Texas Tech University

Issue 21

header

Message from the Chair

Pereira

Dr. Carmen Pereira
Department Chair and Professor of Spanish

This fall semester of 2019 will be sadly marked in CMLL history. We unexpectedly lost a beloved and young member of our departmental family, Dr. Kimi Nakatsukasa. In the midst of this sadness, it has been heartwarming to see the admirable solidarity of this department, who came together as one to support her family and students and honor her memory. CMLL is planning to start a scholarship in her name to help the students about whom she cared so much. Kimi, we will never forget you.

Caring and inclusiveness are hallmarks of CMLL. Many accomplishments by faculty and students during this fall semester are further proof of our department's commitment to diversity and empowerment through literacy and cultural awareness. Yerko Sepúlveda (Spanish doctoral student) received the Dr. Miguel Alvarez Research Award for promoting equity for all students at the Texas Language Education Research Conference for his presentation "A life of working with marginalized students". Three of our faculty members have been accepted in TTU's Institute for Inclusive Excellence, and two are being selected as Service-Learning Faculty Fellows. Over twenty faculty members from all CMLL programs are participating in the project Global Readiness through Language and Culture (Fall 2019-Spring 2021), which aims to facilitate more than 3.500 undergraduate students to navigate global challenges through the study and research of languages and cultures. This project is coordinated by Dr. Alec Cattell and funded by a generous grant from Texas Tech Center for Global Communication. Thanks to it, this fall we have had several speakers presenting about the highly transferable skills derived by the study of languages. A "Global Readiness Poster Exhibition" showcased the impressive undergraduate research taking place in the intermediate and upper level courses participating in the project.

Expanding this commitment for intellectual excellence to a national and international level, Dr. Susan Larson organized a landmark conference in the fall entitled "Language, Image, Power – Luso-Hispanic Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice." The conference was a resounding success, attended by some of the main scholars from the US and abroad. Nine faculty members and graduate students from the Spanish and Portuguese program contribute with presentations and roundtables. The fertile exchange of ideas that took place in this watershed conference will be recorded in an upcoming book edited by Dr. Larson.

As always, CMLL faculty and graduate students were active promoting our programs and course offerings in events such as Language and Cultures Day, which attracts high school students from our region to learn more about us through faculty talks and cultural exhibits from the different countries represented at the department, or "Pie and Coffee with the Advisors", where we showcased some of the new courses and changes in our programs to a large group of TTU advisors (Thanks to Theresa Madrid and Stephanie Santos for making a ton of delicious pies for this event!). We hosted a Study Abroad roundtable, a Passport Party for incoming freshman at the beginning of the semester and will be hosting a Winter Welcome event at the beginning of spring and a study abroad fair in early Spring. Our recruiting and academic efforts are reflected in the fact that our number of majors has increased significantly, and our department is number one in the college in graduation rates, with 80% of students graduating in 4 years. Go CMLL!

Providing truly unique academic and personal value, our study abroad programs continue to thrive. I would like to relate a remarkable testimony of the changing power of studying abroad. This fall I received a letter from Mr. Sichan Siv, United States ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council from 2001 to 2006. He also served at The White House as deputy assistant to President George H. W. Bush and at the State Department as deputy assistant secretary from 1989 to 1993. Mr. Siv was invited by Honors to give a talk on his experience as a survivor of genocide. Rula Al-Hmoud, the head of our Arabic program, met him at his talk. He told her that his dream was to learn Arabic as a 7th language. He decided to join the study abroad program in Jordan led by Ms. Al-Hmoud as his introduction to Arabic culture and language. He wrote to me and to TTU's provost and president to let us know that the experience was so exceptional and profound that learning Arabic has become his all-consuming passion. A person with such an international background and rich life can still be transformed by a study abroad experience. His example sends a strong message for our students (and alumni!) to seize this opportunity. Our faculty-led programs in Spain, Germany, France, China, Jordan or Sicily can be your life changing experience in summer 2020. You may also want to contribute for others to be able to enjoy study abroad by donating to the Lorum Stratton Study Abroad Scholarship.

This year we have said goodbye to faculty members Connie Scarborough and Steve Corbett, who have started their well-deserved retirement after many years of service. They will be much missed! And we said hello to new faculty members and instructors Britta Anderson and Alicia Luque (Spanish), James Lee (Applied Linguistics), Daniel Schindler (Classics), Yesim Dollar (Applied Linguistics), and John Hill (American Sign Languages). If you read their profiles in this newsletter you will see what wonderful and vibrant addition they have been to our department. And congratulations to all of them for having survived their first semester!

We will be busy in the spring conducting searches for Spanish (Translation/Linguistics), French (18th and 18th century) and Applied Linguistics. CMLL continues to grow and excel. It is my honor to be chair of a department that not only works very hard but has an immense heart.

Feliz Navidad!, Happy Hanukkah!, Happy Kwanzaa!, Joyeux Noel!, ASLimage,
Buone Feste e Buon Natale!, 圣诞节快乐!, Frohe Weihnachten!, Io Saturnalia!, أعياد سعيدة!, С наступающим Новым годом и Рождеством!, Boas festas!, 楽しい休暇をお過ごしください, Καλές Γιορτές!

Thank you, and warm holiday wishes to all,
Carmen