The Spanish department worked to accomplish two main goals over the past 10 years, and may see them come to fruition within the next few months.
After many years of discussion with administration and a lot of planning, a Spanish course for health science majors has been developed and awaits the final stamp of approval.
“In the last five years, the nursing department has approached us [about offering this course], and we said it would be feasible,” said Spanish Associate Professor Melvy Portocarrero. “The moment it gets approved by the University Senate and CNR [Curriculum and Regulations] it can go in the catalogue and start being offered.”
Portocarrero said the syllabus is already complete, and the earliest the course, entitled “Spanish for Health Professionals,” would be offered in fall 2014 by Spanish Professor Deborah Kessler.
Portocarerro said she and her colleagues are excited to offer the course to anyone who is interested in being involved in the sciences.
“Essentially it is putting the Spanish ink to the science environment,” she said.
The second goal of the department was to enhance the course offerings for heritage learners.
“The heritage speakers population is growing, and we need to fulfill their needs to compete with other universities who provide those needs,” Portocarerro said.
Portocarerro said the department is working to provide courses that are more enticing to both Spanish majors and heritage learners.
“Currently we’re working on searching for replacements for Dr. Harris [who will retire] and making a permanent position out of an annually contracted position,” she said.
Portocarerro said she and her colleagues believe speaking a second language is becoming more and more necessary in the professional world.
“You want to have a society that is bilingual or is able to have a career while opening the path to future immigrants,” Portocarerro said. “We need to break the stereotype that Americans only speak English. It has to come from the culture of the institution.”