Dr. Stefania Licata officially opened the Spanish Writing and Language Center on September 2, 2019, in Mickel Library after a pilot program in Spring 2019. This center provides our students with one-on-one consultations on a variety of Spanish oral and writing language needs.
Dr. Licata spoke about her motivation to provide this resource to Converse students:
“Modern Languages other than English are important to prepare our students to the diverse society in which we live nowadays. Bearing this in mind, teaching modern languages means to transmit a language which is intertwined with culture; it is not just a grammatical perspective. The latter, grammar, is important, but this is part of the language, briefly, how to express oneself and how to understand someone using the target language (not only Spanish). This has been the principle that I have developed in my previous experience at Stony Brook University, where I worked in the Language Learning and Research Center Lab (LLRC).
The Spanish Writing and Language Center is the component to guide the student to expand the language knowledge outside of our classroom.
This experience, together with one of Converse’s mottos was inspirational to me: “Small College Big on opportunities.” I thought, ‘Why not to offer our students services to improve their language knowledge like in big Universities?’ Students from small colleges have the same rights to find tools which place them in the job market because make them competitive and knowledge of a second language is, certainly, a tool towards this goal.
In my humble project, I want to create another big opportunity that Converse offers for those who wish to advance in another language (currently Spanish). The Spanish Writing and Language Center is the component to guide the student to expand the language knowledge outside of our classroom but still related to the content that we develop in our syllabi. It does not focus only on writing but also on speaking and help in other aspects of the language (phonetics, pronunciation, etc.)
Since we started this project, it seems to be very successful: our slots for booking the appointments are full and continue to be. Spring was an intense semester with a lot of work and a lot of time dedicated to it, but I have had the great support of my student tutors who are doing an amazing job.
I hope this is the beginning of a bigger project: “The Global Language Center” where Converse College can contribute to improve the commitment in teaching our students towards our diverse society.”