Modern and Classical Languages

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.

A student holding calligraphy work on cloth next to a teacher
Students dancing with large skirts in a classroom

Spanish Placement Test

Students who are studying Spanish for the first time at Western need to take a placement test - Spanish Placement Testing Info

Preparing for Graduation

Students: Contact your language advisor to request a major/minor evaluation via Degree Works. Graduation application details are available on the Degree Application page of the Registrar's website. Be sure that you have already declared your major/minor before requesting the evaluation. 

Major/Minor Declaration Process

To declare a new major or minor in a language program, students must fill out a Major Declaration or Minor Declaration e-form and submit to their language advisor. (Students: complete Section I of e-form, enter email address of your advisor at the bottom of the form, and click submit.)

Faculty Spotlight!

Read more about our faculty and their accomplishments.

Hugo Garcia, PhD

Hugo Garcia wearing a suit and tie and standing in front of a bookcase

Professor Hugo García González, together with Prof. Mabel Cuesta (University of Houston) has edited and published an anthology of literature written in Spanish during the pandemic and about Coronavirus-19 entitled Asintomática. Escrituras del encierro en tiempos de Coronavirus, (Asymptomatic. Writings of confinement in times of Coronavirus) (Editorial Hypermedia, ISBN 978-1-948517-68-3). 

Asintomática... is a selection of wonderful literary pieces written by Latin American and Spanish authors in different countries including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Perú, Puerto Rico, Spain, United States, and Venezuela. The literary pieces collected in the anthology include various genres such as poetry, short story, testimony, and theater play.

The pages of this anthology reflect the different experiences in front of Covid-19 and the personal struggles of the authors in the face of a reality never imagined.

Sandra Alfers, PhD

Sandra Alfers, Professor of German and Director of the Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity, has recently been elected to a four-year term on the Executive Council of the Consortium of Higher Education Centers for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies. According to the organizations website (https://consortiumhgh.org), the Consortium “is a nonprofit organization that endeavors to be the primary assembly and professional organization of center directors committed to securing, integrating, and advancing Holocaust, genocide, and human rights education on U.S. college campuses.” Congratulations, Prof. Alfers, on this honor, and thank you very much for your service at Western and in the national arena!

Kirsten Drickey, PhD

Kirsten Drickey outside, hiking along a trail with mountains and trees in background

Congratulations to Kirsten Drickey, Senior Instructor of Spanish, for receiving the 2021 Ronald Kleinknecht Excellence in Teaching Award! This award is presented annually to one faculty member from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences who has made outstanding contributions to teaching at Western. The award was established by Ronald A. Kleinknecht, the founding dean of CHSS.

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.