The Certificate of Competence in Language and Culture is designed to allow students to demonstrate competence in a language other than English and a competent understanding of the cultural contexts in which that language is spoken. Interested students may pursue the certificate in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. Undergraduate students from any school or college are eligible to apply and the certificate is compatible with many majors.
In order to receive the certificate, students will meet a set of requirements combining academic and co-curricular experiences. These experiences include a mandatory study-abroad experience in a program approved by the director of the World Languages and Cultures program.
Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA and 3.0 GPA in language courses
The certificate consists of a minimum of 14 hours of coursework (though more may be required upon a student's initial knowledge of the language of study).
|6 hours||2 semesters of language study beyond the intermediate level (150 or 160 level) or equivalent from abroad.|
|3 hours||1 course in Intercultural Communication (WLC 148) or equivalent from abroad.|
|5 hours||Study Abroad and surrounding experience courses: WLC 080, 081, 082 (1, 1, 3 credits respectively).|
World Languages and Cultures is a unique, learner-centered approach to language education/learning. The program offers several languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. Professors and native speakers mentor students as they gain functional proficiency in a language other than English, develop cultural understanding and become responsible global citizens. Students prepare to study or live abroad, enhance professional development, and pursue personal interests while working alongside native speakers and language acquisition specialists.
Focusing on the development of functional communicative competency, students learn to use the language rather than merely learning about the language.
Students work with native speakers in groups of six or fewer two or three times per week, depending on the language. The native speaker helps them learn how speakers of that language really speak. This immersion experience simulates, on a small scale, the way in which students learned their first language. The opportunity to practice grammar and to have questions answered in English is available from a professor of the language being studied. These faculty members either meet via conference only or once a week with students, depending on the language, train the native speakers, design curriculum, and do many other things to assist students improve their proficiency as they study.
Students are primarily evaluated through midterm and final examinations and an electronic portfolio. All midterm and final examinations include an oral interview with the professor, with content based on the materials assigned in the syllabus. Questions may include materials not directly assigned but those appropriate to the student’s experience and skill level.
The ePortfolio is a collection of work produced by a student which documents his/her improving competencies throughout the time of study.
Students who have previous experience studying the language must complete the placement process to ensure that they begin study at the level for which they are prepared. First-Year students will take the placement exam during summer orientation and all other students can take the placement exam during specified times during the academic year prior to registration.
Drake University does not have a general language requirement. However, several academic programs require language study (Education endorsements in French, German, and Spanish; the Global Ambassador Certificate; International Business; International Relations; and Vocal Performance).
In addition to academic offerings, the language program organizes additional opportunities for students to improve their linguistic competence and gain additional cultural knowledge. Students can, for example, interact with members of the Des Moines community who speak the language at events such as Día de los Muertos. They might also participate in Drake's International Film Festival. Occasionally, the program sponsors other activities such as a karaoke night, an origami workshop, and weekly language tables.