Undergraduate Student Learning Initiative

From the Department of Spanish and Portuguese

May 2, 2009

General Information

Spanish and Portuguese are the official languages of large and diverse populations in the Americas, Europe, and Africa. The major in Spanish and Portuguese responds to this geographic and cultural diversity and its rich historical background with five distinct options within the undergraduate major: four in languages and literatures: Options A; B; C, Plan 1; and C, Plan 2; and one, Option D, in languages and bilingual issues. These options are designed to prepare students for graduate work and for a wide range of careers requiring knowledge of Hispanic cultures, in such areas in the legal and medical professions, education, public health, social sciences, humanities, business, and the arts. It is particularly important for students considering a major in our department to be aware of the goals of each option and pathways toward those goals, provided by our departmental programs. Our departmental major is attracting increasing numbers of students; their process of choosing among the five options is best served by providing information that enables students to compare the goals and evaluation methods for each option.

The outlines of goals and pathways in our course options are intended to inform students of what is expected of them in each one, and thereby better equip them to choose the most appropriate option. The goals describe what we would like our majors to know and be able to do when they leave the Spanish and Portuguese program.

Information regarding areas of knowledge, skills, kinds of work required, evaluation methods, and careers for which these options prepare students, is provided below.

I.  Learning Goals for the Spanish and Portuguese Program:

Common to all five options is the goal of providing our undergraduate majors with a high level of proficiency in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing Spanish and/or Portuguese, in varying cultural contexts, with increasing emphasis on the latter two skills as students progress through the major. While lower division prerequisites emphasize the acquisition of all four skills, upper-division coursework approaches these aims through the process of addressing questions of linguistics and literary analysis in the full chronological and geographic range of Hispanic cultures. Each of the five options has a core writing component, and each includes courses designated as writing-intensive. The upper-division writing courses emphasize skill development in a subject-matter context. We see the research, organizational, and argumentative aspects of writing as skills that transfer across languages (thus Spanish and Portuguese as liberal arts majors), and also as markers of high proficiency in the target language.

It is important for students to have access to information regarding the areas of expertise, in not only geographic regions but also in the fields of literature and linguistics that enable them to become critical readers and thinkers. Students will learn to organize research projects using the full range of available sources, construct arguments, summarize positions, and present them in coherent, convincing written and oral form. The goals of our program distinguish between knowledge and skills:

Knowledge

  • Attain solid (though not necessarily flawless) proficiency in reading, writing, understanding, and speaking Spanish and/or Portuguese.
  • Recognize a variety of genres and modes of writing (fiction, poetry, theater, and essay).
  • Become conversant in the vocabulary associated with literary analysis in Spanish and/or Portuguese.
  • Be able to articulate specific connections between literary texts and the historical and cultural contexts in which they were produced.
  • Gain a critical awareness of distinctions and continuities among the literatures of the Iberian peninsula and Latin America across national and regional boundaries and historical periods.
  • Acquire the analytical resources of diverse literary approaches and theories.

Skills

  • Demonstrate the ability to interpret and analyze texts written in Spanish and/or Portuguese, depending upon the major option.
  • Develop critical approaches for the analysis of texts from a range of historical periods and regions of Latin America and the Iberian peninsula.
  • Distinguish among dialects and usages typical of diverse regions, social contexts,  and historical periods in Spain and/or Portugal, and the Americas, including usages of heritage speakers (Option D).
  • Formulate well-organized, well-supported arguments both orally and in written stylistically effective Spanish and/or Portuguese.
  • Write essays in standard academic Spanish and/or Portuguese, using appropriate vocabulary to discuss examples from specific texts.
  • Be able to distinguish among the available print and online sources and choose those that are most reliable as support for arguments in class discussion and essays.
  • Practice responsible citation of sources in essays.

The learning goals and required course work in the Department’s five distinct options for majors differ according to the geographic regions and languages studied: four in languages and literatures: Options A; B; C, Plan 1; and C, Plan 2; and one, Option D, in languages and bilingual issues. All five programs depend on distribution requirements to ensure that students are exposed to a variety of historical periods and cultural and geographical areas, and to the systematic study of linguistics.

  • Option A, the most traditional and flexible, centers on Spanish language and literature in both Spain and Spanish America, and is recommended for future high school Spanish teachers and future graduate students in Hispanic Languages and Literatures.
  • Option B, focusing on the language and culture of Portugal and Brazil, requires the study of Portuguese with optional knowledge of Spanish.
  • Option C, Plan 1, focusing on the Iberian peninsula (Portugal and Spain, including Catalonia), requires knowledge of Spanish and either Portuguese or Catalan.
  • Option C, Plan 2 requires both Spanish and Portuguese for its Latin American focus. This option is recommended for students interested in pursuing international careers in Latin America.
  • Option D focuses on issues of language variation, languages in contact, and bilingualism, and provides students with knowledge of social aspects of language use in Hispanic communities.

Paths to Goals in the Spanish and Portuguese Program:

The detailed outline below contains the recommended sequences of classes for each option in the Spanish and Portuguese major, and indicates where in the major program we expect students to master the types of knowledge and skills we intend for our graduating seniors to acquire.

Writing-Intensive Courses in the Spanish and Portuguese program:

Each semester, on a rotating basis, two upper-division classes in Spanish will be designated as writing intensive, with specific emphasis on composition skills. The foundational courses for each option include grammar and composition courses, and writing-intensive courses, as specified in the following outline:

Prerequisites to Declaring Major

  • Options A, C (Plans 1 and 2), & D:
    • Spanish 1, 2, 3, 4: Spanish language
    • Spanish 25: Reading and Analysis of Literary Texts
  • Option B:
    • Portuguese 11 and 12: Elementary Portuguese
      or
      Portuguese 101A & B, and 102: Portuguese Language and Literature for Advanced Students

Foundational Courses

  • Options A, C, Plans  1 and 2, and D
    • Spanish 102 A  Advanced Grammar and Composition
    • Spanish 135W Writing-intensive course in Hispanic Literature
  • Option B: Luso-Brazilian Language and Literature
    • Portuguese 103,  Advanced grammar & composition
  • Option C, Plan 2: Latin American Literatures (Brazil and Spanish America)
    • Portuguese 101A & B: Portuguese for Advanced Students
  • Option D: Hispanic Languages and Bilingual Issues
    • Spanish 100: Introduction to Spanish Linguistics

Core Courses Specific to Each Option (Upper Division)

  • Option A (Spain and Spanish America)
    • Spanish Literature: two courses:
      • One pre-1700 (Medieval or Golden Age)
      • One post-1700 (Modern)
    • Spanish-American literature: two courses, any period or region
    • Spanish linguistics or theoretical approaches to literature: one course
    • Spanish linguistics or literature: three courses.
  • Option B (Luso-Brazilian)
    • Brazilian Literature: two courses: Portuguese 103 & 104 and one other course.
    • Survey of Portuguese Literature
    • Portuguese literature: one course in addition to survey
    • Portuguese linguistics or theoretical approaches to literature: one course
    • Four upper-division courses in Brazilian, Portuguese, or related fields of Spanish or Spanish-American literature, linguistics, or culture
  • Option C, Plan 1: Iberian Language and Literature
    • Portuguese 101A & B or Catalan 101: one course for advanced students
    • Spanish literature: one course
    • Portuguese or Catalan literature: one course
    • Spanish, Portuguese, or Catalan language, literature, linguistics, or culture: five courses.
  • Option C, Plan 2: Latin American Literatures (Brazil and Spanish America)
    • Spanish American literature: one course
    • Brazilian literature: one course
    • Spanish or Portuguese language or linguistics, and/or Brazilian or Spanish-American literature or culture: five courses.
  • Option D: Hispanic Languages and Bilingual Issues
    • Spanish linguistics (Phonetics and Phonology, Language and Style, or Dialectology) two courses:
    • Spanish syntax or Spanish/English contrastive analysis: one course
    • Spanish linguistics, dealing with language variation: one course
    • Literature and/or culture: two courses:
    • Latin American literature: one course.
    • Latin American or Peninsular literature and/or culture , or Spanish 165AC: Coexistence and Conflict: Amerindian, English, and Spanish in the Southwest
    • Three courses taken outside the department:
      • Issues of Bilingualism: one course
      • U.S. Hispanic literature and/or culture: one course
      • One other course specifically related to this major.

Capstone courses

The undergraduate program in Spanish and Portuguese offers two kinds of courses for seniors to complete their major programs:

  • Spanish 185 Senior Research Seminar, or
  • Spanish H195 A-B Year-long Honors Thesis

Evaluation of goals

All methods of evaluation require presentation of work in writing or orally in Spanish or Portuguese:

  • Student papers (essays and research papers),
  • Oral presentations by students in class
  • Quizzes, oral or written, during the semester
  • Final examinations: Short answers and essays discussing concepts (rather than multiple-choice or T-F examinations).

 

GOAL Pre-requisites Foundational Courses First 2 semesters of Option Requirements Further Option Requirements
Recognize a variety of genres and modes of writing(fiction, poetry, theater, and essay). Begin Extend
Become conversant in the vocabulary associated with literary analysis in Spanish and/or Portuguese. Begin Extend Extend
Connect literary texts with the historical and cultural contexts in which they were produced. Begin Extend
Gain a critical awareness of distinctions and connections among the literatures of the Iberian peninsula and Latin America. Begin Extend
Acquire the analytical resources of diverse literary approaches and theories. Begin Extend Extend
SKILL
Demonstrate the ability to interpret and analyze texts written in Spanish, Portuguese or Catalan. Begin Extend Extend
Develop critical approaches appropriate to texts from a range of historical periods and regions of Latin America and the Iberian peninsula. Begin Extend Extend
Distinguish among dialects and usages typical of diverse regions, social contexts, and historical periods in Spain and the Americas, including usages of heritage speakers (Opt. D). Begin Extend Extend
Formulate and present, orally and in writing, well-organized, well-supported arguments in stylistically effective Spanish or Portuguese. Begin Extend Extend Extend
Practice responsible citation of sources in essays. Begin Extend Extend

 

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