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Progress Report Mar 2012

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Dear David,                                                                    March 27, 2012          

 

            First of all we want to express our gratitude to you for giving us the opportunity to reflect upon the programs, actions, accomplishments and effectiveness of the School of Languages Cultures and World Affairs in its formative years.  The opportunity is especially welcome since both of us were involved in discussions leading to the original design of the School, have enduring interest in its progress and also because we both have lengthy experience with internationally oriented programs and initiatives at the College of Charleston.

As you know Frank Morris brings to this evaluation more than 32 years of experience at the College as a faculty member in the Classics Program and in various administrative capacities: Acting Chair of the Department of Languages, Director of the Critical Languages Program, Head of the Department of Classics, German, Italian, Japanese and Russian, and Interim Head of the Division of Languages.  While serving in the last capacity he was assigned by Sam Hines, former Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, to explore the idea of creating LCWA in the first place.  Professor Parson’s thirty-year career in the Department of Political Science included developing a variety of internationally oriented programs including the Model African Union, Model United Nations and the Minor in African Studies.  Professor Parson also served for six and a half years as the founding Director of the Office (now Center) of International Education at the College and like Professor Morris was a party to original discussions about the design of the School.  In retirement we both continue our direct engagement with the mission of the School through the direction of study abroad programs, Professor Morris in Greece and Professor Parson in Morocco.  We like to think that the combination of Professor Morris’s background in Classics and foreign language education and Professor Parson’s background in Political Science, African Studies and international education and our joint experience in the formative era of LCWA provides a solid foundation for an initial assessment of the effectiveness of the School in fulfilling its promise.

 

            You will recall that in conversations with you beginning in April 2011 we agreed upon a modest though reasonably comprehensive Charge for our work.  We accepted the invitation to review the activities of the School against the priorities set forth in the LCWA Strategic Plan for the three-year period from 2007-2008 through 2009-2010.  We understood that this should entail three key elements: (1) a review of what has been accomplished, what has worked or not worked and what could have been done better; (2) to highlight new directions that were taken and to note any important changes that have occurred in these new trajectories; and (3) to identify and discuss any essential issues and questions that have not been addressed.  It is important to understand the limitations and scope of our work in the narrative that follows.  As you know, we were provided a range of documents:

  • The LCWA Strategic Plan (and miscellaneous related documents) developed during the 2007-2008 academic year.
  • Annual Reports for 2007-2008 through 2010-2011 for almost all entities within LCWA.
  • Relevant sections of the College of Charleston 2009 Strategic Plan.
  • LCWA responses to the College Strategic Plan.
  • A variety of additional documents related to possible budget requests as well as strategies and priorities for fund raising.

This set of documents provides the evidence that we drew upon for the empirical side of our evaluation.  We did not review documentation from years before 2007-2008 or after 2010-2011.  We were also not charged to nor did we interview any faculty, staff, student or other stakeholder inside or outside of LCWA.  Our writing should be understood, therefore, to be limited in scope, based on selected evidence and inclusive only of our individual, though professional, perspectives.  However, we do believe that our combined experience in various activities that relate to basic elements of LCWA’s mission and our involvement in the School at its founding qualify us reasonable well to draft this initial assessment of the LCWA’s accomplishments.

The LCWA Strategic Plan developed two sets of initiatives to chart the direction that the School would take under the leadership of David Cohen, the School’s new dean.  All initiatives in the first set were considered to be of equal importance and to constitute the primary focus for the School’s activity in the ensuring years.  All initiatives in the second set were likewise considered to be of equal importance. These were considered not to be the primary focus of the plan, but action would be taken on them if circumstances permitted such action.  Impressively most of the initiatives outlined in each group were undertaken and are, therefore, the subjects of this report. First and second priority initiatives were numbered 1A-1I and 2A-2J respectively and are referenced by those numbers.  See attached appendix for a list of the initiatives.

            For the purposes of our narrative we group the initiatives thematically rather than by their set or priority. We examine in turn initiatives that relate to:

  • New Faculty
  • Changes Primarily Affecting Existing Language Programs.
  • New Major Programs.
  • Collaboration between Various Entities.
  • Technology.
  • Enhanced Funding.
  • Branding.
  • Interdisciplinary, International and Intercultural Programs.
  • Organizational and Administrative Environment.

 

New Faculty Positions:

Initiative 1B: Increase the Number of Roster Faculty Positions within LCWA.

Action on this first priority initiative produced formative change in the depth and breadth of faculty talent and expertise within the school.  We do not comment on the normal, routine hiring for existing lines in long-standing programs, but focus on areas where the formative change has occurred:  The Less Commonly Taught Languages, International Studies, directors of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Jewish Studies, and Classics.

 

Five Positions in the Less Commonly Taught Languages:

Instruction in the LCTLs, Russian, Japanese, Arabic, Chinese and Hebrew, has been offered at the College since the late 1970’s.  At first all “instructors” were actually native speaking tutors who were not instructors of record, and for whose courses an outside examiner served as a consultant to evaluate students’ performance and determine grades at the end of a semester.  In the cases of Russian and Japanese in the 1990’s upgrades occurred, and instructors with appropriate credentials were hired in roster positions to teach these languages. The Russian and Japanese programs continue to maintain those roster instructor positions today. Around 2000 the tutor positions in Arabic, Chinese and Hebrew were upgraded to adjunct instructor positions. For some of the adjunct instructors exceptions to the SC Commission on Higher Education’s requirement of 18 hours of graduate credit in the content area were requested and granted.  Upgrading the adjunct positions in Arabic, Chinese and Hebrew to roster faculty positions with appropriate credentials had been a topic of conversation for years prior to the establishment of LCWA, but no upgrades were achieved.

Between 2007-2008 and 2010-2011 the following roster positions have been filled and represent new additions to LCWA faculty in Arabic, Chinese and Hebrew:

  • Arabic: two assistant professors (’08 and ’11)
  • Chinese: two assistant professors (’09 and ’11)
  • Hebrew: one visiting instructor (’09)

This increase from three adjunct instructors to five roster faculty in Arabic, Chinese and Hebrew with the original adjunct faculty in Arabic and Chinese continuing to provide part-time service is enabling LCWA to address more meaningfully and broadly key elements of its core mission and vision.  The language faculty offer courses in the languages, area studies programs and disciplinary programs such as Political Science.

 

Two Lines of Directors Transferred from HSS to LCWA:

The roster lines of two senior faculty members who have served and continue to serve as director of the Jewish Studies Program on the one hand and the International Studies and Latin American and Caribbean Studies Programs on the other hand have been permanently transferred to LCWA from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. This has freed these two faculty members to focus entirely on the management and development of interdisciplinary programs within LCWA.  This transfer of faculty has increased the number of seasoned leaders in LCWA and no doubt enriched the dialogue within the administrative leadership in the School. 

 

Two Positions in International Studies and One Joint Appointment with Economics):

Two assistant professor positions in International Studies were filled in 2009. With their degrees in International Studies they represent two additional lines for faculty members who have credentials unlike those held by any other current roster faculty members in LCWA in particular and the College in general.  Also in 2009 the School of Business and Economics and LCWA collaborated to make a joint hire for a Visiting Assistant Professor of International Studies and Economics. We understand that a search is currently underway to hire a third assistant professor of International Studies.

The College had offered a minor in International Studies for over 25 years with modest student enrollments.  In 2010 a major in International Studies was established.  The addition of two faculty lines in International Studies, the joint hire in International Studies and Economics, and the transfer of the Director of the LACS program to LCWA to serve as Director of the International Studies program have helped this new major, one central to the mission and vision of LCWA, to make an impressive start. There are currently about 90 students who have declared majors in International Studies.  This greatly exceeds the expectations for the number of majors at this early stage of the major.

 

Three Faculty Positions in Jewish Studies:

Two new Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies roster lines were filled in LCWA in 2008-2009. Through very effective institutional advancement initiatives the Jewish Studies Program has also funded two endowed positions: the Zucker/Goldberg Holocaust Studies Chair and the Arnold Distinguished Visiting Chair. The increase in the number of Jewish Studies faculty coincided with efforts to establish the major in Jewish Studies.  As with new hires in the Less Commonly Taught Languages and International studies these new faculty members also offer courses in the languages, area studies programs and disciplinary programs such as Religious Studies.


 

 

One Faculty Position in Classics:

 

Through its active participation in the First Year Experience program the Classics Department was awarded a two-year visiting Assistant Professor of Classics position in 2008. This visiting line was converted to a permanent position in 2011 and was used to hire a senior faculty member to serve as the department’s chair at a critical moment in the department’s evolution. It represents an increase in departmental roster faculty lines from five to six.

The addition of some of the roster positions in new areas above resulted from realigning existing faculty lines within LCWA, and others such as the directors from transferring lines from one school to another. Adding positions in some areas points to new and promising ways of operating: SBE and LCWA collaborating to fill a visiting position for an Assistant Professor of International Studies and Economics; Classics embracing the vision of a program outside the School, the First Year Experience program, and making a long-term commitment to that program; Jewish Studies Program’s receiving external funds for two named endowed chairs; and the use of endowed funds for the initial funding of some new LCWA positions.  The varied approaches used to add new faculty positions in old and new areas to LCWA reveals the creative, energetic, effective leadership style of the Dean.  However, there are substantial issues related to faculty lines that need to be addressed. We comment on these later in the section on Organizational and Administrative Environment.

 

Changes Primarily Affecting Existing Language Programs:

1C Oral Proficiency Instruction.

1F Study Abroad as a Major Requirement.

2E Cultural Component of Language Curriculum.

2F Language Tracks for Vocations.

2G Translating and Interpreting.

2H Internationally Oriented Internships.

 

Prior to the founding of LCWA there was a long history of faculty members and programs in the traditional language departments being engaged with such interests and activities as oral proficiency testing; study abroad programs; cultural content of curricular materials; language courses for professional skills, e.g. language for business, legal interpreting etc.; and internships.  The LCWA Strategic Plan developed the following initiatives and achieved significant results.

 

1C External Proficiency Testing for Modern Language Majors:

For this initiative each department was to identify acceptable proficiency tests to assess the proficiency levels achieved by students in its program. Proficiency testing was expected to become a requirement for all modern languages majors in 2009-2010. It was also expected that eventually proficiency testing could be required of foreign language minors and students completing the General Education requirement in foreign languages. 

Faculty in French and Spanish chose the American Council on Foreign Language Teaching’s Oral Proficiency Interview model, which can now be administered externally through a computer program (OPI-c). The number of modern language faculty members who are trained to assess students’ levels of oral and cultural proficiency has increased through LCWA professional development funds. Faculty in German chose the Goethe Institute model because of their long-standing practice of it. After a period of voluntary testing all majors in French, Spanish and German are now being required to take these proficiency tests in their senior year.

Enhancing the proficiency level of their students is one of the core goals of modern foreign language programs.  Required proficiency testing of majors in French, Spanish and German represents substantive change from past practices.  Faculty will now have better data to assess the effectiveness of their programs and to make decisions on matters of teaching methods, materials and learning strategies.  Language programs that offer only minors have taken an interest in ACTFL OPI-c testing and will perhaps begin similar testing when OPI-c tests become available for their languages.  OPI-c testing is not now available in all languages.  Interestingly, some students, who are minoring in a language and are not required to take the test, have expressed interest in taking the OPI tests so that they can include their level of proficiency in their resumes.

Establishing an initiative that singled out oral proficiency as a goal perhaps played a role in the fact that most major programs reviewed the quality of their instructional materials as well as the general structure of their curriculum. After a review of other available texts both the Spanish and French programs adopted new textual materials for their elementary and intermediate level courses.  These texts have ancillary materials that engage students in language learning experiences through the internet.  The Spanish program also revised the structure of its elementary and intermediate language sequences so that students with prior instruction in Spanish in high school follow one sequence of courses (190, 200 and 202) to fulfill the general education requirement and students with no meaningful prior experience with Spanish follow another sequence (101, 102, 201 and 202).  This change solved the long-standing issue of having students, who already know a language, “sandbagging” in a lower level courses.  Such behavior complicates the task of teaching true new learners.

The programs in the Less Commonly Taught Languages (Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Hindi) have adopted a new instructional model that is now based on four credit courses that meet four times per week at the elementary and intermediate level rather than the traditional three-credit course. This is because research shows that many more hours are needed to master these languages than the Romance languages and other languages more akin to English.

Oral proficiency testing does not pertain to the skills that students develop in their study of the classical languages. It is interesting to note that while the French and Spanish faculties were reviewing their curriculum and textbooks at the elementary and intermediate levels, the Classics Department also reviewed its curriculum and adopted different texts first for Latin and then a few years later for Greek. Enrollment patterns suggest that more students are pursuing Latin at higher levels with the new text.

 

1F Immersive Study Abroad:

The aim of this initiative was to establish one semester of immersive study abroad as a requirement for all LCWA language and area studies majors. It was understood that success in this initiative would require some new source of financial assistance for students. The 2009-2010 academic year was set as a target date to initiate the requirement.

As we note later, study abroad was established as a requirement for the majors in LACS, International Studies and Jewish Studies. The traditional language programs are planning to revise their major requirements to include such an experience, but have not done so yet.

While there was some scholarship aid available to students for study abroad prior to the formation of LCWA, new funding sources have been established for student study abroad. The Dean of LCWA proposed to the President of the College and the Board of Trustees the establishment of a student international study fee to fund scholarships for international study. The Board approved a fee that generates about $200,000.00 annually to support student study abroad. The Dean has also allocated some of LCWA’s endowed funds to support study abroad. 

The programs in Spanish and French have for many years had semester-long study abroad programs in which College faculty accompany the students during their time abroad. The French program is expanding the number of semester long programs that it sponsors from one to two. For study abroad experiences for its students the German program has relied primarily upon the Carl-Duisberg-Centrum Language School and its internships during the summer months. German students like students from all other language programs also arrange for study abroad independently through the Center for International Education. The Russian program has sponsored two faculty led summer programs to Russia.

It is not clear from the LCWA strategic plan how this “immersive” study abroad initiative is intended to relate to the Classics AB major (philology) and its BA major (area studies/civilization) nor is it clear from the Classics annual reports how it views the possibility of a study abroad requirement for all its majors.  Nevertheless, study abroad is very profitable for Classics majors. Such an experience contextualizes their understanding of the classical languages and civilizations in ways that simply cannot be done in a classroom. Classics majors have studied abroad for a semester or more in such programs as College Year in Athens. They have also regularly participated in the department’s summer Study Abroad Program in Greece, Dr. Newhard’s archaeological programs in Turkey as well as several other archaeological programs around the Mediterranean area.

Immersive study abroad is very beneficial for the development of language and cultural literacy. The fact that study abroad is now required for three LCWA majors and that the principle of a fee to support students’ study abroad represents substantial progress toward realizing these benefits for students. The availability of financial support is no doubt enabling more students to choose to study abroad.  There are other unresolved issues relating to staffing semester long study abroad programs.  See below the section on Administrative Environment.

 

2E Furthering Cultural Components of the Curriculum within LCWA Courses:

This initiative included introducing course offerings that examine values and traditions, past and present and the ways in which the past informs the present.  The faculty members in the traditional language programs have always maintained that they teach culture through the fact that the languages that they are teaching are embedded in and inseparable from their cultural contexts. There is ample evidence in the various annual reports that instructors have students engage cultural issues in their courses. Here are just a few examples of evidence:

  • The discussions that led to adoption of new elementary or intermediate level texts in French and Spanish were partly focused on the quality of the cultural content on which the instructional materials were based.
  • The Spanish program has finely tuned its SPAN 314 Conversation and Composition course to focus on current cultural topics. Instead of simply following the sequence of lessons in a traditional textbook, students read about topics in newspapers and watch TV programs on current events. Then they have assigned discussions about these current events and topics.
  • A faculty member in German received an external summer research grant for a project entitled, “Creative Approaches to German Literature and Culture: Theatre Pedagogy and Creative Writing across the College German Curriculum.” Subsequently at the College in an advanced German course students wrote sketches based on the semester’s readings and discussions. Students then performed their sketches. This is an effective way to engage and internalize cultural knowledge.
  • Another German faculty member gave a paper at a national professional meeting entitled, “DiasporAfro”- Teaching Afro-German/Afro-Austrian Identity.” These topics represent themes discussed in a course the professor teaches.
  • The French program focuses on cultural immersion in its C-courses, one hour conversation courses that correlate to 101-202 courses. Instructors for these courses are teaching assistants from Versailles, France so the discussion of topics related to cultural content of the associated course has an authentic cultural immersion dimension.
  • In its discussions of revisions for its major the French program is considering establishing a “culture” track within its major. Its development of new courses such as Survey of Francophone Literature, Survey of Francophone Cultures and Civilizations, African Literature of French Expression, Literature of the Maghreb, and Study in French and Francophone Film suggests the possibility of a culture track rich in diversity.
  • A French faculty member presented at a major university an invited lecture entitled, “Integrating Cross-cultural Competence in a Marketing Course: a College of Charleston Example.”
  • A Spanish faculty member presented at a professional meeting a paper entitled, “Service Learning and intercultural competence in the L2 classroom.”
  • A Spanish student after engaging in a Service Learning experience wrote a paper entitled, “Educational issues of Hispanic children in Charleston, S.C.”

 

2F Language Tracks to Tailor Language Acquisition to Specific Professional Pursuits:

It was understood that this initiative would focus on majors, minors and concentrations which link language facility to professional environments that graduates are likely to enter.

Professor Morris notes that faculty in modern languages at the College of Charleston have been more inclined to develop curricula for professional purposes than faculty from other colleges.  He bases this opinion on interactions that he had with modern foreign language professionals at their regional and national professional meetings during the time that he served as a departmental chair.  So it is not surprising to find that the modern language majors in LCWA as well as some of the minor programs have worked effectively to link their programs even more deeply with programs in business. While a course in marketing has been taught in French for many years and courses in business German, French and Spanish have been on the books for some time, this area of the curriculum is expanding significantly:

  • Faculty in the French and Spanish programs proposed a Business Language Minor with tracks in French or Spanish to link with the major in International Business.
  • The Spanish faculty proposed a new course, SPAN 418 Advanced Business Communication, to complement the new Business Language Minor.
  • The French program has undertaken steps to establish a concentration in Language, Culture and Global Commerce.
  • International Business faculty developed some courses with fewer business prerequisites in order to encourage more language students to enroll in the Language and International Business minor.
  • The graduate programs in medical and legal interpreting were merged into to one program for interpreting and made open to graduate and undergraduate students.
  • The Russian program developed two new courses, RUSS 331 Russian for Business and RUSS 295 Russian for Mass Media.

The attention to professional interests of students is also seen in increasing internship opportunities for students. Some examples include:

  • In the fall of 2010 a Spanish professor directed an internship (SPAN 401) for a student who was studying International Business and Spanish. The student interned at an international outdoor patio umbrella manufacturer.
  • Students in German continue to enjoy two-month long internships following one-month of advanced language study at the Carl-Duisberg-Centrum Language School. Internships have been in such fields as banking, finance, marketing, tourism, customer service, engineering, importing/exporting enterprises and others.
  • German faculty members offered two students internships as translators for the legal firm of Motley-Rice in Mt. Pleasant, SC in 2008-2009.
  • Another internship involved a German student, who aspires to be a translator/interpreter, transcribing interviews, translating them and creating subtitle tracks for a documentary film.
  • Two students had internships with the German-American Chamber of Commerce in Greenville, SC and the Weber Automotive Corporation in Summerville, SC.

Our comments above focus on modern languages.  We note that the Classics program has its own niche in this regard.  It has offered New Testament every other year for the  benefit of students who plan to attend divinity school.  It also offers every year courses in Medical Terminology for students who are preparing for a career in the Allied Health areas.

 

2G Strengthen Expertise and Programs in Translating and Interpreting:

The aim here was to develop a minor or concentration that might serve as an outreach opportunity and also involve internships.

For a long time the Spanish program offered graduate programs in legal and medical interpreting. These programs were, however, closed in 2010, and the person who succeeded the founding director of the program has left the College.  The focus on interpreting in the LCWA curriculum has therefore shifted to general applications of interpreting. Courses are being offered at the graduate and undergraduate level with increasing enrollments. A number of the student internships listed above were focused on translation and interpreting. Likewise in a service-learning course, SPAN 400, taken by junior and senior students who had studied abroad, some Spanish students served as interpreters for the local Hispanic community at health clinics.

Unrelated to translation in the sense that it is presented in this initiative, there are examples of the translation of literary texts for various purposes. A Classics faculty member collaborated with a colleague from another institution to produce a translation of a play by the Greek comic poet, Aristophanes, for appreciation and performance by modern audiences. A Classics student translated The Clouds of Aristophanes and the Apology of Socrates by Plato to write an original script, The Death of Socrates, and produce and direct a student performance of it.

Formalized course work in interpretation seems to be located primarily in the curriculum of the Spanish Program. With the obvious opportunities for translation and interpreting there is more to be done in terms of expanding the scope of offerings in translation and interpreting and developing the reach of the programs across all the language programs.

 

2H Additional Internationally-oriented Internships and Service Learning Opportunities:

The aim of this initiative was to design and implement new internships and service learning opportunities based on student needs. Suggested examples of areas for this initiative were translation, interpreting, public history, archaeology, international business and public policy.

The German program’s summer CDS Internship program began in 2003, three years prior to the foundation of LCWA. It appears to be a very effective model. Perhaps some of the other language programs could develop analogous models. For decades each language program had courses designed to give students appropriate credit for meaningful language experience abroad (“language study abroad” and “special assignment abroad”). The German program still uses these very courses in its CDS program (GRMN 328 and 320).

In addition to the internships already mentioned as examples in the earlier portions of this report, here are more of what appear to be new and growing efforts in this area.

  • Spanish student completed project, “Educational Issues of Hispanic Children in Charleston, SC,” in 2009-2010.
  • A Spanish student completed an internship in Mexico at an elderly care facility. During her internship at the facility she was advised by Spanish faculty members about the methodology of interviewing and then interviewed elderly residents about the changes they had witnessed in Mexico during their lifetimes. Upon returning to the College the student completed an independent study, SPAN 390: Changing Mexico, in which she organized, analyzed and wrote a paper on changes in Mexico based on her interviews in Mexico.
  • A Spanish faculty member provided a service learning opportunity for 17 junior and senior Spanish students who had completed study abroad programs. Students spent 45 hours assisting the local Hispanic community in various ways: serving as interpreters in a health clinic, tutoring Hispanic children at a local elementary school, teaching English as a second language, and assisting in maternity classes. In addition they met as a class weekly to discuss their experiences and other topics such as immigration, education, health and politics.
  • In 2007-2008 in the French Program’s annual report there was a comment that there was no group in Charleston with which French students could engage in French in a service-learning project.  We note an interesting sequence.  First, the departmental name is actually the Department of French and Francophone Studies.  Second, courses required for the major include surveys of Francophone Literature (FREN 320) and Francophone Cultures and Civilization (FREN 326).  Third, the French Program recently hired a new faculty member who has research interest and experience in Caribbean literatures and cultures. Next, the French House organized an event about the Haitian community in Charleston. Finally, in the 2010-2011 annual report there is mention of developing some form of student involvement with the local Haitian community. This broadening of the department’s perspective on the diversity within the local population of South Carolina is evidence of how identity, hiring and focus can produce growth.
  • A German student, who happened to be a native speaker, completed a unique example of service learning. She in an independent study worked with the Special Collections librarians at the College to provide translations of a collection of letters that had remained unread because of the old unfamiliar script in which they were written.
  • Seven Latin students who were enrolled in a course about teaching Latin in elementary and middle school taught seven classes of students in two Title I schools. The goal of their teaching was to broaden their students’ horizons by introducing them to Roman civilization and to enhance their English vocabulary through the study of Latin. 

While the original intent of this initiative was to expand internships (and perhaps service learning opportunities) linked to study abroad, faculty members and students have clearly demonstrated that internships and service learning projects that involve their knowledge of a foreign language and cultural literacy can be managed locally.  We note that German remains the only program with continuous internships opportunities abroad and wonder if other language programs might find similar opportunities for their students.

 

Program Initiatives for New Majors:

In the strategic plan a total of four programs were initially identified for developing majors.  Two were of first priority: Latin American and Caribbean Studies (1D) and Asian Studies (1E); and two were of second priority: Jewish Studies (2B), and International Studies (2A).  Impressive results were achieved on all these initiatives, and circumstances allowed substantial progress to be made in developing other majors. 

 

Latin American and Caribbean Studies (1D):

In 2007 the LACS program major required that a student have another major. The goal of this initiative was to establish LACS as a stand-alone major. A proposal was developed and submitted in 2008-2009, and LACS became a stand-alone major in 2009-2010. In becoming a stand-alone major LACS established two important new requirements: Completion of least one year of advanced (300 level) study in a language and a study abroad experience. As noted above, its Director now occupies a line in LCWA.  LACS in collaboration with Hispanic and Portuguese Studies continues to offer the three semester-long study abroad programs in Santiago, Chile, Buenos Aries, Argentina, and Havana, Cuba.

 

International Studies (2A):

Although it had already received preliminary approval from the Commission on Higher Education, in 2007-2008 the proposal for a major in International Studies was perceived by some to lack support, and it appeared to stall. Nevertheless, as noted above, in 2008-2009 two tenure-track faculty members were hired in new International Studies lines, a new visiting joint appointment was filled in International Studies and Economics, and the Director of the LACS program was transferred from HSS to LCWA and also became the Director of the International Studies program.  In 2009-2010 the proposal for the major was approved by the Faculty Senate, and the major was given final approval by the CHE.  This success was due to the strong support of the Dean and the tenacity of the Director of the LACS program.  As planned in the initiative, the International Studies major requires in depth foreign language study and a study abroad experience. These two requirements complement the major core of International Studies courses and a concentration from one of five area studies or a thematic area. Office space and a conference room in the house at 9 Glebe Street were assigned to the faculty in International Studies, Arabic and Chinese.  They receive some administrative support in the Glebe Street house, but more importantly their respective programs have a physical presence on campus.  

Student interest in the International Studies major is exceeding expectations. In 2011 there were about 90 declared majors.  Such rapid growth in the number of majors (and advisees) creates an immediate challenge for the program’s Director and faculty not only to advise students about the requirements for language courses, study abroad, the core courses and their chosen concentration, but also to plan in a timely manner to assure that all the components needed from multiple schools, departments and programs are available to offer every semester a curriculum that meets student interests and needs.

 

Jewish Studies (2B):

Similarly planning for a major in Jewish Studies began in 2008-2009, and after receiving approval from the Faculty Senate and the Commission on Higher Education the major was first offered in 2010-2011. As noted above in the section on faculty initiatives, two tenure-track positions in Jewish Studies, a roster instructor position in Hebrew, and endowed visiting faculty chairs were filled, and the Director’s line was transferred to LCWA during this time.  Hard work, focus and effective leadership produce exemplary results. 

 

Asian Studies (1E):

In 2008-2009 the Asian Studies Program developed a proposal for a major. Although it received preliminary approval from the Commission on Higher Education the next year, further progress in the development of the major was put on hold by the Provost in 2010-2011. As noted above, two new tenure-track positions in Chinese were filled during this time with faculty who had academic backgrounds that have prepared them to offer courses in content areas outside of Chinese language acquisition.

As in the case of some other minor studies programs with aspirations to become programs with majors, it is not clear at this point how a stand-alone Asian Studies major would distinguish itself from an International Studies major with an Asian Studies concentration. Work needs to be done to articulate the relationships of these programs to one another in a manner similar to the relationship between the LACS major and the International Studies major.  The Director of the Asian Studies, a faculty member in the School of the Arts, has worked long and selflessly to help build a solid program that is ready to become an important major program.  We comment below on how important the dedication of faculty members has been to the development and well-being of interdisciplinary programs. 

 

African American Studies and Archaeology:

Although the LCWA Strategic Plan did not specifically identify the development of a major in the programs for Archaeology or African American Studies, opportunities for development in these areas presented themselves and were pursued. The proposal for a major in Archaeology received preliminary approval from the Commission on Higher Education in 2009-2010, but further progress on it was put on hold by the Provost in 2009-2010.

A proposal for a major in African American Studies was in the early stages of development in 2009-2010, and a draft for a proposal was completed in 2010-2011. In its Values section the 2009 College of Charleston Strategic Plan lists the following: “The history, traditions, culture and environment of Charleston and the Lowcountry that foster distinctive opportunities for innovative academic programs and relationships that advance our public mission in the city of Charleston, the State of South Carolina and the world.” (Page 5 bullet 3). The absence of a flourishing major in African American Studies at the College of Charleston speaks for itself. As is evident from the narrative above about the success of the International Studies major and the Jewish Studies major, an investment in core faculty for the African American Studies Program would be an important impetus for the development of a major in African American Studies.  It would also reflect the values of the College’s Strategic Plan.

The Archaeology Program has many strengths.  It draws faculty from HSS, LCWA, SOTA and Mathematics and Science. Through affiliations with local organizations students engage in projects of local significance while mastering content knowledge and practical skills.  Students also have opportunities to engage in study abroad with faculty on projects of international significance.  Hopefully, it will soon be allowed to continue its growth into a major.

LCWA has clearly fostered significant curricular development and change: The creation of new interdisciplinary majors in International Studies and Jewish Studies; the revision of the major in Latin American and Caribbean Studies; the substantial procedural steps that have been taken toward the approval of majors in Archaeology and Asian Studies; and a growing commitment to develop a major in African American Studies. 

 

We note, however, that although offering courses in Arabic goes back to the 1970’s, the use of Arabic in satisfaction of the general education language requirement was a direct result of a Title VI grant designed to strengthen the African Studies minor in the mid-1990s, two tenure track hires in Arabic have recently been made, and the original adjunct instructor of Arabic has been retained, there is no major or minor program focused on the Middle East.  We note also that while the new faculty members in Arabic are located in a house with International Studies faculty with whom they might make curricular alliances, they are being administered under the Asian Studies program.  For more comment see the section on Organizational and Administrative Environment.

 

Collaboration:

 

1G Murray Fellows.

2D Signature LCWA Courses for Incoming Students: FYE and LC.

2C Structured Partnership with Global Scholars Program.

2 J Immersion Language Programs: K-12 students, teachers and college students.

 

A number of the LCWA Strategic Plan initiatives called for collaborative relationships with entities and programs that originate outside of LCWA. The results have been varied.

 

1G Create Murray Fellows to Recognize Teacher/Scholars in Line with the Mission, Vision and Academic Goals of LCWA:

Unfortunately no progress was made on this initiative. Murray Fellows, funded by the Samuel Freeman Trust, were to total 14 (seven from within LCWA and seven from other schools) and to receive an externally funded stipend. Each fellow would engage in various outreach activities and teach one interdisciplinary course per semester.  It was understood that the viability of this program would depend upon a college-wide procedure and process for joint appointments.

A principle implied in the Murray/Samuel Freeman Trust Fellows initiative was collaboration inside and outside the boundaries of the School.  In that vein we note below a few initiatives that have been taken that illustrate that principle:

  • A Working Group was formed within the school to identify ways to improve student outcomes in the introductory and intermediate modern language courses. The group provided a report that covered topics such as class size, pedagogy and technology. We note that substantive changes were made in the way the Spanish program manages the placement of students who enter the College with prior knowledge of Spanish.
  • LCWA with assistance from the School of Business and Economics and the World Trade Center has hosted its “Ambassador Series” where officials from various countries have been invited to speak at the College. 
  • The African American Studies Program has collaborated with the Jewish Studies Program and the Political Science Department to offer cross-listed courses.
  • The Classics Department offers courses regularly under the rubrics HIST and ANTH.
  • Faculty members from French and Political Science offer a study abroad program in Morocco with courses from each discipline.
  • The Classics Department has been in discussions with the Honors College to make a commitment to provide annually a faculty member to participate in the teaching on HONS 120.
  • LCWA faculty offer courses that serve programs in Film Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies, both of which are housed in HSS.
  • Many, in fact, the majority of faculty members in some cases, who contribute to or direct major and minor programs of LCWA are faculty members in other schools.
  • Two other collaborative initiatives are under way:
    • The first is the International Scholars Program that is to be under the direction of the Honors College and LCWA. This is a four-year Honors program that combines the academic experience of the Honors study with pursuit of a major in International Studies and a second major in other selected areas.
    • In the second, the Provost has proposed the creation of the Carolina Identities Program. Its advisory council would consist of the Directors of the African American Studies Program, the Jewish Studies Program, the Avery Research Center, the Program in the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World, the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and the Head of Special Collections, Addlestone Library. The Deans of HSS, LCWA and the Addlestone Library would also serve on the advisory council and make up its executive committee.

The various interdisciplinary major and minor programs in LCWA sponsor a very rich array of lectures, conferences, and cultural events that attract participants from the college, community, and from distant places. Examples can be found in the annual reports of the respective programs and departments.  See below more comment in the section on Administrative Environment.

There are dedicated faculty members both inside and outside of LCWA who clearly meet the criteria to be named Murray/Samuel Freeman Trust Fellows. A promising initiative has been stymied for no apparent reason.

 

2D: Signature LCWA courses for Incoming Students: FYE and LC:

The aim here was to have eight to ten LCWA faculty members at any one time be involved in the First Year Experience and Learning Communities programs and that they would design new courses representative of their areas of expertise and interest and bring awareness to global and cultural themes. It was suggested that Murray Fellows and study abroad prior to the Fall matriculation might be involved.  While Murray Fellows and study abroad prior to matriculation for first year students are concepts that have not been acted upon, the initiative has had results to varying degrees across LCWA’s departments.

We offer a number of observations:

  • The Classics program engaged the First Year Experience and Learning Communities program from its inception and has participated in Learning Communities every semester.
  • The modern foreign language major programs undertook initiatives in this area later perhaps because they initially focused more attention on issues related to oral proficiency testing. German has engaged in two Learning Communities in fall 2009 and 2011. The French program first participated in learning communities in 2010-2011, and the Spanish program, having received a visiting assistant professor position from FYE, started in Fall 2011.
  • Some learning communities have been linked within a department’s curriculum, CLAS 102 Roman Civilization linked with LATN 101 Elementary and in fall 2011 LTGR Games, Cultures, Play: Sports in German Culture linked with GRMN 101.  Others have been linked with courses from departments outside the school, e.g. 101 courses in Latin, French and German have been linked with courses in Theater and Art History, and courses in classical archaeology have been linked with courses in Anthropology and Art History.
  • By the end of 2010-2011 over 25 LCWA faculty members completed training prerequisite for participation in the FYE program.
  • Through its exemplary engagement of the FYE program the Classics Department received an additional tenure track line and is committed to offering FYE learning communities every semester. Interestingly Classics made good use of the natural connection within it of language and culture courses, e.g. LATN 101 linked with and CLAS 102 Roman Civilization, and its interdisciplinary connection with archaeology, e.g. CLAS 104 linked with ANTH.

From the pattern that has developed between LCWA and FYE it does appear that goal of having eight to ten faculty involved in FYE at all times has likely been achieved. The aim of bringing to first year students awareness to global and cultural themes has been approached narrowly. The Classics department clearly linked courses that related language to culture (Latin 101 to Roman Civilization).  The modern language FYE programs  have made connections primarily to two disciplines, Art History and Theater. There are many other disciplines that address global and cultural themes that provide potential links with languages. There is much room to explore these linkages in a much broader collaborative framework. Links have not been made between departments in LCWA.

 

2C Structured Partnership with Global Scholars Program:

The aim of this initiative was to ensure that every graduating student with a major in languages or area studies fulfill the requirements of the Global Scholars Program. The school also made a commitment to develop at least five new international or area studies courses.

LCWA faculty members and programs have supported the Global Scholars Program that was established by the School of Business and Economics under the leadership of Dr. Rene Mueller. Both the Global Scholars Program and LCWA are specifically committed to strengthening undergraduate students’ knowledge of and proficiency in languages and culture and increasing the number of students who study more than one language. Most notably, by 2009-2010 all roster faculty in the Department of German and Slavic Studies had been awarded the Global Scholars designation, and two German majors who graduated that year were among the first graduates of the College to earn Global Scholar status. By the end of 2009-2010 40% of LCWA faculty members had been awarded the Global Scholar designation.

Each year the number of graduating majors from LCWA programs who have earned Global Scholar status seems to be increasing. Exact data about the proportion of LCWA majors achieving Global Scholar status was not available in the reports that we have read.

As noted in the LCWA Strategic Plan the participation of faculty and students in the Global Scholars program could become an important ingredient in the branding effort of the school.

One question that arises is how this program and the International Scholars initiative that has been proposed by the Provost will relate to and be distinguished from one another. See below for more about the International Scholars Initiative.

 

2J Summer Immersion Language Programs: High School Students, Teachers and College Students:

It appears that no immersion language programs for high school students and teachers have been developed. This was a second priority initiative.  Faculty members at the College in Portuguese and Arabic have played active roles in the well-known summer immersion programs at Middlebury College.  So there are faculty members on campus who could provide advice in planning similar programs at the College. 

With regard to programs in the schools the Chinese program offered preschool children at the Early Childhood Development Center experiences with the Chinese language and Culture and has established as an annual event a Chinese Speech Contest for students from elementary school through college. LCWA has partnered with Memminger Elementary as a Global Studies School. LCWA students of Spanish and Latin have provided enrichment opportunities for Memminger students. Apart from these efforts, LCWA has simply maintained the status quo by continuing to offer the NCATE certification program for pre-service teachers in French, Spanish, German and Latin and a M. Ed. program for in-service teachers of French, Spanish and German.

 

With the importance that the quality of prior language instruction and learning has on the placement of incoming students and with the impact that level of placement has on the proficiency level that students achieve while at the College it is a surprising that no significant new activities are being undertaken to affect k-12 foreign language education in South Carolina.  This is an area that has been overlooked.  In the next planning cycle it might be profitable to look back at some of the goals of the former Division of Languages that addressed this area.

Technology:

1I Develop and Implement a Technology Strategy That Embraces the Advantages of Technology:

It was understood that this strategy would focus on language acquisition and grow the on-line presence of the school.

ECTR 225 and 225A, the former Language Lab and office, have been converted to a computer classroom and seminar room; ECTR 204, formally office space for the Director of the Language Lab and work space for faculty and staff, has become a multi-purpose technology room for editing, viewing and creating various media; and JC Long 4th floor, formerly a computer lab for students, has been converted into two smart classrooms.

The LCWA web site appears to present the School to the world in a manner consistent with ways in which other schools at the College present themselves.

The annual reports from all modern language programs contain requests for more computer classrooms. Programs are adopting textbooks that are accompanied with web based instructional activities. Computers in some classrooms do not have the capacity to record, and that capacity is critical to some teaching techniques. Language faculty members who teach film courses generally do not have access to rooms adequately equipped for screening films. When faculty members teach courses that involve theatrical presentations, they too generally do not have access to appropriate spaces for these activities.   There apparently remains much work to be done here.  This need is consistent with observations about current reality of technology made in the 2009 College of Charleston Strategic Plan.  It reads on page 4:

“Both physical infrastructure and technology resources are inadequate to today’s needs. … Both support for and usage of technology lag significantly behind what is available in comparable institutions, rendering the campus what is commonly called a late adopter. … greatly enhanced endowment resources are … essential for all aspects of future growth.”

It appears that for progress to be made in this area, Schools, departments and programs will have to make technology a high priority and seek all means of funding for their needs.

Enhanced Funding:

 

1A Enhancement of faculty development opportunities for current faculty:

            To address this initiative, the Dean was to commit about $30,000 annually from the School’s endowed Murray Fund to establish an incentive grant program for LCWA and affiliated faculty: (1) to develop new courses and new course content; (2) to continue research that furthers LCWA goals and plans. These funds were to be in addition to the normal research and development funds that the College allocates to each department’s budget.  The Dean was also to establish a Capital Campaign Committee to identify and articulate additional support for faculty research and other faculty enhancements.

Many of the faculty activities listed in the earlier sections of this report were supported by LCWA funded incentive grants.  A cursory review of grants over three years indicated that about 90% of grant applications were from LCWA faculty members and only 10% from faculty outside of LCWA.  With the rich array of interdisciplinary programs housed within the School we would have expected more applications from affiliated faculty. 

The Jewish Studies Program has an excellent record of success in external funding.  As noted above, the new lines and named chairs added to the Jewish Studies faculty were the result of continued stellar efforts by the program’s leadership.

Each component in the School has prepared a list of strategic priorities for private funding.  The lists detail the purposes, sources and amounts of prospective gifts.  The identified total is close to 30 million dollars.  With the Dean’s past record of success with such projects we expect this initiative to bear fruit in the future.  

 

Branding:

2I Initiate a Brand-based Marketing Effort to Define the Distinctiveness of LCWA:

This marketing effort was to build awareness of and support for the mission and vision of LCWA; to involve specific components for internal and external audiences; and to present a clear image of LCWA in the minds of students, alumni, faculty and staff outside the School and the wider community.

Below are the ingredients that the LCWA Strategic Plan identifies as the components of a distinctive school brand:

  • International Area and Cultural Studies
  • Global and Cultural Themes
  • Cultures/Values across Time
  • World Language Acquisition
  • Language Proficiency
  • Immersive Study Abroad
  • Language for Business & Government
  • Strategic Language Initiative

Branding is based upon identity. The great majority of the roster faculty members of LCWA derive from the former Division of Languages in HSS. Traditionally in academia language programs have been housed in departments named according to various languages and literatures, e.g. Department of French Language and Literature. Within individual departments and across the profession at large there was naturally competition between those whose priority was language acquisition and those whose priority was literature (high culture).

In this context we note that the former Division of Languages consisted of three departments:  The Department of Hispanic Studies, Department of French, and Department of Classics, German, Italian, Japanese and Russian.  There are now four language based departments in LCWA and they name themselves as follows:

  • Department of Hispanic and Portuguese Studies
  • Department of French, Francophone and Italian Studies
  • Department of German and Slavic Studies
  • Department of Classics (i.e. Classical Studies)

In LCWA these four departments are joined by the Department of Intercultural and International Studies that houses a variety of area studies programs and the Less Commonly Taught Language programs.  “Studies” seems to be the central idea at least in the way all the departments in the School name themselves.

 Overall at the School level, the 2011 Annual Report reported 18 separate “interdisciplinary minors” listed as supported by LCWA.  Of the 18, six were what might be described as country/language/culture/civilization specific programs (British Studies, German Studies, Russian Studies, Italian Studies, Japanese Studies and Classics, i.e. classical civilization); four were based on global regions (Asian Studies, African Studies, European Studies and Latin American and Caribbean Studies); three were global and thematic (Languages and International Business, International Business and Languages, and International Studies); two were defined by specific cultural and circumstantial identities (African-American Studies and Jewish Studies); and three were defined primarily by methodologies that applied across disciplinary lines (Archaeology, Comparative Literature, and Linguistics).  There was also much variation among the programs in the number of courses that applied to the program and the number of departments that contributed faculty and courses.  The programs also differed greatly in the extent to which they were genuinely interdisciplinary or multi-disciplinary in content and methodology.

 

There are other entities housed in LCWA that are not primarily curriculum driven or new.  These include the Carolina Low Country and Atlantic World Program (CLAW) and three interdisciplinary experiential learning programs.  CLAW from its beginning took as its subject matter the historical dynamic of people, culture, economy and polity of the Atlantic World without regard to time period, discipline or theme.  It has been one of the jewels in the crown of the College and now LCWA.  Importantly, it has held conferences and collaborated with a wide variety of organizations to highlight and publicize to a wider audience important events and themes related to life in the Low Country.  Its multi-year program focused on the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade and currently its leadership in the Jubilee Project commemorating the 150th anniversary of the civil war and its aftermath are two notable examples of conferences.  The CLAW program collaborating with the University of South Carolina Press has sponsored an impressive list of published books.

The three experiential learning opportunities supported by LCWA are:

  • The College of Charleston Model United Nations Conference. This conference was established shortly before the creation of the LCWA.
  • The national Model Organization of American States.  This simulation of the OAS is held each year in Washington, D.C.  College of Charleston students have participated in it annually for many years.  Faculty members from the College have played crucial roles in the organization and production of the event.
  • The national Model African Union.  This simulation of AU is held annually in Washington, D.C.  CofC students have participated in this simulation for many years, and faculty members perform important leadership roles in this organization for many years.

In its first years the Model UN Conference was not based on recurring budgetary support by the College. The Dean of LCWA has now provided a permanent budget and institutionalized a home for this national program.  Students and faculty from around the country come to the College to participate in MUN conference.  The activities of the conference highlight the global in one’s local life and increasingly stimulate a greater depth of understanding of global issues on the part of students.  The particular relevance of the MUN conference to the language programs is illustrated by the fact that at the conference in the Fall of 2011, the Palestinian student delegate delivered an address to the conference in Arabic. 

The Dean of LCWA has also established a permanent budget to solidify student and faculty participation in the MOAS and MAU.  In previous years funding the expenses of student and faculty travel to Washington, D.C. was challenging. The MOAS and MAU simulations involve student delegations representing one or more member states in the OAS or AU and thus provide a practical applied experience in the development of international policy analysis as skills related to negotiation and diplomatic representation.  While College of Charleston students earn credit in Political Science through special courses tied to these events, the programs draw upon students from other disciplines and from General Education.  This is a productive example of collaboration between LCWA and HSS.

Having surveyed the range of programs and activities housed in LCWA, we return to the issue of branding.  By virtue of the programs detailed above it is clear that an important distinctive brand element is interdisciplinarity.  Within the interdisciplinary programs the highlight is a linkage, wherever appropriate, between languages and non-language elements.  This distinctiveness is consistent with the strategic plan and describes the elements in the name of the School – language, culture and world affairs.  However, that branding needs to include the partnership involved with other Schools in the delivery of the programs.  We would also suggest adding “experiential learning” to the list of distinctive components of the school’s brand both because of current activities and also future intentions. 

This survey of the breadth, depth and complexity of LCWA’s programs leads to a discussion of the internal structure of the School and its relationship to other entities at the institution as a whole.

 

Organizational and Administrative Environment:

1H.  Build the Organizational and Administrative Environment of the School:

 

The aim of this initiative was to continue to redefine the organizational and administrative environment and structure of the School in the subsequent years.  There were two basic parts to this initiative:  (1) The interdisciplinary minors and the small language programs that were at the time currently reporting directly to the Dean’s office would be realigned to report through the academic departments and/or program directors for interdisciplinary majors; (2) LCWA would work closely with the administration and the schools of the College to ensure that all building blocks of this organizational structure are compatible and productive for all stakeholders.

This initiative on the organizational and administrative environment was revisited when the College of Charleston Board of Trustees adopted the 2009 College of Charleston Strategic Plan.  All entities on campus were required to react to the College’s Strategic Plan with one of their own.  While our report has been focused on the LCWA Strategic Plan that was developed in 2007-2008, we must take note of three goal statements in the 2009 LCWA Strategic Plan that was drafted in response to the College’s 2009 Strategic Plan:

  • Goal 2:  To sustain and expand interdisciplinary studies generally, and internationally and culturally oriented interdisciplinary studies in particular, so these programs have support parallel to departmental programs at the College of Charleston.
  • Goal 3:  To strengthen specific existing interdisciplinary studies that have the potential to become nationally recognized resources for instruction and research.
  • Goal 5:  To prepare students for leadership in a diverse global society.

Our view is that Initiative 1H of the earlier LCWA Strategic Plan is subsumed within the above goal statements of the 2009 LCWA Strategic Plan. We offer the following as our understanding of the two aspects of this revised initiative:  First, the interdisciplinary minors and small language programs that were originally to be realigned to report to department chairs or program directors are among the internationally and culturally oriented interdisciplinary programs and general interdisciplinary programs that are now to have support parallel to departmental programs at the College; second, the purpose of working closely with the administration and schools of the College to ensure that all building blocks of the organizational structure are compatible and productive for all stakeholders is to sustain, expand and strengthen interdisciplinary programs in general and the internationally and culturally oriented interdisciplinary programs in particular.

Issues related to School structure and institutional organization and environment are of critical importance and go back to the time when the School was created.  Our discussion of Initiative 1H is lengthy and reviews several topics:  History of interdisciplinary studies prior to the foundation of LCWA; the state of these programs immediately after the creation of LCWA; key features of these programs as they presently exist and prerequisites for the successful development and delivery of these programs; evidence of challenges and problems that remain unresolved; action needed to address unresolved problems; and issues related to study abroad.

 

History of Interdisciplinary studies prior to LCWA:

Before the foundation of LCWA there were several minors that were inter/multi-disciplinary and internationally oriented.  Each minor program had an independent history that led to different outcomes in terms of its essential elements and features. All the programs depended to some extent on the serendipity associated with the hiring of faculty members who might be interested in participating in the program, i.e. hiring in the various departments was rarely, if ever, specifically based on the needs of these programs. The minors were managed by a Coordinator or Director.  There was also a committee made up of faculty members from various departments who taught disciplinary courses that counted both for the requirements of the minor and for majors and minors of their home department.  Typically at least one non-disciplinary introductory course was developed for each minor program.  Examples of such courses are AFST 101: Introduction to African Civilization and LACS 101: Introduction to Latin American & Caribbean Studies.  Such courses were taught by a faculty member from any of the departments that contributed faculty to the minor.  Typically, a faculty member would request permission from his or her departmental chair to teach the introductory interdisciplinary course.  The enrollments in the course counted for that department, and the credits earned by students would count toward the Humanities or Social Science requirements of the general education curriculum.  The only consequence for the home department whose faculty member taught the introductory non-disciplinary course was that it would have to offer one less disciplinary course that semester.  During the time prior to LCWA the Dean of HSS funded modest stipends for the Coordinators/Directors of the minors and also provided modest budgets to support programming for the Minors such as bringing in a speaker.  Significantly, almost all of the faculty and departments involved with these minor programs were within HSS where the Dean and department chairs did not cordon off the programs as separate units.  While there were issues that needed work, not least the offering of the non-departmental courses required for the minors, there was a sense of common ownership of the programs, and the programs were viewed as strengthening the departments, the ties between departments, and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences as a whole.

 

The state of these programs immediately after the creation of LCWA: 

The creation of LCWA did not bring with it any immediate change in the number or frequency of courses taught in these minor programs.  But some things changed.  The administrative responsibility for the interdisciplinary minors as well as the programs’ modest budgets were transferred to LCWA.  The faculty members involved in the programs also did not change departments but remained located, as they had been, in their respective departments.  After the faculty members and departments within the Division of Languages were institutionally separated from the non-language departments of HSS, divergent school-based interests arose.  The transfer of resources formerly in HSS reduced the HSS sense of “ownership” of interdisciplinary programs no longer housed in HSS -- despite the fact that a very large part of the curriculum for those programs was and still is delivered by HSS faculty.  The offering of the inter-disciplinary, entry-level courses like AFTS 101 was at times viewed in HSS as a burden, a subsidy to LCWA that now was unrelated to the mission of HSS.  Moreover, it represented a drain of faculty resources without any compensation even though in fact the situation was unchanged.  And yet, the faculty members involved in directing the new minors now had three masters, their own chairs and the Dean of HSS and the Dean of LCWA.  But the accountability and evaluation of faculty members related to annual evaluations and tenure and promotion remained solely within HSS.

 

Key features of programs:

As reviewed earlier in this report, interdisciplinary and internationally oriented programs have grown and evolved since the founding of LCWA.  We see these programs as having three key features.  The first is that, while the traditional major and minor programs in language acquisition and literature continue to prosper, new emphasis has been placed on the role of language study as a means to understand the history, society and polity, and economy of a country or area.   The second feature is the development of courses that are interdisciplinary in content and focus study on a topic.   These can be courses that serve as introductions to the subject matter, such as AFST 101: Introduction to African Civilization, or a course that serves as a capstone experience to complete the program.  A third feature is the multi-disciplinary nature of the mid-level courses of the programs.  That is except for the introductory course, the capstone course, and any required language courses at the 100 and 200 levels, the mid-level curriculum taken by students to complete the program’s requirements are not specifically designed for said interdisciplinary programs but are often middle of the major courses taken primarily by students who are fulfilling requirements for a major in a different program.  In taking these courses students in the interdisciplinary program are exposed to and learn about the preoccupations and methods of multiple disciplines.

 

Prerequisites for the successful development and delivery of these programs:

Providing students with a coherent program of study of the subject matter of these programs requires collaboration, coordination and communication among the various faculty members and administrative units that design, teach and manage the courses that make up the curriculum of each interdisciplinary program.  Success depends upon a engaging dialogue about the linkages between the interdisciplinary courses and the middle level language and disciplinary courses.  Optimally students in introductory interdisciplinary courses learn basic essentials about the topic of their study, in the mid-level courses they observe how the differing questions and methods of different disciplines can be drawn upon to understand their program’s subject matter, and in their capstone experience they are capable of drawing upon their varied disciplinary training to address a problem, issue or project in a sophisticated well-informed way. 

By its nature, therefore, LCWA’s success in interdisciplinary ventures depends upon an ability to create and manage collaboration among faculty, programs and departments across Schools as well as develop collaborations within LCWA itself.  It is difficult to overstate the importance and significance of this collaboration and coordination to provide students with a well-designed coherent course of study.

 

Current organizational structures:

One way to foster dialogue and collaboration is by bringing together faculty and programs through the organization of their administrative units.  LCWA has worked hard at this, but it continues to be a work in progress.  The diversity and relative strengths of the programs within and supported by LCWA have made it difficult to chart their relationships.  In 2008, for example, the LCWA Organizational Chart shows four languages department (including Classics) and equivalent organizational position (reporting to the Dean) for CLAW, the M.Ed. in Languages, African-American Studies and Jewish Studies.  The “other” languages faculty (Chinese, Hebrew, Italian, Arabic, Hindi and Japanese) were in a sort of virtual department of International & Intercultural Studies coordinated by the Associate Dean.  The remaining 11 programs, ranging from the area studies programs to comparative literature, were in another sort of virtual department of Caribbean and Latin American Studies and International and Area Studies, the Director of which was Professor Doug Friedman who led the LACS program and also was the point person in developing and seeing through the process for creating the International Studies major.

In 2009, the chart is quite different where the department or unit called International and Intercultural Studies disappears and there is a Department, again more or less virtual, of International & Cultural Studies with three coordinators, the Director of Jewish Studies, the Director of LACS and International Studies, and the Director of Asian Studies.  The units in the Department were International Studies, LACS, Jewish Studies and Asian Studies and under Asian Studies the faculty/program in lesser taught languages were located (Japanese, Hindi, Arabic and Chinese), although there was no logic developed for including Arabic as an Asian language.  There is then again a virtual potpourri of programs that seemingly have a direct line to the Dean that includes CLAW, the Linguistics M.Ed., Comparative Literature, Archeology, African Studies and African American Studies.

The attempt to create a coherent chart to represent what no doubt are very individualistic operations and complex relationships within LCWA, let alone their relationships that crossed School lines, was pretty much abandoned in 2010. In 2010 the chart has a tidy set of five departments, the persisting four language based departments and a still seemingly virtual Department of International & Intercultural Studies led by Drs. Perlmutter (Jewish Studies), Friedman (LACS and INST), and Heston (Asian Studies).  There is however no representation of the particular units in the department or how the very large range of distinct programs are housed or governed.

This lengthy discussion of internal structure of the School, is not meant as a criticism of the School.  This recitation of structural issues does however raise questions about the administrative environment and institutionalization of the concepts of international, intercultural, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary in the School and across the College. 

 

Challenges and problems:

At the time of the creation of LCWA a great deal of time was spent in discussion and debate about the relationship that would be established between the new school and the existing School of Humanities and Social Sciences.  The reason for the persistence of this discussion was the fact that the departments, programs and resources for LCWA were those hived off of those of the existing HSS.  The details of the relationship between LCWA and other Schools, HSS most specifically, were not defined and important issues were left unresolved. 

The need for new focus and energy in resolving these issues is demonstrated by some of the specific effects, this lack of resolution has had on programs and development.  We simply list them here with no ranking in terms of priority

New faculty recruited as a result of program development particularly in International Studies and in less commonly taught languages, Arabic and Chinese in particular, do not always fit neatly into the existing departmental framework.  As a result, within LCWA International Studies and LCTL faculty members operate in what seems to be a sort of “virtual” department with no clear unambiguous future in sight.  They clearly do not reside in a structural element parallel to other departments across the College.

The ambiguity and lack of clarity about policies that might govern collaborative relationships between schools is a growing obstacle to program maintenance and development.  This sentiment is found in the annual executive summaries of the Dean.  In his conclusion to the 2007/08 summary the Dean for example points to “considerable progress in its first two years” while lamenting on issues related to long-term success,

“The decision to include interdisciplinary programs focused on international and cultural studies within the School only makes sense when these programs are joined not just structurally or administratively but programmatically.  While the School recognizes that foreign language study is essential to an internationalized curriculum, it also recognizes that the elements of culture, social and political organization, history and the arts are as well.  The task to create programs that weave these together and provide students with a deep understanding of the world outside our borders and prepares them to function in a global society has been undermined by the failure to have policies on joint appointments for faculty and the lack of support for new curricular majors like International Studies.”

The theme of unresolved issues involving faculty collaboration across the institution is echoed in several of the annual reports of international and area studies programs.  The Director of LACS, now also the Director of the International Studies Major and senior member of the International Studies faculty was in 2008 characteristically blunt in his assessment of the issues facing LACS faculty and the mounting of the program.  Regarding the work of the 18 teaching faculty drawn from academic departments in and outside of LCWA and particularly those in HSS, he concluded that “much of this work is unrewarded even in their annual evaluations as department chairs rarely ask for input from the LACS Director, are unaware of the contributions of their faculty, or in many cases, are hostile to their faculty’s participation in programs outside of the department.” 

This reluctance to allow departmental faculty to participate in programs outside the department was particularly an issue with regard to teaching the explicitly interdisciplinary courses like AFST 101 or LACS 101.  Such courses in as much as they were not directly disciplinary offerings were considered of secondary importance since they were not useful to the departments major.  The Director of LACS notes that “resistance to faculty teaching in interdisciplinary programs outside their school – principally HSS – has affected” area studies 101 courses and also the offering of departmentally based courses that satisfy area studies requirements. 

No doubt the issue of faculty teaching in programs outside the department was to some extent intensified as departments moved to a 3-3 teaching workload.  This put more demands on faculty to offer disciplinary courses related most particularly to the department’s major.  

Such themes were to be found in several area studies reports as well.  The unrewarded work of faculty led several program directors to note the difficulty in bringing people together regularly to consult, plan and evaluate.  The African Studies report notes that “faculty affiliates with African Studies are involved in multiple programs and often have significant departmental commitments, so our discussions were lightly attended,” an observation made also by another program director in exactly the same words. 

The expansive development of the Asian Studies Program, the addition of four new language faculty members in Chinese and Arabic, and continued supervisory responsibility for all faculty in Chinese, Arabic, Japanese and Hindi has raised the issue of released time for administrative purposes for the program’s Director.  The Director, a tenured faculty member in the School of the Arts, “serves most of the functions of a Chair for the languages” faculty and is one of three coordinators in a Department of International and Intercultural Studies in LCWA.  The directors of LACS, and International Studies face similar circumstances.

The remarkable success in the growth and development of LCWA international and area studies programs has occurred without significant progress in resolving the underlying institutional issues surrounding the inter-disciplinary, intra- and inter-School dimensions of LCWA.  From a faculty point of view the key issues are:

  • compensatory time in faculty workloads for administrative work related to interdisciplinary programs.
  • workload clarity and predictability in teaching interdisciplinary area studies courses and disciplinary courses related to those programs.
  • the priority and weight of contributions to interdisciplinary studies in faculty evaluations leading to tenure and promotion. 

 

For departmental chairs the issues are:

  • Scheduling every semester a curriculum sufficient to meet the needs of the departmental majors and minors and General Education.
  • Evaluating faculty members in terms of department’s goals and mission.
  • Fostering professional development of faculty members based on departmental goals and objectives.

 

The need for an institutional policy for joint appointments was recognized early in discussions about the creation of LCWA and the idea of crafting such appointments for faculty that contributed to the international inter-disciplinary minors was frequently mentioned.  However, no clear policy or practice of joint appointments developed.  So faculty have been left to work their way through the competing loyalties and demands of two Schools and multiple programmatic activities.

The creation of the International Studies Major, the hiring of faculty tenurable in International Studies in LCWA, and the transfers of the tenure of the Director of International Studies (and LACS) and the Director of the Jewish Studies Program to LCWA have not resolved issues related to the organizational framework.  Those faculty now are “virtually” a department but without clear authority.  Faculty from HSS and elsewhere who are directing concentrations in the International Studies major are expected to contribute administratively as though they were faculty in the International Studies Department but have no appointment in that department and find that their whole evaluation depends on their home department and not at all on their role in International Studies.  In general, HSS departments and its Dean have had no vested interest in cultivating these programs however vested and “owned” the programs are by the HSS faculty contributing to them.

It has been possible to develop the new majors, keep the concentrations and minors functioning, and avoid dealing with crucial issues because the faculty involved have been willing to put up with that situation in order to maintain the integrity of their programs and satisfy student demand for them.  The faculty’s desire to develop and participate in interdisciplinary programs of every sort and their willingness to make sacrifices to do so is clear.  Continued reluctance to address crucial campus-wide issues is unsatisfactory from any point of view.  It risks a building inertia that in the longer run could derail new concepts and the programs that actualize them.  The Dean’s executive summary lays out his perspective on the range of issues to be faced as follows: 

“…the school remains committed to furthering interdisciplinary and area studies but many faculty (and the dean) often feel like the obstacles to building quality interdisciplinary programs are quite significant.  We do not have sufficient spaces or support personnel for many of these programs.  There doesn’t seem to be a way to share faculty in a predictable fashion that allows a program to schedule appropriately.  Many of the programs suffer with a …menu of courses in their majors and minors.  This multidisciplinary approach is problematic and most of the programs only have an introductory course and a capstone course that specifically address the interdisciplinary subject matter.” 

 

Action needed at highest level of administration:

The main point here in our long discussion of 1H is that the creation of LCWA by extracting resources from HSS produced a set of problems that could have been addressed and resolved at the time but were not.  Impetus for the resolution of these problems must come from the Provost and be directed specifically at the Deans of all the Schools.  The Deans’ performance in this regard should be an integral part of the annual evaluation of the Deans by the Provost.  The process and result should affirm an institutional sense of partnership and the develop habits of cooperation.  In our view the solution is to establish policies and develop practices that permit joint appointments for faculty members and manage all collaborative arrangements that will be needed to address such issues as workload, evaluation, duration of appointment, eligibility for funds for professional development, pay, administrative duties, and office space.  After the concept of joint appointments becomes reality, careful attention must be given to how faculty members affiliated with an interdisciplinary program will be organized into an administrative unit that is truly parallel to all departments across the College.   After these two issues are resolved, the Dean and faculty of LCWA will have all the building blocks necessary to create an organizational structure that is appropriate for its mission.

Hopefully whatever model is developed and adopted to resolve these issues, it will include some effective way to engage all stakeholders in discussions about what constitutes the programs that are now housed in LCWA, how each program can be staffed and supported while maintaining its own character, dynamic, size and shape. 

We are optimistic and note the following comment from the College of Charleston 2009 Strategic Plan (Goal 3, comment, page 12).  It describes an envisioned future where,

“… students at the College enjoy an innovative curriculum that emphasizes collaborative inter-, intra- and cross-disciplinary learning. A system of joint appointments is in place allowing flexibility for faculty to teach, conduct research and provide service in furtherance of interdisciplinary pursuits.” … “Team teaching is accepted practice. The College actively supports a series of new and revitalized centers and institutes, with particular research, service and pedagogical missions as an outgrowth of this collaborative spirit.”

 

Issues related to study abroad programs:

A further specific area of concern, central to the mission of LCWA and its programs is the growth of study abroad as an expectation and requirement.  While this is necessary and laudable and has been increasingly successful, it does raise issues that require resolution through a clear institutional organization and policy environment.  In particular it creates a need to develop and maintain high quality College of Charleston programs; the keys to which are the recruitment of faculty with interest in working with students abroad and an institutional process and setting that is predictable for study abroad programs.  The issues in this regard are many, and it is beyond our mandate to deal with them in a comprehensive way.  An authoritative report on this subject can be sought from the Assistant Provost and Director of the Center for International Education, Dr. Sobiesuo. Nevertheless, we will highlight some of the issues and dilemmas.  So far, the recruitment of faculty to lead programs and/or be resident directors has depended upon tapping into faculty interests and willingness.  This has resulted often on relying upon and persuading faculty to undertake this task.  Since few are willing, it has often fallen to the same faculty time and again.  Over time, they wear out.  The job of mounting a program or being a resident director is time consuming and stressful.  While it can be the most exciting and rewarding teaching experience one can have, it is not the experience that faculty members necessarily want to do every year.  In fact, many cannot.  Young non-tenured faculty are reluctant to absent themselves on a regular basis and there is not particular credit given toward tenure for such work nor is it possible to keep up a program of research, writing and publication when a large part of the year is otherwise fully occupied, and being with students abroad is a full-time occupation.  Similarly, faculty members with children still in school are usually in two-income households where the whole family cannot be away for the semester.  Being abroad therefore requires considerable sacrifice on the part of the faculty.  There are other issues of course but these are important ones.

There are implications on campus for departments sending faculty abroad as directors and teachers.  The key one is that it impacts upon the ability of the department to otherwise deliver its general education and major courses.  This can result in an increased reliance on adjunct faculty.  It may also result in a restriction of courses needed by students on campus in completing their majors.

The institutional and organizational environment needs to include processes focused on the issues of study abroad.  This does not seem to be the case and the resulting difficulties can only increase as the demand for and requirement of study abroad continues to grow.  This situation seems to have led to the LCWA Dean’s almost pleading conclusion in his 2011 report that “we desperately need to come up with a long term understanding about the nature of these commitments so the departments and OIE can schedule with confidence.”  This understanding needs to include policies regarding the recruitment of faculty with a workload that anticipates directing study abroad programs, policies related to the role of directing and participating in study abroad programs in the context of tenure and promotion consideration (is it primarily Teaching or Service for example and should special weight be given in the area of evaluation by virtue of the work of being a Director), and policies causing departments/majors that require study abroad to demonstrate and be supported in their ability to deliver simultaneously their campus based and study abroad goods.

 

V.  Conclusion

 

Our goal was to attempt an assessment of the progress of the School in the short history of its existence and to build upon that progress by being as candid as possible about what we see as the most pressing current challenges.  The accomplishments of the last few years show the value added that resulted from the creation of LCWA.  Important new things are happening in the traditional language departments. Impressive new steps have been taken to empower and develop interdisciplinary and internationally oriented programs. However, some important steps have not been taken. There is no clear institutional policy on joint appointments and the management of the details associated with such appointments. Some programs seem to be floating on the organizational chart connected only tenuously to a “virtual” department.  Essential building blocks need to be created before these programs will find homes in structures parallel to departmental programs across campus.

A wider discussion of the issues to be resolved is particularly timely now because of the searches underway for new deans for both HSS and LCWA.  The College should exercise due diligence in these searches in order to appoint leaders who have a demonstrated track record of collaborative work among faculty in the many disciplines


 

throughout academia that are relevant to missions of HSS and LCWA and the intimate relationship between the two schools.  

If this report helps stimulate renewed enthusiasm and provoke a discussion of what remains to be done and how, we will be pleased.  We want to thank you again for the opportunity to reflect on the effectiveness of LCWA in making progress toward achieving its mission.  We also want to congratulate you on the progress made on behalf the College community during the period of your leadership of LCWA.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Frank Morris                                             Dr. Jack Parson

Associate Professor Emeritus of Classics       Professor Emeritus of Political Science

The College of Charleston                              The College of Charleston


Appendix

 

 

The planning process that LCWA undertook resulted in the identification of two groups of priorities: first priority actions that were to be the target actions during the initial three year plan and second priority actions that were thought of as more long term and would be fulfilled in the initial three years if circumstances and opportunities permitted. 

 

Below are the priorities as presented in the planning document in pages 38 and following: 

First Priority Actions:

#1A Enhance faculty development opportunities for current faculty

#1B Increase the number of roster faculty within the School

#1C External proficiency testing for language majors

#1D A stand-alone Latin American Caribbean Studies major

#1E An Asian Studies major

#1F One semester required immersive study abroad for all cultural and area studies majors

#1G Murray Fellows to promote teacher/scholars in line with the vision, mission and academic goals of the School

#1H Build the organizational and administrative environment of the School

#1I Develop and implement an Information Technology strategy for the School

Second Priority Actions:

2A.  The School will create a new major in International Studies which brings together the interdisciplinary minors with in-depth foreign language study and study abroad   p. 54

2B.  The existing programs in Jewish Studies, Hebrew and Arabic will lead to additional majors and/or minors   p. 55

 

2C.  A structured partnership will be created with the New Global Scholars program  p 56

 

2D.  Signature LCWA courses will be created for incoming CofC first year students  p. 57

 

2E.  The School will develop a plan for systemically furthering the cultural components of the curriculum within LCWA courses.  Course offerings that examine values and traditions both past and present, and the ways in which the past informs the present will be introduced  p 58

 

2F.  Language tracks will be developed or enhanced as need and school partnership opportunities exist to tailor language acquisition to specific business, science/technology and government requirements  p 59

 

2G.  Existing expertise and programs in language translation and interpretation will be strengthened and developed to a minor or concentration  p 60

 

2H.  Additional internationally-oriented internships and service learning opportunities will be designed for the needs of the students and implemented  p 61

 

2I.  A brand-based marketing effort will be initiated to define the distinctiveness of LCWA for others at the College and to project it across the region, the state and the nation  p 62

 

2J.  Summer immersion language programs will be created and focused upon high school students and teachers as well as college students p 64