Herzlich Willkommen im AATG German Center of Excellence

“The rapprochement of peoples is only possible when differences of culture and outlook are respected and appreciated rather than feared and condemned, when the common bond of human dignity is recognized as the essential bond for a peaceful world.”
– J. William Fulbright
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. -- Department of Modern & Classical Languages, December 2016


Möchten Sie Deutsch lernen? It makes a great deal of sense to learn German. Students who become proficient in German can communicate with about 100 million people living in a number of countries in the heart of Europe. The Federal Republic of Germany in particular is a significant "global player" with longstanding, strong ties to the United States. In fact, Germany is the United States' biggest European trading partner, and the German language the second most commonly used business language in the world. Students who study German learn important communicative and problem-solving skills while improving their chances on the job market. Western's German majors and minors have obtained attractive positions in a wide variety of fields: The arts, (international) business, communication technologies, education, engineering, environmental studies, finance, journalism, law, national security, politics, publishing, science, and tourism. In addition, Western students of German have been the recipients of a great number of nationally competitive fellowships and grants (also see our Student and Alumni News page). Make sure to check out our Program Brochure!

The German Section prepares students to succeed in whatever profession they eventually choose through its well-balanced, communicative, stimulating and intellectually rigorous approach to teaching the German language. Students acquire not only important speaking, reading and writing skills but are also encouraged to consider larger questions about the practice of interpretation and cultural identity. Most importantly, we aim to foster an atmosphere of openness and curiosity about the civilizations of the German-speaking countries, as well as their histories and cultures. Therefore, we consider study abroad a central component of studying German at Western. Additionally, students who study German have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities and benefit from the extensive and continually updated holdings pertaining to all matters German in the Western libraries and in the Language and Media Center in our brand new office building, Miller Hall.


Center of Excellence

In 2013, the German Section was recognized as the first public undergraduate  CENTER OF EXCELLENCE by the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG), one of only two programs in the United States to receive this distinction (along with Michigan State University), and one of only 6 programs overall (along with the University of Arizona, Emory University, Middlebury College, Valparaiso University, and the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire). As the official notice states, the center of excellence jury was "impressed in particular that the German program is so very well established and growing", that "extracurricular activities and special events are clearly integral elements of the program", that there is "abundant evidence of the good rapport the faculty has with its students", and that the program "is designed to meet the needs of [your] students." "Furthermore, the selection panel noted the exemplary faculty with credentials appropriate to their teaching assignments and an appropriate faculty-student ratio." The jury also found the German curriculum at Western to be "most impressive", pointing out that "there is a clear, articulated sequence of instructional programming that is standards-based and reflects current methodologies."

Please read here (WWU Press Release) for more information.


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