At every level of our language program, we strive to appeal to the cognitive abilities and intellectual curiosity of adult students. Our language courses focus systematically on the development of all four basic language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing), while emphasizing context and meaning at all levels and in all spheres of the language acquisition process. It is fundamental to our program that all language courses encourage students to explore other world-views and learn to think critically about culture.
The goals for the first two years of language study include increasing the level of proficiency in beginning and intermediate language students, working towards a closer fit with the developing Language Across the Curriculum (LAC) program, and meeting the needs and interests of the majority of students so that they will find the language requirement stimulating and useful. We believe that language learning is and should be fun in every sense of the word, and we hope that our courses live up to this. Our special topics courses (GERMAN 232) are meant to provide an introduction to the discourse and substance of various disciplines in German and thus become stepping stones to LAC courses and to coursework outside of the German concentration proper. These special topics include courses on German politics and economics, history, music, art, anthropology, film, literary topics, engineering, and mathematical and scientific German. Upon completion of the fourth-term course, students are strongly encouraged to pursue an internship or study abroad in Germany. The German department and the Office of International Programs provide extensive assistance to students interested in doing this: students who go each year come back excited about their experience, and speaking excellent German.
Intermediate and advanced courses are designed both to enhance language skills and to explore central issues in all areas of German Studies. These courses are open not just to concentrators and minors but also to all students who meet prerequisites regardless of concentration area. Students who enter the University with a background in the German language are strongly urged to continue their study of the language without interruption during their first and second years.