Our department is housed in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, and we take seriously our affiliation with our namesake, Arkansas native, U.S. Senator, and creator of the renowned Fulbright Scholarship Program, established to promote international understanding and global academic exchange. We seek to do this by embodying and instilling in our students the values of full-fledged global citizenship, which requires the kind of deep cultural understanding that only truly comes with progress towards mastery of other languages. Department members direct and supervise a number of U of A faculty-led programs in the summers, in addition to several academic-year exchange programs we currently have available; and our faculty work with the Office of Study Abroad to help send more than 700 U of A students abroad to 42 countries.
World Language education has been around at the University of Arkansas as long as the university itself, and we are privileged to carry on this long tradition. In the oldest extant catalogue for the U of A, from 1871, we find offerings in Latin and Greek, French and German, as part of a “Classical Course” in the “Normal Department.” Over the years, our language programs have come and gone and returned and seen many departmental configurations. Our current configuration as a Department of Foreign Languages dates back to 1949, and we made the change to our current department name in 2009.
Today, our Department offers courses in eleven different languages, with minors in Arabic, Chinese, French, German Japanese, and Spanish, and majors in French, German, Spanish, and Classical Studies. At the graduate level we offer an M.A. in Modern Languages for French and German; an M.A. in Spanish, and many of our faculty teach courses and direct dissertations within our multi-tracked Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies. World Languages faculty are also key participants in a number of strong and growing interdisciplinary programs housed in Fulbright College, including Gender Studies, Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Asian Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies, European Studies, and Humanities. We are also proud of our new Center for World Languages, which keeps our faculty and students current with the latest technologies for research, teaching, and learning.