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About Us

The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures boasts a faculty that is committed to creating inclusive classroom environments that support many different modes of language learning through innovative pedagogical practices.  In their advanced seminars, the faculty often draw on their own research to make the study of language, culture, and literature come alive for undergraduate and graduate students.

Advisory Board

The Foreign Language Advisory Board’s mission is to support, advise, and promote the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures at UMKC in its efforts better to serve the students of UMKC as well as our city, state, region, and nation.

The main purposes of the advisory board are to:
• Advise the Department on issues that impact mission and strategy;
• Serve as a sounding board on planning issues, new programs, and activities;
• Identify opportunities for students to interact with the community, businesses, and organizations, through internships, mentoring, and experiential learning;
• Serve as an advocate for the department’s interests within the University and the greater community;
• Assist in acquiring resources and fundraising in support of the department’s mission.

As the board grows in membership, members will be taking responsibility for specific aspects of the mission, such as helping to develop internships for FLL students, or fundraising, or advocacy.

UMKC Representative who serve on this board:

Dr. Alberto Villamandos, Department Chair of Foreign Languages and Literatures, UMKC

Dr. Scott Baker, Associate Professor and German Advisor, Director of the Bachelor of Liberal Arts Program (BLA)

Tammy Shelton, Administrative Assistant for Foreign Languages and Literatures, UMKC, (staff liaison)

Become a Student

Our Global World

Our world is becoming smaller. We can travel almost anywhere quickly and with ease. And we can communicate with people virtually everywhere with a few keystrokes or an inexpensive phone call. And so our opportunities are ever expanding to learn about other cultures, understand how other people live and love, and analyze why people do what they do. It is for precisely these reasons that employers want to hire people who speak a foreign language.

Why Study a Foreign Language?

Studying a foreign language allows us a privileged perspective on another culture, provides an entryway to understanding how other people conceive of the world. But more than that, studying a foreign language will help you to better write and speak your native tongue, allow you to appreciate your own and other cultures’ artistic productions, and give you a better understanding into your cultural practices. Employers want to hire graduates who can problem solve, work in a team, communicate well, and understand abstract ideas. These are the precise skills that foreign language students along with fluency in their target language.

Buenos Aires

Beautiful Buenos Aires, Argentina is home to this 6-week summer program, held every other summer, even years. Students stay with host families and participate in a 6-week program at the Universidad de Belgrano in addition to cultural visits and activities such as tango dancing.

CAS Language Requirement

Bachelor of arts students in the College of Arts and Sciences are required to demonstrate competence at the third-semester level of a foreign language. Details on this requirement, the exemptions, and ways to fulfill it can be found here.

Celebrating our 2020 Seniors – Jessica Wikle

French Languages and Literatures BA

Congratulations to senior Jessica Wikle who will begin a Ph.D. in French Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the fall!
Jessica’s comments upon graduating from UMKC  “I really loved the university and the professors and I am very excited to start my graduate studies.”
We wish Jessica the best in her futher endeavors.
Félicitations et bonne continuation, Jessica!

Contact Us

If you have questions about our programs or want to know more about studying French, Spanish or German at UMKC, please contact us!

Campus Location

The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures is located in beautiful Scofield Hall, in the center of UMKC’s Volker Campus. You can find our building and parking information on our online campus maps.

Physical Address

211 Scofield Hall
711 E. 51st Street
Kansas City, MO 64110

Phone: 816-235-1311

E-mail: frn-lg@umkc.edu

Mailing Address

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures
University of Missouri-Kansas City
211 Scofield Hall
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499

Degree Programs

The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures offers undergraduate students the possibility of earning a Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Literatures with an emphasis in French, Spanish, International Studies or Classics. We also offer options to complete an 18-credit undergraduate minor in French, German, German Studies or Spanish. Graduate students can choose to complete a Masters in Romance Languages with an emphasis in French or Spanish. More information on all of these options can be found on the pages to the left.

Department Events

International Studies Kick Off

Join us to learn more about this new degree offered through the Departments of Foreign Languages and Political Science. Games and refreshments will be provided

 

March 11, 2020 @ 1 p.m.

Scofield Hall, room 109

 

Faculty-Led Summer Programs

The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures offers a summer study abroad programs in Lyon, France;  Málaga, Spain; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Our summer programs are six weeks in length and can be taken for nine credit hours (which all count towards the major or minor). We encourage students to take advantage of our programs and consider them a significant step to earning a degree in Languages and Literatures, whether a minor, B.A. or M.A. The study abroad experience not only greatly improves a student’s command and fluency in a language, it is also key to understanding the cultural contexts of the languages we study.

Semester and Year-Long Programs

For information on the other exchange programs available at UMKC, especially semester- and year-long programs, contact International Academic Programs in the Atterbury Student Success Center.

Faculty/Staff Directory

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Fight Against Racism Takes Up the Tools of History

The Festival of the Archers, Flanders (1493), Royal museum of fine arts, AntwerpResearchers reveal the exploitation of medieval imagery and language by white supremacists

White Nationalists and neo-Nazis have misused medieval imagery and language to support their cause. Faculty from the University of Missouri-Kansas City are working to reveal the true histories and explore the connections between contemporary issues and medieval concepts of race, gender and identity. Continue reading

Spanish

Alumni of the M.A. in Romance Languages: Spanish Emphasis teach Spanish language and Hispanic culture in K-12 schools throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area and around the country. Other FLL graduates have gone on to earn doctorates in Spanish  and Latin American literature and are employed at colleges and universities around the nation. Some former Masters students use their Spanish skills in any number of fields from translation to social services to medicine to law.

Students take 30-graduate credits (of which up to nine units can be 400-level undergraduate credits) and an oral and written Masters exam. They enjoy individualized advising throughout the entire program and some students may qualify to teach language courses while enrolled in the program.

Consult the UMKC catalogue for detailed information on the M.A. in Romance Languages: Spanish Emphasis or contact the graduate advisor, Dr. Louis Imperiale for further information.

Graduate Admissions

If you are considering applying to do a Masters in Romance Languages, please contact the appropriate graduate advisor first:

French Emphasis: Prof. Nacer Khelouz

Spanish Emphasis: Prof. Louis Imperiale

After consulting with the advisor, please apply!

Foreign Language Club

Cinco de Mayo celebrations, German film festivals, crêpe making, foreign language open-mic nights and more! Join the Foreign Language Club and get to know students of many different nationalities whose passion for learning and speaking foreign languages unites them. The Foreign Language Club also provides UMKC students with great opportunities to learn leadership skills, organize events, and meet students from all over campus.  For more information, please contact the Foreign Language Club advisor Dr. Matthew Edwards

French

The program in French is designed for students interested in French language and literature in addition to cultural, social, political, and historical issues in France and Francophone countries. The variety of the section’s offerings complements the diversity of students’ interests and reflects the spectrum of research fields among the French faculty, from medieval studies to World War II to the early Algerian novel and French linguistics. There is also a focus on interdisciplinarity with several cross-listed classes. A balance is struck between teaching fresh topics and providing a solid foundation in the basic tools needed for literary and cultural analysis. Students are encouraged to enhance their language skills on summer study abroad and academic-year exchange programs.

Bachelor of Arts: Languages and Literatures

Students who choose to major in Languages and Literatures with a French emphasis will take ten courses (30 credits) above the 200 level and six additional credits of breadth courses. More information on the specific major requirements and the degree requirements more generally can be found here.

Minor in French

Many students choose to minor in French along with their primary major. The minor consists of six courses (18 credits) beyond the 200 level, of which 12 credits must be at the 300 or 400 level. More information on the requirements for the French minor can be found here.

French Undergraduate Advisor

Contact Dr. Gayle Levy for more information and major advising.

French

MA students in French develop the skills and Knowledge necessary for careers in teaching, international affairs including the foreign service, cultural services, writing and translating, or further study at the doctoral level.

MA students in French work closely with award-winning faculty throughout their graduate studies. With courses in French and Francophone literature, film, and culture, as well as in French linguistics and stylistics, the program responds to students’ broad range of interests, while developing transferable, professional skills in research, analysis, and communication. Requirements and tools for planning your degree can be found in the UMKC Catalog.   For more information, contact the MA Advisor.

 

 

German and Classics

German

Students who choose to study German at UMKC will learn the German language and study German and Austrian literature, culture, and politics. The German faculty teach courses and do research in a variety of disciplines including language pedagogy and literary theory in addition to German theater, film, and music.  Courses in the German program are always innovative, inspiring, and interdisciplinary!

Minor in German

Many students choose to minor in German along with their primary major. The minor consists of six courses (18 credits) beyond the 200 level, of which 12 credits must be at the 300 or 400 level. More information on the requirements for the German minor can be found here.

Minor in German Studies

For students interested in the cultures and histories of the German=speaking countries, a minor in German Studies combines some language learning with coursework across many disciplines. Students must take two courses (6 credits) in the German language at any level, and may take more than two; 9 credits must be in coursework at the 300-level or above. More information on the requirements for the German Studies minor can be found here.

German Undergraduate Advisor

Contact Dr. Scott Baker for more information and major advising.

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Classics

Students who choose to pursue a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Languages and Literatures with an emphasis in Classics will study ancient Greek and Latin texts with professors hailing from the departments of English, History, Art History, and Anthropology. For more information on this truly interdisciplinary program, go to the Classical and Ancient Studies Program.

Classics Undergraduate Advisor

Contact Dr. Jeff Rydberg-Cox for more information and major advising.

Graduate Options

The Master of Arts in Romance Languages will prepare you to teach, to pursue a more advanced degree in French, Spanish, or Education or simply allow you to further your foreign languages studies. Students choose an emphasis in either French or Spanish. Most of the classes are taught one evening per week, which allows students with full-time jobs to pursue their dreams.

International Studies

The International Studies program fosters cultural and political literacy while also developing foreign language proficiency. Students will advance their language skills in French, German or Spanish, and gain knowledge of political structures and international relations in general and in a global region of their choice. The program straddles both Foreign Languages and Political Science departments while also offering students a broad array of interdisciplinary courses across several other departments. Intercultural competencies form the core of the program, and students are required to take part in a study abroad program or do an internship in a local organization or business that has international connections. If you are interested in the world beyond the United States, this program is for you!

Bachelor of Arts: International Studies

Students who choose to major in Languages and Literatures with a French emphasis will take twelve courses (36 credits) above the 200 level. More information on the specific major requirements and the degree requirements more generally can be found here.

International Studies Undergraduate Advisor

Contact Dr. Scott Baker for more information and major advising.

Language Resource Center

Location in the Miller Nichols Library Center, rm. 422

Currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Please check back for more information.

 

The Language Resource Center is available to all UMKC students.  We provide a state of the art study center where students can complete the web-based and interactive audio-visual requirements for their foreign language courses. The language resources include: a computer lab equipped with web cams and headsets with microphones.  You will need your student id to check out headsets to be used in the language lab area.  This lab space is shared with both the Math and Biological Sciences Departments.  Student assistants will be available during scheduled lab hours to help with equipment check out and computer access.

Contact Information:

Foreign Languages and Literatures Department
211 Scofield Hall
Phone:  816-235-1311

 

Lyon

Lyon, the second largest city and gastronomic capital of France, serves as the backdrop for this study abroad experience. While attending this 6-week summer program, students stay with host families and study at the Centre International d’Etudes Françaises (C.I.E.F.) at the Université Lumière Lyon II.

Málaga

 

Málaga, Spain is the historically and culturally rich location for this 6-week summer program, which is located in southern Spain on the Mediterranean coast. Students stay with host families while studying at the Escuela Internacional de Español, University of Malaga . Included activities will be weekend and day excursions to Seville, Cordoba, and Granada.

Meet Our Students

Foreign Languages and Literatures students at UMKC come from all over the country. Get to know our students and you’ll know what our programs are all about.

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Celebrating Our 2020 Graduating Seniors

Molly Gilstrap – Bachelors of Arts in Languages and Literatures – Spanish with a dual degree in Computer

Molly shares some of her experiences at UMKC in the following video, along with her plans for the future

http://umkc.box.com/s/53nkiccevogp3l1uchblv5au99jtmudp

 

 


New Literary Magazine in Spanish for Students and the Community

Since October 2019, students interested in creative writing and the arts can participate y contribute to the new literary magazine in Spanish on campus, Baladí. This online publication still keeps the look of a print fanzine, and in its pages, readers can find poems, short stories, and illustrations from contributors from around the world. Do you want to publish in our magazine? Please send an email to Dr. Villamandos
You can find the issues here:

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Spring 2020 Graduating Senior – Jessica Wikle

Congratulations to senior Jessica Wikle who will begin a Ph.D. in French Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the fall!
Jessica’s comments upon graduating from UMKC  “I really loved the university and the professors and I am very excited to start my graduate studies.”
We wish Jessica the best in her futher endeavors.
Félicitations et bonne continuation, Jessica!
_____________________________________________

Grace St. Pierre

     Félicitations à Grace St. Pierre who is the first UMKC student to win one of only two annual American Society of the French Academic Palms (ASFAP) summer scholarships. She will use the $4000 scholarship to participate in UMKC’s six-week Lyon Study Abroad program with Dr. Levy this summer.

Grace is a sophomore Honors College student majoring in Nursing with a minor in French. She has been studying French since middle school and was drawn to the language originally because it allowed her to connect with Congolese immigrants attending her church in her hometown of St. Louis. She knows that French will be very useful as she pursues her dream to become a nurse.

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Samuel Lim wants to lead a life of learning and teaching

Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Literatures – French, 2018

Samuel Lim at commencement with Diploma.

Why did you choose UMKC?

I transferred here in 2015 to study with my voice teacher. I originally was a voice performance major, but realized I was also very interested in language and cultural identity so I decided to switch to French language and literature.

What are the challenges and benefits of the program?

The field is very interdisciplinary so you have to be able to navigate research in literature, linguistics and the other social sciences. If you learn to navigate these fields, you can explore so many perspectives of the human experience.

You just graduated. What’s next?

I’m part of Teach for America in Atlanta, where I’ll be teaching high-school social studies. While I’m there, I’ll be applying to graduate school for doctoral programs in history and French. I hope to become a university professor and work in student affairs


Gabrielle

Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Literatures – Spanish, 2016

Why did you choose UMKC?

I chose UMKC to stay close to family and friends. I grew up in Lee’s Summit and graduated from Lee’s Summit North.

Why did you choose Spanish?

I chose Foreign Languages and Literatures – Spanish to learn the language of my family. English was the language of my household growing up, but with the majority of my family having Spanish as their first language, it was important to me to be able to communicate with them.

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

I have learned quite a lot. I did not completely apply myself during my first round at UMKC. My grades were not a priority, and I was not involved on campus. I dropped out of UMKC in 2011 following the study abroad program to Granada, Spain. Since dropping out I came out to my family, got sober, got engaged, bought a house, married and returned to school. Upon returning to UMKC in fall 2015, I made it a point to be more involved and learn about all of the resources available to students on campus. I became involved with LGBTQIA+ Programs & Services and helped start UMKC’s collegiate recovery community called RooCovery. With LGBTQIA+ Programs and Services I was able to attend MBLGTACC (the nation’s largest LGBTQIA college conference) 2015 at Purdue University.

My work with starting RooCovery provided me a job opportunity with the Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) housed in the School of Nursing and Health Studies on Hospital Hill. With this position, I was able to attend the 7th National Collegiate Recovery Conference in April 2016 as both a representative for UMKC and ATTC.

Are you a first generation college student?

Yes, I am. Honestly, at first, it felt like a lot of pressure. I grew up hearing “go to college,” but with little to no guidance on the process. As a recent transfer to UMKC in 2010, people would ask me what I was going to school for and I would respond, “my parents.” Now that I have returned to UMKC for my own personal accomplishment, it feels great. I also have a better understanding as to why my parents pushed it so much.

Gabrielle holding her sobriety coin.

What are the challenges of the Spanish program?

The challenges I face in the program are more personal, and it is doubting my ability to speak Spanish. Growing up with English as my first language in a family that learned Spanish as their first language has provided many obstacles in learning a language I feel I should already know.

What are the benefits of the Spanish program?

The benefits of the program are the numerous study abroad opportunities that increase fluency and cultural awareness through immersion. My college program has inspired me to use Spanish to help families like mine communicate more effectively in health care settings especially as it relates to mental health.

Placement Exam

The Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures STRONGLY encourages all students who have studied the language previously to take the placement exam before enrolling in their first French, German or Spanish course at UMKC.

The exam is on-line, and only takes 10-20 minutes. It may be taken from any Internet-connected computer using the site name and password (provided below). Students placing significantly above the baseline score for 4th semester (score of 403 or greater) and students who score at the extremes of an indicated range should consult an advisor in the language for appropriate placement.

Instructions for taking the Placement Test

1. Go to the following URL: UMKC Placement Test
2. Create your login account.
3. Select your language from the available tests.
4. Fill in the requested information and take the test (15- 30 minutes long). Note the instructions for resuming an interrupted test or viewing your previous score.
NOTE: As with other standardized tests, various factors can affect your score. The results are valid under normal circumstances, and only if you provide honest, non-contradictory answers. If you disagree with the results, you may try again (a different version is offered every time). You may also consult with a Foreign Language advisor.

Placement Scores

French
below 281: French 110 (1st semester French)
281 – 345: French 120 (2nd semester French)
346 – 402: French 211 (3rd semester French)
above 403: French 221 or above (4th semester French), consult an advisor

German
below 328: German 110 (1st semester German)
328 – 416: German 120 (2nd semester German)
417 – 547: German 211 (3rd semester German)
above 548: German 221 or above (4th semester German), consult an advisor

Spanish
below 296: Spanish 110 (1st semester Spanish)
296 – 355: Spanish 120 (2nd semester Spanish)
356 – 439 : Spanish 211 (3rd semester Spanish)
above 440: Spanish 221 or above (4th semester Spanish), consult an advisor

Spanish

The program in Spanish is designed for students interested in Spanish language and Iberian, Latin American, and South American culture, history, and politics. The Spanish faculty offers courses and conducts research on topics that span the Medieval Spain to Contemporary Latin America.   Courses are often interdisciplinary and always innovative and engaging. Students are encouraged to enhance their language skills on faculty-led summer study abroad programs to Buenos Aires or Malaga and academic-year exchange programs.

Bachelor of Arts in Spanish

Students who choose to major in Languages and Literatures with a Spanish emphasis will take ten courses (30 credits) above the 200 level and two additional breadth courses. More information on the specific major requirements and the degree requirements can be found here.

Minor in Spanish

Many students choose to minor in Spanish along with their primary major. The minor consists of six courses (18 credits) beyond the 200 level, of which 12 credits must be at the 300 or 400 level. More information on the requirements for the Spanish minor can be found here.

Spanish Undergraduate Advisor

Contact Dr. Alberto Villamandos for more information and major advising.

Student Resources

Our students are the heart and soul of our department. Here you will find information that will help you decide what course to take in our department. Additionally, you can learn about the activities organized by the Foreign Language Club.

Need to take our placement exam to help you figure out what language course you should enroll in?
Need information on the CAS language requirement?

That information and more can be found at the links above.

Study Abroad

Studying in a foreign country is one of the most powerful experiences anyone can have. As one of our graduates put so well, “You will never regret having studied abroad. However, in ten years you will definitely regret NOT having studied abroad!” UMKC offers faculty-led summer study abroad programs to Argentina, France, and Spain. And we can help you find the semester- or year-long program that fits your needs.

Two UMKC French Alums Receive Fund for Teachers Grants

Three teachers in Independence, Missouri, hold signs about their 2018 Fund for Teachers grantsTwo UMKC French alumni, Katy Foudree Owens and Brandi Pruente have been awarded Fund for Teachers Grants to attend the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) congress in Martinique this summer.

The AATF convention is an immersion opportunity allowing educators to work on their French language skills while learning more about teaching practices.

“We in the Foreign Languages and Literatures Department, particularly in French, are thrilled for their success,” said UMKC French professor Dr. Kathy Krause. Continue reading

Undergraduate Advising

The College of Arts and Sciences’ dual advising system of general/professional advisors and department advisors helps students achieve academic success.

The faculty of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures encourages all students to take full advantage of the advising opportunities offered at UMKC by seeing both their general advisor and major advisor once a semester.

Mallory Scott Whitehouse is the CAS general advisor for students in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

Foreign Languages and Literatures Undergraduate Advisors

Dr. Gayle Levy (French)

Dr. Scott Baker (German)

Dr. Matthew Edwards (Spanish)

Foreign Languages and Literatures Graduate Advisors

Dr. Nacer Khelouz (French)

Dr. Louis Imperiale (Spanish)

Why Foreign Languages and Literatures?

Students majoring in Languages and Literatures will have the opportunity to take courses from nationally and internationally known faculty. Courses are small (10-15 students on average) and taught using innovative pedagogies. Our graduates have gone on to work in almost every field you can think of: academia, law, business, translation, technology, medicine, education, the applied and performing arts–and they all attest to the importance of knowing a foreign language. Learning a foreign language will allow you to be more competitive in an increasingly globalized world. You will write and speak better (even in English!), be more competitive for jobs, and know how to interact with people from other cultures.

Internships in Foreign Languages

Students in the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures have a number of opportunities for internships in the Kansas City area. Students considering a career in teaching can find internship opportunities with the Kansas City Public Schools and several charter schools, including University Academy and Académie Lafayette. For those who want to explore ways in which their language skills and cultural knowledge can lead to a career other than teaching, UMKC students have done internships with a number of Kansas City non-profit organizations, including the International Relations Council and the Alliance Française de Kansas City.

Opportunities for internships and deadlines for applications are regularly posted on the Foreign Languages and Literatures on-line messageboards. Students are also encouraged to seek out internships relevant to their interests and future plans. See the undergraduate advisor in your language, or contact Dr. Alberto Villamandos for teaching internships and Dr. Kathy Krause for non-teaching internships.