Indiana University East School of Humanities and Social Sciences will offer a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish degree beginning fall 2016. Courses in the degree program will be offered on campus and online.
The addition of the program is part of IU East’s initiative to grow the baccalaureate and master’s degree options in order to meet the needs of the region. The degree program was approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the Indiana University Board of Trustees.
Currently, IU East offers a minor in Spanish and a Certificate in Hispanic Studies but has determined there is a need for a workforce more skilled in Spanish in the region. The B.A. in Spanish will provide students with an opportunity to acquire expertise in the Spanish language and Hispanic culture, positioning graduates well for a job market that has an increased demand regionally and nationally.
As the Hispanic community grows, so does the need for professionals in education, healthcare, business, social services, engineering, manufacturing, retail and many others, who are proficient in the language and can also act as ambassadors to foster the mutual understanding and respect among the region’s many communities.
As part of the degree program, students will be required to complete a language immersion experience, including but not limited to study abroad. IU East currently offers several overseas programs combining on-campus instruction with a one or two-week trip to Spain, Costa Rica, Argentina and the Dominican Republic; students can also travel through any of the IU-wide Study Abroad programs.
Assistant Professor of Spanish Dianne Moneypenny is the coordinator for the World Languages and Cultures program. She said the department has developed a new, innovative three-week program that will be available for 12 students to travel and stay with families in Costa Rica this May. She and Christine Nemcik, assistant professor of World Languages and Cultures and History, will lead the trip. This study abroad program will be offered every other spring.
The spring study abroad trip will allow students to combine online coursework with the travel to Costa Rica. Students will stay with families and study at the Institute for Central American Studies (ICADS) in Curridabat, Costa Rica. After returning from the trip, students will complete a research project on a topic decided in conjunction with faculty. The courses and trip are open to all IU students who have completed second semester Spanish.
“Immersion is essential to language learning,” Moneypenny said. “The World Languages and Cultures program at IU East recognizes the importance for majors and other students of Spanish to incorporate language immersion into their studies. We are committed to offering varied and meaningful contexts in which our students can interact in Spanish both inside and outside the walls of the traditional classroom.”
Scholarships from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the IU East International Studies Committee, and other funds (including Eleanor Turk, David Starr Jordan, and Allmayer-Williams) are helping students with costs of the trip, Moneypenny said.
In the fall, students will be able to travel to the Dominican Republic to work with Filter Pure. The week-long service-learning program is offered bi-annually, Moneypenny said. The trip will be led by Nemcik and Julien Simon, associate professor of World Languages and Cultures.
Students can pursue a B.A. in Spanish as a single major for careers in language-based professions (such as an interpreter or translator), as a double-major to complement other career choices (including education, business, healthcare, and social work, among others), or as preparation for graduate studies. Language and cultural learning contribute to an applicant’s resume as a differentiator from other applicants for jobs both in the region and abroad.
HSS Dean Ross Alexander said, “Not only does this innovative degree program fill a need in our community, service region, and beyond, it reflects an extensive amount of effort by Drs. Julien Simon, Dianne Moneypenny, and Christine Nemcik. It will surely benefit our students tremendously.”
Registration for fall and summer classes begins March 21. For more information on degree programs or to register, call (765) 973-8208. For more information on the Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish, contact Dianne Moneypenny, assistant professor and coordinator for the World Languages and Cultures program, at email@example.com.