October 16, 2018 at 4:06 pm

Message from the Chair | Strengthening the Undergraduate Experience

Christopher Coski, portrait outdoors

Dr.Christopher Coski

Say There Alumni Newsletter Fall 2018

By Christopher Coski
Professor & Chair of Modern Languages

Greetings! It is a pleasure to welcome everyone to the latest edition of Say There. As incoming chair, I have inherited a robust, enthusiastic, and active department from Betsy Partyka, who spent the last nine years building us up and moving us forward. While Betsy leaves me with some very large shoes to fill, I am keen to embrace the challenge in true DML spirit!

The department’s overall goal in the next few years will be to strengthen and enhance the undergraduate experience we offer. A top priority will be to complete several initiatives begun during Betsy’s tenure. We currently have three certificate programs in the works – German Studies, Translation, and Creative Writing – and I believe these projects will extend our department’s appeal to an even wider audience.

We will also explore other options for broadening our undergraduate student population base. These include online offerings, language instruction for special purposes, literature in translation and hybrid courses, study abroad enhancements, improvements in our communications network and use of social media, and strategic collaborations with other departments and programs.

This is an important time for the university, the college, and the department. With a new provost, a new interim dean, and a new department chair, we will experience a substantial change in leadership. I like to see this moment not as one of uncertainty, but rather as one of opportunity for our department. The terrain is wide open for experimenting, implementing new ideas, and marching still further down the path cut by the chairs, faculty, and students who came before us. I look forward to the journey!

Betsy sums up the past year for us:

Nine years have gone by in the blink of an eye, but I am pleased with all we have accomplished. Through thick and thin we remain united in our passion for travel, our thirst for learning new languages, experiencing new cultures, and keeping languages as an integral part of our curriculum, our lives, and our students’ futures.

The past years have been tough but glorious for the Modern Languages Department. We have seen a number of retirements, but we have also welcomed new faculty to help us move forward with our projects. We have also congratulated faculty regularly as they have been awarded tenure and promotions. We have said farewell to some study abroad programs and welcomed new ones better suited to semesters.

The Halls of Gordy continue to ring with scholarly activities, study abroad venues, and social events. The past two years saw new programs such as the “Takeover of Gordy Hall” with creative presentations and “Oh, the Places You Will Go!” with study away discussions. Last year’s Colloquium featured food, music, and scholarship, and this year sessions about translation and interpreting took us beyond our wildest imagination. An Ecuadorian shaman visited us in August and performed a traditional cleansing ritual, a faculty member from theater spoke  to us about German immigration, students and faculty shared their findings from the ACTFL conference, and so much more. We have highlighted some of these activities in Say There for your enjoyment.

As I step down from the chair position of DML, I look forward to Chris Coski’s leadership as the department moves in new and wonderful directions. Thank you for allowing me to participate in the leadership of this stellar department.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *