Mercedes Tasende, Chair
Main Office: 410 Sprau Tower
Telephone: (269) 387-3001
Fax: (269) 387-3103
Mariola Pérez de la Cruz
The Department of Spanish offers courses in Spanish language at all levels, as well as courses in culture, literature, and linguistics. In language courses emphasis is placed on developing practical communication skills that will be of interest and value to students in a wide variety of disciplines and careers. Culture courses, through the use of authentic materials in Spanish, provide knowledge and insights into the life of the Spanish-speaking people of Spain, Spanish America, and the United States. Courses in literature and linguistics, at intermediate and advanced levels, facilitate a deeper understanding of both language and culture.
Students who have studied Spanish in high school or who have learned Spanish through travel or residence abroad must take a placement evaluation before enrolling in their first Spanish class at Western Michigan University. In addition to being used to place students in the proper class, the evaluation may serve to exempt students from foreign language requirements that exist for the College of Arts and Sciences or for specific major programs. Students have two placement options available: (1) An Online Placement Exam and (2) a Monitored Test-Out Exam. The Online Placement Exam is designed to help students determine which WMU language course is appropriate for their level of preparedness. It cannot be used to satisfy any foreign language requirement nor are any credits awarded on the basis of the results. The Monitored Test-Out Exam, on the other hand, may be taken by students who wish to try to place out of the foreign language requirements that exist for majors or minors in certain programs at WMU or for all students in the College of Arts and Sciences. The monitored exam may be taken only once and must be taken before students begin their first class in that language at WMU. Students may be awarded as many as four hours of retroactive credit if they place at the SPAN 2010-level and eight hours if they place at the 3000-level.
Transfer students who have successfully completed Spanish courses at community colleges or four-year colleges do not need to take the placement evaluation at Western Michigan University. They should ascertain the WMU equivalent for the courses taken at the other institution and then enroll in the next course in the sequence. Students who are unsure about equivalencies should check with the Spanish advisor or the department chair before enrolling in a particular course.
Native speakers of Spanish are not required to take the placement evaluation. They must, however, consult with a Spanish advisor or the department chair before registering for classes.
Students are strongly encouraged to study in a Spanish-speaking country as part of their undergraduate program. Western Michigan University offers excellent, affordable programs in Querétaro (Mexico), Burgos (Spain), and Santander (Spain). Some scholarships are available. Students interested in receiving Spanish credit for study abroad must consult with one of the Spanish study abroad advisors well in advance of such study in order to plan properly and to obtain approval.
Majors and Minors
Given the increasing importance of Spanish as an international language and within the United States, many students wish to take courses beyond the intermediate level. We encourage them to do so, whether or not they intend to major or minor in the language. It is quite common for students who major or minor in Spanish to have an additional major or minor in a related or entirely different field. All students having questions about a Spanish major or minor are welcome to speak with an advisor during walk-in hours (for specific hours, check with the department secretary or see www.wmich.edu/spanish).
As soon as students decide to major or minor in Spanish, they should confer with the Spanish advisor in order to plan their program. Major slips are required for all majors. Minor slips are required for all minors. Only courses in which a grade of “C” or better is obtained can be counted toward a major or minor.
Students who complete a major or minor in Spanish may be eligible for some retroactive credit based on the results of the placement examination. Questions about this matter should be referred to the Spanish advisor or department chair.
Teaching certification is approved for majors or minors in Spanish in secondary and middle school education. A course in the methods of teaching Spanish is required for all teaching majors and minors.
Baccalaureate-Level Writing Requirement for Majors
Students who have chosen to major in Spanish will satisfy the Baccalaureate-Level Writing Requirement by successfully completing LANG 3750: Foreign Literature in English Translation.
Residency Requirement for Majors and Minors in Spanish
Majors in Spanish must take at least five courses (of the total required for the major) on campus at Western Michigan University. These five courses must be at the 2000-level or above. At least two of the five must be 4000- or 5000-level classes. Minors in Spanish must take at least four courses (of the total required for the minor) on campus at Western Michigan University. These four courses must be at the 2000-level or above. At least one of the four must be above SPAN 3170.
Credits for language study at a foreign university may be granted on official proof that the student has completed the course work successfully.