The German Studies Program at Michigan State University in the College of Arts and Letters is uniquely situated to provide a humanist dimension for international and global studies. The program provides effective learning environments for students and offers a variety of curricular and co-curricular experiences designed to enhance both the academic and pre-professional experience. This program has led the way among language programs at MSU as well as other peer institutions in its close attention to curricular review and revision at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. MSU faculty members mentor students in curriculum-based research projects, college-based research, and university research forums.
The German Studies Program offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees, and is committed to an inclusive model of German Studies that integrates the study of language, literature, and culture. The German faculty is nationally recognized for their contributions in the fields of literary, cultural, linguistic, and pedagogical scholarship.
The undergraduate degree program integrates language instruction into all levels of the curriculum. Students are encouraged to combine their study of German language and culture with other fields, through the additional major or double degree options, or with Teacher Education. The third-year Business German sequence is of particular interest to many students. Four distinct study abroad options and internships help students immerse themselves in the language and culture for a summer, a semester, or a full academic year. Many funding opportunities exist to support those students.
Graduate studies in German at MSU reflect a constant process of rethinking not only the changing face of German Studies scholarship and academia, but also the needs and demands of students. The curriculum aims to provide students with a critical understanding of the field of German Studies in the digital age. The program includes the study of literature, culture, language and pedagogy within the context of the production and dissemination of knowledge via media and technology. The program emphasizes an innovative integration of curricular and co-curricular activities in the comprehensive training of students in research, teaching, service, and outreach for academic and non-academic employment in the twenty-first century.
The German Section in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at Western Washington University is a well established, growing program — from 12 majors in 2001, to over 40 today.
The program prepares students for success in their future professional lives through a well-balanced, stimulating and intellectually rigorous approach. Students acquire vital communication, literary, and cultural analysis skills. The carefully crafted curriculum is standards-based, reflects current methodology, allowing for smooth articulation both between instructional levels and with secondary and post-graduate instruction.
The program meets the needs of students through small classes, tailored instruction, and independent study opportunities. Faculty advising and ongoing mentoring, along with thoughtful use of media and technology, guarantee student success.
The curriculum is evaluated and developed on an ongoing basis, using various formative and summative assessments, including student feedback. The LinguaFolio self-assessment from the National Council of State Supervisors for Language is used, and courses at all levels have been redesigned with carefully delineated targeted student outcomes. To accommodate student learning styles, a variety of presentation formats and activities are used, integrating media, technology, and authentic materials representing the diversity of the German-speaking world.
The program provides numerous extracurricular activities to enhance the German learning experience, which combine both social and learning activities. Western Washington’s students are highly successful in competitive scholarship, internship, and study abroad opportunities.
The Department of German Studies at Emory University is bucking the trend with increasing enrollments and high retention rates. Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the university serves nearly 14,000 students. The German Studies program offers both a major and minor.
The faculty’s commitment to developing competent and culturally literate students of German with a focus on both teaching and research is evident in its recognition by national and international granting agencies. The department also has strong interdisciplinary connections to other departments including History, Philosophy, Music, Film Studies, and the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies.
Particularly impressive is Emory’s newly designed and integrated curriculum, a recent collaborative departmental project. Central to the reform is conquering the divide between language and content courses. The new curriculum assigns a particular type of discourse to each of the four undergraduate years as well as specific themes, which serve as resources for language development and gateways to culture. The curriculum is carefully articulated so students attain advanced proficiencies which allow them to participate in a range of intellectual and professional contexts.
On campus, students can have an immersion experience by living in the German House. Emory also provides students with study abroad opportunities in Berlin, Vienna and Freiburg. During the summer, students can participate in the highly successful Vienna Study Abroad Program, Emory’s longest-standing consecutive abroad program.
The department has also established an active Advisory Council, comprised of members of the German-speaking business and diplomatic community in Atlanta. Its threefold mission is to be ambassadors of German Studies at Emory, to assist in generating new ideas, and to assist in raising funds. It has been instrumental in bringing speakers to campus, and securing summer internship programs in Germany.
The German program is part of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Valparaiso University, a comprehensive university in Indiana with an enrollment of approximately 4,000 students. Since the construction of the Kade-Duesenberg German House and Cultural Center in 2000, there has been renewed energy and focus in the German program which dates as far as back 1864. The program has seen its numbers for majors double and for minors triple over the past ten years.
Valparaiso offers a German major, a German minor, and a complete lower-level language sequence. Students taking the B.A. degree and students in the College of Business have a one- to two-semester language requirement; many other students take courses as electives. The German section creates numerous opportunities to assist students in meeting their learning goals. The members of the German faculty share a strong interest in pedagogy. The faculty meets on a weekly basis to organize events, share teaching ideas, consider best practices, discuss the progress of individual students, and plan and implement curricular and co-curricular initiatives.
The program has a Mid-Point Check-In for sophomores which provides students an accurate picture of their current abilities and insight into future improvement. The Mid-Point Check-In includes a modified oral proficiency test with personalized follow-up indicating ACTFL proficiency level, targets areas for improvement, and gives specific suggestions for what to do to improve, and a meeting with the students to discuss how they can meet their learning goals.
Along with strong curricular offerings, where students learn about all aspects of German literature, language, history, and culture in a smoothly articulated sequence, a wide range of activities take place outside the classroom, from films and cultural events to community outreach and service. The German program has strong ties to other units on campus and good cooperative relationships with colleagues in other disciplines who offer events of particular interest to German students. The university offers an International Engineering Program in German, a five-year program that includes a year in Germany and leads to a degree in an engineering discipline and a second major or minor in German, and a new initiative entitled Enhanced International Business.
The department offers three distinct study abroad opportunities: a semester in Reutlingen; a year in Tübingen; and a semester at the Hochschule für Kirchenmusik in Rottenburg am Neckar for organ students.