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 Department Overview 



“A language, of course, is not merely a set of grammatical rules or a vocabulary. It is a flash of the human spirit, the vehicle by which the soul of each particular culture comes into the material world. Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind, a watershed of thought, an ecosystem of spiritual possibilities.”
--Wade Davis, The Wayfinders (Toronto: Anansi, 2009), 3.

Modern Languages and Cultures Programs

Mission statement:

In keeping with the University mission and vision statements, students of Modern Languages and Cultures will acquire the linguistic skills and cultural knowledge that will enhance their ability to communicate effectively, to function in a global society and to respect diversity.

The department’s mission is to prepare students for the challenges of an increasingly interconnected world.  Our main goal is to enable the acquisition of world languages other than English for SRU students.  We aim to educate world citizens who will acquire linguistic skills through an intellectual process that takes into account the perspective of the target culture. Our mission thus supports the vision statement of Slippery Rock University which encourages us to excel as a caring community of lifelong learners connecting with the world.


The department uses the “Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century” set by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).  The standards in each of the five goal areas identified below include the detailed expected outcomes in the teaching and learning of all world languages. There is a solid connection between these and the Slippery Rock University’s Wide Learning Outcomes.


  • Communicate in Languages Other Than English (SRU Outcome 1).
  • Standard 1.1:  Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.
  • Standard 1.2:  Students understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics.
  • Standard 1.3:  Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.


  • Gain knowledge and understanding of other cultures (SRU Outcomes 2, 3, 4).
  • Standard 2.1:  Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the culture studied.
  • Standard 2.2:  Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the products and perspectives of the culture studied.


  • Connect with Other Disciplines and Acquire Information (SRU Outcome 5).
  • Standard 3.1:  Students reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the foreign language.
  • Standard 3.2:  Students acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the foreign language and its cultures.


  • Develop Insight into the Nature of Language and Culture (SRU Outcomes 5, 6, 7).
  • Standard 4.1:  Students demonstrate understanding of the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied and their own.
  • Standard 4.2:  Students demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own.


  • Participate in Multilingual Communities at Home & Around the World (SRU Outcomes 5, 6, 8).
  • Standard 5.1:  Students use the language both within and beyond the school setting.
  • Standard 5.2:  Students show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using the language for personal enjoyment and enrichment.


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