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Introducing the Department of World Languages and Cultures

A student walks by Withers Hall.

NC State’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures has changed its name to the Department of World Languages and Cultures.

“The new designation more appropriately reflects the subjects the department teaches as well as how they understand themselves and how others perceive them,” says Deanna Dannels, dean of NC State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Dannels and other NC State and UNC System leaders approved the name change, which the world languages faculty at NC State unanimously supported. 

“We are following a trend of many departments both in the UNC System and across the country in leaving the word ‘foreign’ behind and to a different era,” says Ruth Gross, head of the Department of World Languages and Cultures.  “We feel the new name reflects the inclusivity we promote and share.”

The department has been offering courses at NC State since 1896. Even over a century ago, the university considered an international component of its curriculum essential to its mission. That still rings true.

Today, employers seek graduates who can interact confidently and appropriately with diverse populations. Students who develop their world language skills will have a competitive edge in the 21st century’s increasingly global environment.

Majors are offered in Arabic studies, Asian language, French studies, German studies, and Spanish, plus Foreign Language Education (Chinese, French, German or Spanish). Minors are available in Chinese studies, classical studies, French, German, Hindi/Urdu, Italian studies, Japanese, Japan studies, Portuguese studies, Russian studies, Spanish, TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and World Cultural Literacy. In addition, students can take courses in Latin and Persian at NC State, or choose languages such as Hebrew, Swahili or Korean through the department’s affiliated UNC Language Exchange. As for graduate studies, the department offers an M.A. with concentrations in French, Spanish and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).   

The department looks forward to continuing to provide an international dimension to the students of NC State. And what better way to do that than with a new name “that more truly reflects who we are and who we want to be as we go forward,” says Gross. 

While the new name is effective immediately, the department will continue updating references on its channels during the next several months.