Return to: Undergraduate Departments and Programs
Christian Michener, Ph.D., Chair
The department of Language, Literature, and Culture houses majors in English, History, and Spanish, as well as the interdisciplinary major in Health Humanities. Offering an intellectually stimulating curriculum for a variety of learners, the department of Language, Literature, and Culture aims to challenge and support students in their intellectual, spiritual, personal, and professional development, especially in nurturing students’ appreciation for, and understanding of, the diverse literatures, languages, histories, and cultures of our world. Almost every student at Saint Mary’s takes several classes offered by the department of Language, Literature, and Culture.
Brooke Lenz, Ph.D., Coordinator
Offerings in English engage those skills that are at the heart of a liberal arts education and essential to lifelong learning and success beyond the entry-level job. English courses help both majors and non-majors develop the capacity to read and view texts with appreciation and insight; understand the significance of writers and works in their social and historical contexts; consider how such writers and works reflect and express diverse cultural perspectives; assess the value of various critical approaches to literary and humanistic questions; do research efficiently and honestly; organize and curate complex information; and write effectively across academic, professional, and popular genres.
English offerings prepare students for a lifetime in which their facility as readers and writers not only helps them succeed and advance professionally, but also, by allowing them to engage with the cultural discourse surrounding them, prepares them to deal with ambiguity and complexity in a changing world.
The English curriculum is designed to help students:
- Read with comprehension and aesthetic appreciation, think critically about texts from a variety of genres, periods, and cultural contexts, and articulate why readers respond the way they do to various works.
- Produce written documents that demonstrate an understanding of the roles that audience, context, modality, and purpose play in determining rhetorical choices.
- Conduct, assess, and make use of research done through a variety of media.
- Cultivate professional skills that can be adapted and applied in situations beyond the classroom.
English Study Abroad
English offers a short-term study abroad program in England through the Saint Mary’s University study abroad office on an alternate year basis.
English Distinction & Awards
English awards distinction at faculty discretion to graduating seniors. These honors are to inspire and reward students who have completed outstanding work within the English major. Students must have a minimum 3.700 major-field GPA and a 3.300 cumulative GPA. Students must complete a superior senior thesis with a grade of A, present some piece of their work in a public forum, and demonstrate truly distinctive ability and performance in the English major.
Eligible juniors and seniors majoring or minoring in English are annually inducted into the Alpha Zeta Pi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English Honor Society.
Tycho de Boer, Ph.D., Coordinator
The history program supports the mission of the university by providing education in history, a discipline which is a core component of the liberal arts. As such, it seeks to instill in students a thirst for lifelong learning, a commitment to participation in the civic culture of a democratic society, an appreciation for context and contingency, an inclination towards critical thinking and an appreciation for evidence in making judgments, and the ability to communicate those judgments and other ideas.
The curriculum seeks to enhance the personal and professional lives of students who major or minor in history or take history courses as part of the Integratus general education program. Through a study of the past, students develop an understanding of the local, national, and global societies of which they are members. The goal is that students come to understand the forces which mold the institutions of their own society and of the global community. HIstory faculty also hope that students discover where their generation fits in the historical development of the human race, and come to an appreciation of what is of value and therefore to be preserved.
History and History: Social Studies majors develop not only knowledge of the past, but also a variety of skills, including the ability to analyze and explain complex issues, the ability to research and present new information, and the ability to effectively communicate research and analysis in written and oral form. Through the History: Social Studies major, the history faculty—as scholar-teachers and in cooperation with the School of Education—contribute to the formation of elementary and secondary school teachers through the instruction of history content and academic advising.
Students demonstrate a strong foundation in historical thinking by successfully completing the History or History: Social Studies major, whose goals are:
- To develop students’ ability to think historically, that is, to use historical methods and discipline-based concepts in analyzing problems and historical developments and phenomena;
- To develop students’ ability to critically read and analyze historical works (secondary sources);
- To develop students’ ability to find and interpret historical evidence (primary sources);
- To develop students’ ability to construct an evidence-based interpretation of the past and communicate it effectively both in writing and orally; and
- To develop students’ ability to navigate from the academic world of the university to the world of work, professional development, and lifelong learning.
History Distinction & Awards
History grants distinction to graduating seniors who have earned a major GPA of 3.700 or higher, a cumulative GPA of 3.300 or higher, and at least an AB in H470 Senior Thesis . Distinction is reserved for students majoring in History or History: Social Studies who perform academically at the top level of all graduates from the program. The Brother J. Robert Lane Historical Essay Prize is awarded to students for excellence in historical research and writing whenever applicable.
History sponsors the Lambda–Lambda Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society. It also sponsors a student-funded History Club. Both the program and the club are active in inviting speakers to campus to discuss topics of interest and use to both majors and the entire university community.
History majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad for a semester, preferably during the spring semester of sophomore year or fall semester of junior year. Advanced consultation with one’s academic advisor relative to major requirements is recommended.
History students are encouraged to study foreign languages. Students who are planning to attend graduate school are strongly advised to pursue language study.
John Reed, Ph.D., Coordinator
Offerings in Spanish provide a comprehensive study of the language, literature, and cultures of the Hispanic world designed to prepare students for a professional career in international business, a career in teaching, or graduate study in Spanish. The use of proficiency-based methodologies and audio-visual tools in the study of culture and language bring students to an understanding and an active command of Spanish in the areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. All Spanish courses are conducted in Spanish. A full complement of courses for a Spanish major or minor is available on the Winona campus.
Upon completion of their studies, majors are able to demonstrate:
- The ability to engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions;
- The ability to understand and interpret both spoken and written language on a variety of topics; and
- The ability to present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of readers on a variety of topics.
These goals are based on the ACTFL’s World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages:
1. Communication: Communicate effectively in more than one language in order to function in a variety of situations and for multiple purposes.
2. Cultures: Interact with cultural competence and understanding.
3. Connections: Connect with other disciplines and acquire information and diverse perspectives in order to use the language to function in academic and career-related situations.
4: Comparisons: Develop insight into the nature of language and culture in order to interact with cultural competence.
5. Communities: Communicate and interact with cultural competence in order to participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world.
Credits by Placement
- All students who have taken Spanish in high school must have an interview with a Saint Mary’s University professor prior to continuing in that language at Saint Mary’s University. The interview facilitates placement at an appropriate level and is given prior to registration each semester. Upon completion of one semester of study with a final grade of B or above, a student earns 2 credits for each class bypassed in the language sequence (courses numbered 101, 102, 201, 202). If a student earned a 3 or higher through the CEEB AP program, she/he may receive 4 100-level credits. A maximum of 8 credits may be earned that count toward a Spanish minor, and as elective credits that count toward graduation.
- Native/Heritage speakers may test out of SP301 Advanced Spanish Conversation with consent of coordinator.
- Native speakers who have completed high school in their home country may test out of SP302 Advanced Grammar/Composition with consent of coordinator.
Spanish Studies Abroad
Saint Mary’s University has an affiliation with Spanish Studies Abroad, which offers courses and internships in Spain (Seville, Alicante, Barcelona), Argentina (Cordoba), Cuba (Havana), and Puerto Rico (San Juan). These are semester or academic-year programs as well as short-term options during the winter, spring, or summer. Saint Mary’s University also partners with the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA), which offers semester-long internship opportunities in Ecuador. Spanish also offers short-term study abroad programs in Buenos Aires and Mexico through the Saint Mary’s University study abroad office on an alternate year basis.
Spanish Distinction & Awards
Spanish awards distinction at faculty discretion to graduating seniors. These honors are to inspire and reward students who have completed outstanding work within the major. Students must have a minimum 3.700 major GPA and a 3.300 cumulative GPA. Students must complete a superior senior capstone project with a grade of A, present some piece of their work in a public forum, and demonstrate truly distinctive ability and performance in the Spanish major.
Alpha Mu Gamma is a national foreign language honor society. Eligible seniors majoring or minoring in Spanish are annually inducted into the Eta Delta Chapter. Spanish also sponsors Cineclub, which is open to the university community. Films from both Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries are screened throughout the year, providing a venue for both artistic and cultural reflection.
Return to: Undergraduate Departments and Programs