Active Students (as of April 2022)
Undergrad majors: 102
Undergrad minors: 373
Undergrad certificates: 257
Graduate students: 49
Graduate certificates: 20
2021-22 Student Credit Hours: 34,928
This year, the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures (MLL) celebrated faculty accomplishments, hosted multiple successful events and continued to help prepare students to flourish in a linguistically and culturally diverse world.
Our faculty’s dedication and excellence were recognized in a variety of ways. Three of our faculty members earned Teaching Incentive Program awards, and another was recognized with a Research Excellence Award through the Women’s and Gender Studies program. As of August 2021, one faculty member was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure and another was promoted to Full Professor, while two Associate Instructors were promoted to Senior Instructor. Faculty presented their research at regional, national and international conferences, both in-person and virtual. An MLL faculty member won a STARTALK grant, a two-year award totaling over $350,000, for summer immersion programs in Russian and other critical languages.
MLL faculty were active in exploring ways to enhance language teaching and learning through technology. Sixteen faculty from six different languages participated in new or ongoing projects through UCF’s Course Redesign Initiative, making our department a leading participant in the campus-wide program. The efforts have led to expanded use of adaptive learning technologies and to dramatically lower materials costs for students. The impact of those improvements was highlighted when a team of Spanish faculty was honored with the 2022 AIM High Impact Group Award from UCF’s Pegasus Innovation Lab. Their dedication to reducing the cost of instructional materials for their students amounted to savings upwards of $280,000.
The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures… celebrated faculty accomplishments, hosted multiple successful events and continued to help prepare students to flourish in a linguistically and culturally diverse world.
MLL began to offer several timely programs in Fall 2021. They include a minor in Applied Linguistics in our Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program as well as certificates in Brazilian Studies and Russian as a Critical Language. We also taught elementary Kurdish for the first time, making UCF only the second university in the country to have Kurdish as a regular offering. Our faculty’s commitment to quality online and mixed-mode teaching also resulted in one High-Quality badge and seven Quality badges awarded to our courses by the Center for Distributed Learning.
In addition to their excellence in the classroom, faculty also mentored students toward outstanding accomplishments of their own. A student minoring in French was awarded both a Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship and a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Brussels, and another student, minoring in Latin American Studies, earned a Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship. The highly competitive Rangel and Pickering fellowships fully fund graduate studies and guarantee subsequent employment as Foreign Service Officers with the U.S. State Department. The president of the UCF Italian Club won an On-Campus Fellowship from the National Italian-American Foundation to fund events promoting Italian-American culture at UCF. Two other students of Italian won third place in a contest organized by the Consulate General of Italy in Miami, celebrating the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante.
A highpoint this spring was a visit from celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich as this year’s speaker for the annual Neil R. Euliano Lecture in Italian Studies, an event that was open to the public as part of UCF Celebrates the Arts. Ms. Bastianich entertained over two-hundred attendees with an on-stage interview, and graciously interacted with fans at a book-signing and photo opportunity.
Finally, we look forward to welcoming new faculty members in Japanese, Chinese, TESOL and Spanish starting in Fall 2022. These additions will help us continue to build programs of value to our students, the university and the community beyond.
— Geri Smith, department chair