College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Modern & Classical Languages

Latin American Studies

New Program in Latin American Studies Debuts at WWU! Meet with Program Director Luis Portugal to learn more about this program.

In Memoriam

Holocaust survivor Noémi Ban, community educator and outspoken fixture on Western’s campus for years, dies at age 96

Read more about Noémi's life and enduring message here >

Noémi Ban, a survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp who became an outspoken advocate and educator on the horrors of the Holocaust and the enduring power of love and tolerance, died on Friday, June 7 at the age of 96.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Joan Hoffman has published a new article: “On Tragedy and Triumph: Further Comparisons of Yerma and Burning Bright.” Hispanic Journal, vol. 40, no. 1, Spring 2019, pp. 101-12.

Photo of Dr. Hoffman

Interlingua 2019

Take a look at MCL's latest newsletter featuring faculty, students and alumni.

Photo of cover of MCL newsletter

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Christina Keppie, professor of French and linguistics, has been named director of the Canadian-American Studies program at Western Washington University.

Read about it HERE.

Christina Keppie, photo by Hannah Wong


Dr. Sandra Alfers, professor of German in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and director of the Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity has been named a recipient of the 2018 Rep. Timm Ormbsy Award for Faculty Citizenship.

Read about it HERE

Photo of Dr. Sandra Alfers


Modern and Classical Languages Mission Statement

In fulfillment of Western Washington University’s stated goals, the Department of Modern and Classical Languages enables students to engage firsthand with world societies. The members of the department believe that cultural knowledge and language proficiency are inextricably linked. We embrace diverse perspectives and inclusivity. We foster a collaborative environment that facilitates individual, social, cultural, creative, and scientific exploration.

The department offers students the opportunity to build linguistic and cultural competencies that support successful communication; develop respect and responsibility for local and global communities; and appreciate the literature, history, and other aesthetic expressions of a given culture. Ultimately, students graduate from the department well poised to succeed in the workplace, support global citizenship, and explore innovative solutions for world challenges.

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages is a meeting place for diversity and for critical thinking. Our faculty members represent fifteen countries and offer courses in eleven languages. We cherish the contributions that this diversity brings to our campus community and to the community at large. Learning a language is the primary gateway to understanding the cultures and values of those who speak it. Learning a language fosters empathy, respect, and appreciation of the richness found across diverse cultures. By embracing diversity we can find creative solutions to problems and challenges of both local and global scope. As world language educators, we believe these are values that make our communities, and ourselves, stronger.