Our mission

Our mission is to help students achieve an international perspective that enhances their ability to question critically, think logically, and communicate clearly in a global environment. Through our commitment to excellence in research, teaching, and service, including the mentoring of students and colleagues, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese expands knowledge of the languages, literatures, and cultures of the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America and the Caribbean, Lusophone Africa, and the U.S.

We train graduate and undergraduate students through multidisciplinary and innovative approaches to the study of linguistics, literature, and culture while also emphasizing global awareness and sensitivity to diversity of background and experience. We work together in the classroom and in the community to develop a better understanding of and respect for one another and for the cultures in which language is embedded. In line with our mission, we have a history of actively promoting serious academic study abroad.

Language acquisition presupposes an understanding of the cultural contexts in which language is spoken and proficiency is fostered through engagement in discipline-specific courses in the target language. Language study also provides us with a means of communicating with others, both within and outside of the U.S., and of strengthening cultural literacy and intercultural understanding.

In our department, students and faculty engage constantly with questions of identity and difference, and explore the histories and contexts in which language and culture exist and change. The study of language, literature, and linguistics is thus a cornerstone of both a liberal arts education and of preparing global citizens to make their way in the world, respond creatively to new challenges, and flourish in a variety of careers.

Statement on inclusiveness

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese is a community of scholars, teachers, students, and staff from a wide range of cultures, nationalities, ethnicities, races, and social backgrounds. We are committed to diversity and non-discrimination, and to maintaining an environment of inclusiveness and respect. We also promote the inclusion of varied opinions in our classrooms and interactions with one another, and the use of civil discourse to achieve these goals.