University (TTU) students took the less traveled Study-Abroad road to Reims, France. They took a leap of faith to contextualize all that which they had learned on campus. Immersion is probably the most active learning experience one will ever take albeit intimidating. In their own words, they chose to describe different aspects of the French language and culture study." - Dr. Carole Edwards
CULTURE: “Our culture helps to define our perceptions and stereotypes. It is no secret that in the United States the French are often thought to be a society of stuck-up and unfriendly individuals. My first exposure to French Culture was Disney’s picturesque village depicted in Beauty and the Beast. Clearly, all French people wear berets and carry baguettes, right? When I arrived in France, I hoped to stay in a similar village full of beret wearing, baguette carrying French natives. Fifteen years later and having stayed in France, I have found my preconceived notions of the French to be only partially correct and little more than misconceptions. The French are set in their ways and true to their culture. But, by studying abroad I have learned three main things about them. Showing an effort to speak French and understand their customs goes a long way. The French do carry baguettes everywhere, but in their defense baguettes are the most delicious bread. And lastly, if you want to catch sight of a Frenchman in a beret, you are more likely to find them in the military.” – Danica King, Junior BA Business
CUISINE: “One of the most alluring things about studying in France is, of course, French cuisine… French cuisine, especially in the smaller town where we stayed, was more about the freshness and quality of the ingredients, and the care with which the food was prepared. We had opportunities to meet farmers who sell fresh vegetables to restaurants in town and participate in a cooking class that showed us how difficult it is to prepare fine food… Though I was in France for four weeks, I didn't eat a single frog’s leg or snail, and many dishes that I considered to be “French” before arriving turned out to be the culinary equivalents of the beret stereotype.” – Karlissa Black, Senior BA French
FRIENDSHIPS: “During my study abroad I got to really connect with various aspects of French social life…. I made several new friends that I hung out with through my stay thereby giving me the opportunity to learn about everyday life in Reims. I was invited to go out to dinner, lunch, or drinks at night, and these events meant that we would be talking and eating for two or more hours at a time. Going out with my first circle of Reims’ allowed me to make additional friends. And, I think I made some friends that I will stay in touch with for the rest of my life.” – Juan de Loera, Senior Architecture, French Minor
TRANSPORTATION: “Europe, the amount of public transportation far exceeds its accessibility in the United States. In Reims alone, arriving at your destination is easier by tram or bus then by car. Most native Reims students only use their cars to travel outside the city on weekends. I remember telling my friend that if I lived there I would not know what to do with a car. The subway gets you everywhere you need to go with abundant subway stations within easy walking distance.” - Shelly Thibodeaux, Junior Environment & Humanities Major/French Minor
LANGUAGE SKILLS IMPROVED: “Going abroad to France, I felt fairly confident in my French speaking abilities, and I was skeptical of the amount of progress I would be able to achieve in only one month. However, the Texas Tech University program in Reims has proved me completely wrong. Being fully immersed in a place where there is relatively little English and a strong culture, I was forced to speak and use French language skills accurately and in a more practical way than in the classroom. Without the safety net of being able to switch to English, I have learned how to express myself and speak more clearly than ever before. At the same time, being surrounded by spoken French constantly, it is surprising to me how many more words and colloquial phrases I learned, seemingly unconsciously. Having the opportunity to implement everything that I have learned in the classroom in a real life setting has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I will always remember my time in Reims and my first genuine conversation entirely in French.” - Zach Monreal, Senior, double BA French & Political Science
COMMUNICATION: “Before arriving in Reims I was extremely anxious about communicating with French people. This anxiety began to subside when we visited our host university and met French students. Our new friends patiently answered our questions, assisted us with our French, and encouraged us. Each compliment and gentle correction left me thirsty for improvement and more knowledge and enhanced my adoration for the French. They hold themselves and others to a high standard when speaking French because they value the French language for its power and beauty. When I am corrected I consider it an encouragement because the French want everyone to hear and understand the beauty of the French language. Living in Reims for four weeks has dramatically improved my ability to comprehend French and my confidence in my ability to speak French.” – Caroline Weir, French & Political Science double major
WORLD CLASS CITIZENS: “Study-abroad is in a way a lengthy fieldtrip during which students learn about themselves, their own culture, and that of their host’s. As students open up to different others they get one step closer to becoming world-class citizens.” – Ricky Hodinh, Pre-med, University of Texas, Austin
Summer I: "Teaching Spanish in the Texas Tech Seville Center has been an exciting experience. We had about seventy-five students at different levels of their language learning (SPAN 1607; SPAN 2607 & SPAN 4343-4446). Many of these students came with enough vocabulary to survive in a new country and culture. Others came ready to know more about Spain’s culture, history and literature as well as to perfect their language skills. With four hours of daily instruction plus the advantage of conversing with their native speaker tutors, the students of Spanish were totally immersed in the language; yet they also had time to enjoy what Seville had to offer them.
Seville is a thriving city full of cultural activities to practice the language and engage in the Spanish culture. The students often commented about the city atmosphere and safety. Andalusians are friendly people, the students had a first-hand experience of this as all of them lived with Andalusian families. The students had the chance to talk to them at the table while sharing a meal, touring Seville after the siesta time or attending family gatherings or cultural events with them.
As part of the program, we visited several places in Andalusia such as the Roman city of Itálica, the Alcázar real in Seville, the Mezquita of Córdoba, the Alhambra palace in Granada and the Franciscan monastery of La Rábida in Palos de la Frontera. Around Castilla-La Mancha, we explored the medieval castle of Calatrava la nueva, Segovia, Toledo, the royal palaces of El Escorial and La Granja de San Ildefonso. Each of these visits was organized by our wonderful staff at the Seville center. They also provided guided tours of the places both in English and Spanish. We ended the program in Madrid where the students visited various museums and enjoyed free time to explore the city on their own.
At the end of the program, many of these students were eager to continue their Spanish studies or use it as they graduate and take jobs elsewhere. Spending quality time with these students in and outside class activities has served us to know them better, to advise them in their future endeavors and to show them the flavor of the Spanish culture. In short, the first summer session was a very productive, intense and rewarding experience for the students, the instructors and the staff in Seville." - Dr. Sara Guengerich and Phillip Guengerich, MA
"My experience with the study abroad program has given me memories I can cherish for a lifetime. I came here with the intention of bolstering my Spanish abilities, but left with a worldly experience that has instilled an abundance of knowledge in me… In retrospect, my experience in Spain wasn´t just about learning Spanish, it was also about receiving the cultural experience with some of the best, new friends I could ask for. It was definitely the best decision I have ever made and I can confidently say it will have an everlasting impact on my life." - Pradeep Attaluri, Sophomore BS Biology
"Besides helping improve my Spanish speaking skills, studying abroad made me a better and more mature traveler, and helped me to appreciate more of a variety of things. I gained confidence in arranging my own plans, such as weekend trips to Liege, Belgium, or Ronda, Spain. I learned to appreciate new things like Tuna Steak, and not to take for granted things common in the United States, like free public bathrooms and drinking fountains. And surely studying abroad will help me in the years to come: I believe I will be a more well-rounded person, and if I ever come back to Sevilla, I’ll know my way around!" - John Fenske, Senior, BS Electrical Engineering and Mathematics
"One of the main reasons I chose to study abroad was because I needed something to really set me apart from all the other management and marketing majors once I enter the job market. Not only that but I was already doing a Spanish minor and it just seemed more interesting and fun to finish it in Spain rather than in Lubbock over the summer. I personally feel that study abroad will not only set my résumé apart but it will set me as a person apart. Being here in Spain although only for 6 weeks has been an amazing experience and I have grown not only as a person but in my understanding of a culture completely unknown to me." - Yazmin Lopez, Junior BBA Management & Marketing major & Spanish minor
"Living with a host family has been the biggest blessing. It has allowed me to see the culture first hand and feel at home. It allows my time in Spain to not feel like a vacation, but a short life apart from anything I´ve ever known before. Communicating with my family has offered great amounts of practice. I recently sat on the couch and had an emotional conversation with my host sister for more than 30 minutes. Opportunities like this allow me to make connections with other people in other cultures and practice speaking in a setting that no classroom could recreate." – Dana Layer, Senior BS Biochemistry & Spanish minor
Summer II: "This summer there were two 2607 courses taught in the Texas Tech Seville Center where students had the opportunity to learn Spanish in an immersed atmosphere and receive six hour credits in Spanish in the beautiful city of Sevilla. During their time in Spain, the students had the chance to visit several towns in Spain. One town visited was Cordoba where the students visited a 1200 years ago mosque that was turned into a Cathedral in the 14th century. The students also traveled to Italica, a small town dating back to 206 B.C established during the roman era. The city of Granada is another site visited by the students where they were given a guided tour of the Alhambra, a Muslim castle that was given to the Spanish monarchy as a gift. They also had the opportunity to visit the royal chapel where the remains of the Catholic Kings of Isabel and Fernando are located. Mid way in the course, the students took an excursion to la Rabida where life size models of the three ships that made the voyage to America under the command of Christopher Columbus are located. From la Rabida, Spanish towns located on the border of Portugal, the students were given the opportunity to travel to Lagos, Portugal, and enjoy the Portuguese beaches. The final week is spent on a four day tour of central Spain. The first stop on this tour is a 13th century castle named Calatrava. From the castle, the class made a small detour to the small town of Almagro and visited a Golden Age theatre on their way to Toledo. In the ancient town of Toledo, students visited Santo Tomé church to see the famous painting by El Greco, “El entierro Del Conde de Orgaz”. Next stop was at El Escorial, one of the four historical residences of the King of Spain. The following day, the students headed out to Segovia where they got to see an ancient aqueduct and a furnished medieval castle. As they left Segovia the classes were able to visit another historical residence of the king of Spain as they visited La Granja located in the mountains. The last day of the 4 day excursion consisted of a visit of the Prado Museum in Madrid." - Sabrina Laroussi and Alfredo Torres, GPTIs
“Spain this summer was an amazing opportunity to experience a different culture and learn a new language. I loved that from the food to our living situations we were fully engrossed in the Spanish culture. I also loved seeing different cities in Spain and learning about their history.” – Bailey Hart, Junior Nursing TTUHSC
"City & Province was a unique summer field course that began in the heart of Rome and continued with an archaeological exploration of the Roman Borders in the north of England. The first two weeks of this itinerant field school unfolded within earshot of the Forum in Rome while the next four weeks were spent learning the practices of archaeological excavation at the Roman town and fort of Binchester near Hadrian’s Wall.
From June 17th through July 1st students were accommodated in the spacious rooms of St. Johns University. During their time in Rome students visited a number of ancient sites with Prof. Corby Kelly, including: the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the baths of Caracalla and Diocletian, Vatican City--including St. Peter’s and the Sistine Chapel--and much more. On day trips outside of Rome students walked the ancient streets of Pompeii and Herculaneum--buried in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius--and explored the well-preserved neighborhoods of Rome’s port town Ostia. In the evenings students sampled wonderful Italian fare, sipped cappuccinos and enjoyed authentic gelato.
In England, students lived in St. Johns College in the old town of Durham across from the Norman cathedral, one of England’s World Heritage Sites. Monday through Friday, students worked on site at Binchester learning archaeological practices of excavation with Prof. Witmore and other faculty and staff from Durham and Stanford Universities. Beyond the trenches students learned the conservation of Roman coins, glass, and metals, ceramic typology, the full documentation of archaeological materials from context sheets to Second Life, and even how to build and fire a pottery kiln. Weekend trips included a three-mile hike along Hadrian’s Wall from Steel Rigg to Housesteads, an exploration of Wall’s End, the Newcastle Museum, Bamburgh Castle and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne." - Drs. Christopher Witmore and Corby Kelly
This trip was an amazing experience. I've always wanted to see the ancient sites of Rome. And England has convinced me that I want to be an archaeologist. - Katherine A. Roberts, Junior Classics BA
This dig experience was unlike any other I've encountered. It was interesting to see the collaboration between the County-employed archaeologists and university-based academics. This, combined with the field school students and local volunteers, made for a very productive season and great camaraderie through four weeks of hard work. – Amy Dickenson, TA Classics
"I want to just say that I thoroughly enjoyed being on the dig team at Binchester… At first I thought I just enjoyed finding old things and that’s why it was fun, but as I started to learn that almost everyone else was getting tired of digging pretty quickly I realized that I love digging just for the sake of digging and merely the idea of discovering the story of the site and learning about the past in this fashion is just amazing, especially when I am able to go off and share that story with everyone else. I would like to thank Witmore, Kelly, Ashley, and Amy for an amazing time. I have never had so much fun in my entire life and will remember every second of this trip forever." – Tanner Haynes, Junior German/History double BA
The CMLL Digital Humanities Lab (DHL) - with 14 new iMacs - is coming along and is almost completed. Each iMac has video-recording and editing software (Camtasia and iMovie) installed, with other software from Adobe, OmniGroup, etc. coming soon. Each iMac is connected to a networked color laser printer, and there is also a stand-alone poster printer available. The lab has its own Mac server that will host its website as well as a Wiki. As soon as it is completed, CMLL faculty and graduate students will be able to use the DHL for research and other projects. During the Fall 2012 semester, we will have an “open house” when everyone can visit the DHL and get to know all of its features.
"I received my Ph.D in Spanish at TTU, and later had the opportunity to teach at the college.Your CMLL news was a blessing. I especially enjoyed seeing several familiar faces. I am teaching Spanish at Jacksonville College, Jacksonville, TX. My wife works at home developing our level 2 and 3 Puertas abiertas total immersion Spanish curriculum. Keep up the great work. ¡Muchas gracias!" - David Heflin
Eligible students are encouraged to take advantage of the excellent opportunities presented by these scholarships which encompass undergraduate, graduate and study abroad studies. (see the Study Abroad article for information about SAB).
Language Learning Lab:
The Learning Language Lab expansion. (see the Language Lab article for more information)
Checks payable to Texas Tech Foundation & Memo line: Designation to CMLL Fund for Excellence
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Attn: Amy Crumley or Wendell Jeffreys
Lubbock, Texas 79409
The Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures
Texas Tech University
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Lubbock, Texas 79409-2071
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