World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

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When you walk into a foreign language classroom at McDaniel, not only do you learn to speak another language, you also gain an understanding of another culture from its own perspective. You learn to see and understand other ways of being and thinking that challenge how you currently experience the world. This process clarifies and transforms who you are in a world where boundaries between groups, countries, and cultures are increasingly complex.

With courses ranging from introductory language skills to upper-level courses on specific topics, the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (formally known as Foreign Languages) focuses on the many different facets of cultural, literary, artistic, and linguistic expression found in the spoken and written languages we offer.

Baker Memorial Chapel, Lower Level.

Dr. Martine Motard-Noar
Department Chair
(410) 857-2467

World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Online Catalog

Majors & Courses

The World Languages, Literatures, and Culture department offers majors in:

In order to complete one of these majors, a minimum of 44 credits is required if you complete the residency requirement through study abroad or 46 credits if you complete the residency requirement by living in the one of the language houses.

All students must start by taking the Placement Test. Students may place at the 1101, 1103, 2000 level or higher. Advanced placement exempts students from taking lower- level courses. Up to 12 credits towards the Major may be waived for students entering at the upper intermediate level or higher. Only one course taught in English may count toward the major.

In addition, students must:

  • spend as least one semester or summer studying abroad with a minimum of 12 consecutive weeks residency, or
  • complete an equivalent language immersion experience living and working in a French, German, or Spanish-speaking country (at the discretion of the department and with prior approval), or
  • spend one year in residence in the French, German, or Spanish language house.

Minors & Focus Areas

The World Languages, Literatures, and Culture department offers minors in:

German & Business German

A minimum of 28 hours is required to complete a minor. Students may earn up to twelve credits toward a minor through the McDaniel College administered placement examination, which is taken before beginning classes as a first-year student. Only one course taught in English may count toward the minor. At least two of the courses for the minor must be at the 3000 level.


Professor and Department Chair Martine Motard-NoarProfessor and Department Chair Martine Motard-Noar

(Ph.D.; University of Nebraska-Lincoln), teaches all levels of French language, culture, and literature. Her research focuses on nineteenth and twentieth century French literature, women’s studies, and narrative theory. Curriculum Vitae »


Assistant Professor Silvia BaageAssociate Professor Silvia Baage

(Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park), focuses her research and teaching interests on contemporary literature and culture of the Francophone world (particularly that of the islands where French is spoken), film studies, and literary theory.


Assistant Professor of Spanish Maria Elena CamperoAssistant Professor of Spanish Maria Elena Campero

(Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park) teaches all levels of Spanish language in addition to Latin-American literature and culture. Her research specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century Southern Cone poetry and literary theory. She has published a poetry book, and is currently working on a second one. Curriculum Vitae »


Professor Thomas DevenyProfessor Thomas Deveny (on sabbatical)

(Ph.D., University of North Carolina), teaches all levels of Spanish language and literature, as well as film and culture. His research mainly deals with Hispanic cinema, and he has written three books on the topic. He also enjoys working on the contemporary Spanish novel, and on Don Quixote. Curriculum Vitae, Recent publications »

Professor Mohamed EsaProfessor Mohamed Esa

(Ph.D., University of Heidelberg), oversees the German and Arabic sections and teaches language, literature, culture and business German classes. He is the academic advisor of the German Club and Suite. His teaching and research interests are in the fields of: Innovative Teaching Methodologies, Technology in the Classroom, Proverbs and Idioms, “Migrantenliteratur,” German Women Writers, and German Novellas.
 Curriculum Vitae »

Professor Donna EvergatesProfessor Donna Evergates

(Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University), is fluent in Latin and Greek and teaches the works of Catullus, Cicero, Homer and Euripides in the original to small groups of capable students. She also helps many more build a strong foundation in the Classics through survey courses featuring Greek and Roman literature in translation.

Associate Professor and Associate Dean, International and Intercultural Programs Amy McNicholsAssociate Professor and Director of the Global Fellows Program and International/Global Bridge Student Advisor Amy McNichols

(Ph.D.; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), teaches Spanish, with particular interests in Spanish-American Colonial literature, Spanish and Spanish-American early modern women writers, and writing by and about the indigenous and African Diaspora. She also is the director of McDaniel's Global Initiatives and Associate Dean of International and Intercultural Programs. 

Lecturer Carol ZaruSenior Lecturer Carol Zaru

Carol Zaru was born in Jerusalem and lived in the city of Ramallah, Palestine, most of her life. She attended college in the United States, receiving a bachelor’s degree from Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. She returned to Palestine where she worked at Birzeit University in the West Bank and received an intermediate-level certificate in German from the Goethe Institute, Ramallah. She moved to Maryland in 2001. Fluent in both Arabic and English, she has been teaching Arabic at McDaniel since 2007.

Part-time Faculty:

Catherine Bodin (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), teaches both Spanish and French and is the past editor of Linguistica Atlantica, the bilingual journal of the Atlantic Provinces Linguistic Association (APLA) of Canada.

Ling En Kang 康菱恩 is a native of Taiwan. She earned a B.S. in Foreign Languages and Literature from National Chung Cheng University in Taiwan and a Master's in TESOL at McDaniel College. She also completed a training program for teachers of Chinese at the Ohio State University.

Frances Rosenzweig has a Masters Degree in Spanish Language and in Teaching English as a Second Language. She has lived and travel extensively in Spain and Mexico. Her teaching career has spanned over two decades in teaching Spanish and ESOL.

Brenna Spickler obtained her bachelor's and Master's degrees from UMBC. She has also spent time living abroad in Spain. She loves teaching Spanish as well as teaching/practicing aerial dance.


Study Abroad

The Department requires students majoring in Foreign Languages to live abroad for one semester. The College grants full academic credit for a number of programs that sponsor a summer, a semester, or a year abroad. Information on such programs is available from the Study Abroad Director at the International Programs Office. January Term trips provide short-term study experiences in a variety of countries.

For more information on studying abroad, go to the Study Abroad Home Page.

Language Houses

Special housing options at McDaniel College include:

  • the Arabic House
  • the French House
  • the German House
  • the Spanish House

Our German, Spanish, French & Arabic Language House Directors for 2017-18
Our German, Spanish, French & Arabic Language House Directors for 2017-18.

Each year, a graduate student and a native speaker of Arabic, French, German, and Spanish comes to study at McDaniel College and to live as a mentor with our students who have committed to make Arabic, French, German, or Spanish the only language spoken in the House. Students also take advantage of this experience to organize a variety of activities.

Each residence includes a full kitchen and a living room.

On-Campus Program Enrichment

Several opportunities to enrich the academic program are provided on campus.

  • Language houses in the affinity housing program. Students majoring in Foreign Languages may live in language housing on campus for one year instead of living abroad for one semester.
  • Language clubs
  • Special events such as film series and social activities which focus on foreign cultures.
Scholarship Possibilities

If you are thinking of majoring or minoring in a Foreign Language, you should consider seeking scholarships to help pay for your undergraduate or graduate education or to gain more experience before graduation. Here are some possibilities:

Alliance Française of Frederick (Maryland) 
The Frederick chapter of the Alliance Française organizes every spring an essay competition for college sophomores. The winner receives the "Dalal Greiss Award" and $100 during a "Distribution des Prix," organized to honor the best French students of local high schools and colleges.

The American Society of the French Academic Palms
 One scholarship for French Students is awarded to be used for a four-week minimum summer study program in a French-speaking country. To qualify the student must be a junior majoring in French at a post-secondary institution. The scholarship of  $1,500 may be used to cover travel and program costs in a French program that the recipient selects. Applications must be endorsed by a member of ASFAP and be submitted by December 15.  (See Dr. Motard-Noar if interested).

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship 
The Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies abroad. Such international study is intended to better prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.  Award amounts will vary depending on the length of study and student need with the average award being $4,000.

Students who apply for and receive the Gilman Scholarship to study abroad are now eligible to receive an additional Critical Need Language Supplement if their study abroad plans involve studying any of the following critical languages: Arabic (all dialects), Chinese (all dialects), Turkish, Persian, Languages of India and Pakistan, Korean, Russian.

Center for Arabic Study Abroad
 offers intensive advanced level Arabic in Cairo, Egypt and Damascus, Syria.

Central Intelligence Agency Undergraduate/Graduate Co-Op Program 
seeks motivated undergraduate students pursuing degrees in a variety of liberal arts degree programs to work as Open Source Officers (OSO).

Clinton Scholars at the American University of Dubai
 for students who show interest in being exposed to the Middle Eastern and Islamic cultures for the first time.

College Scholarships.Org 
scholarships are quite plentiful from federal sources to college scholarships. There is no limit to the career path for a foreign language major since nearly all fields require professionals versed in a foreign language.

Corinne Jeannine Schillings Foundation 
provides financial assistance to young women who are pursuing undergraduate college degrees in the study of languages, or who are studying in a foreign country as enrichment for their undergraduate college program.

Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program
 of the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Critical Language Scholarship Program offers intensive summer language institutes overseas in critical need foreign languages. The selection process is administered by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) with awards approved by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The CLS Program is administered by CAORC and American Councils for International Education. CLS institutes provide fully-funded group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences for seven to 10 weeks for U.S. citizen undergraduate, Master ’s and Ph.D. students.

Federation of Alliances Françaises, USA.
 The Alliance Française National Concours is organized every spring by the Délégation Général de l'Alliance Française in Washington for non-native speakers of French who are currently studying the language. National prizes include round-trip tickets to Paris on Air France, scholarships to study at the Alliance Française de Paris, as well as subscriptions to French newspapers and magazines, French books, dictionaries and CDs.  This award is under the auspices of the Federation of Alliances Françaises. See Dr. Motard-Noar for details.

French Government Teaching Assistantships
 offer an opportunity to teach English (12 hrs/week) in French schools after graduation (monthly stipend covers expenses).  6-9 month stay anywhere in France.  There usually are between 1,000 and 1,500 positions available every year.

German Society of Maryland Award
 offers an annual award to students who are majoring in German. For more information visit or contact Dr. Esa for details.

Gilman International Scholarship
 offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies abroad. 

Griswold-Zepp Award in Student Volunteerism. The primary purpose of this award, which can total up to $3,000, is to provide support for proposed volunteer experiences of McDaniel students, addressing the needs of local, regional, national or worldwide communities.

In 2004, Michelle Wolff and Rebecca Jayne were granted this award to establish the new student group Palabras to Words in order to reach out to the local Hispanic community and help teach English. In 2013, Amber Slater, Co-President of Palabras to Words, was selected as one of the recipients for her project, "Palabras to Words Expansion Project." For more information, email

Ibn Battuta Merit Scholarship. 
Qalam wa Lawh Center for Arabic studies offers scholarships for intensive study of Modern Standard Arabic. The Ibn Battuta Merit Scholarships aim to reward students for excellence and dedication to the study of the Arabic language as well as promote the study of Arabic as a foreign language.

The Kor Memorial Scholarship recognizes and encourages scholarship in fields of language study. Nominations are invited from academic department chairs/heads and/or deans. Each may submit only one undergraduate and one graduate nomination for consideration per award year.  All nominees must be full-time students at the time of the award and in a program leading to a degree in a field of language study. Nominees must show evidence of academic accomplishment and enjoy the high regard and respect of their supervising faculty.

Ministry of Education Huayu Enrichment Scholarship. This scholarship provides funding for students who want to study Mandarin at a university- or college-affiliated Mandarin training center in Taiwan.

National Security Scholars Program is administered by the Independent College Fund (The I-Fund) in partnership with the National Security Agency and private industry. Must be a U.S. Citizen. Award amount $15,000. Opportunity for paid internship with a participating sponsor in the Baltimore Washington Metropolitan Area. Assistance with processing towards a national security clearance.

National Security Agency Language Enhancement Program and Scholarship. National Security Education Program
Recipients of NSEP scholarships and fellowships incur an obligation to work either for an office or agency of the Federal Government involved in national security affairs (broadly defined) or in higher education.

Phi Beta Kappa
 Phi Beta Kappa is the most prestigious undergraduate academic honor society.  Students who have been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa may pursue two scholarship opportunities to study French. The Mary Isabel Sibley Fellowship is awarded annually to young women who wish to study Greek or French language and literature. The Walter J. Jensen Fellowship, aimed to help educators and researchers improve the study of French in the U.S., is awarded annually for six months of study in France.  See:

Phi Sigma Iota Foreign Language Honor Society Scholarship. For induction into Phi Sigma Iota, a student must major or minor in a foreign language, have completed at least two courses in a foreign language and one third-year language course, have earned a B+ or better in all their foreign language courses, rank in the top 35% of their class in general scholarship, and be a junior or senior. You must be an active member to apply for the scholarship. McDaniel College can nominate one student per year for scholarships that range from $300 to $1000. Application deadline is April 15th.  See Dr. McNichols for details.

Rachel Corrie Memorial Scholarship is for students dedicated to gaining a better understanding of the Middle East and to working, locally or internationally, to further Middle East peace. Areas of interest may include Arab culture and Arabic language, U.S. Policy in the Middle East, and peace, justice, and conflict resolution studies.

Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarships for Study Abroad.
 The Rotary Foundations's oldest and best-known program is Ambassadorial Scholarships.  Since 1947 more than  30,000 men and women from 100 nations have studied abroad under its auspices. Today it is the world's largest privately funded international scholarships program. See:

Société des professeurs français et francophones d'Amérique.
 The Marandon scholarship (Bourse Marandon) is awarded to an undergraduate student who plans to study for an academic year in France or in Quebec. The $7,000 scholarship is paid in two installments. Scholarships of a lesser amount are also available for shorter stay. Applications must reach SPFFA before December 1. (See Dr. Motard-Noar for more information). 

Scholarships for a 6-week study during the summer in French-speaking universities in Quebec: Université de Montréal or Université Laval in Québec. The $1,500 can be used to cover tuition expenses and most of living expenses. (See Dr. Motard-Noar for more information). 

Walter Jensen Scholarship for Study Abroad is for students of French who are also enrolled in teacher education programs.  $1,500 scholarship to help pay for a Study Abroad Program in France.

Women in French Undergraduate Essay Award
 considers essays dealing with women in French of Francophone Literature or Civilization. Length: 10 pages maximum. Submission deadlines are January 1 and June 1.  The winner's essay is published. $100 award is also given.

Recent student–faculty research collaboration

Student Professor Topic
Lindsey Franks Dr. Martine Motard-Noar Translation of Étienne Barilier’s L’ignorantique
Connor Heavner Dr. Mohamed Esa Translation of Ordeal by Fire, a novel by Arab-German writer Salim Alafenisch
Rebecca Debinski   Dr. Amy McNichols El pasado, el futuro y la fe del presente: Cómo Reyna Grande mantenía la esperanza y el coraje para superar los obstáculos en La distancia entre nosotros
Sylvan Greyson Dr. Amy McNichols Navigating the Borders between ‘Mother’ and ‘Stranger’ through the Eyes of Her Children: An Analysis of The Distance between Us by Reyna Grande.” 
Abigail Rose-Craver  Dr. Amy McNichols  The Search for a Third Space in La distancia entre nosotros
Zachary Shaeffer  Prof. Carol Zaru  From X to El-Shabbaz: The Life and Legacy of Malcolm X in the Middle East

Student Awards & Recognition

2018 Phi Sigma Iota Inductees
2018 Phi Sigma Iota Inductees

Phi Sigma Iota - Foreign Language Honor Society

Phi Sigma Iota, the International Foreign Language Honor Society, was founded in 1922, and its purpose is to honor outstanding achievements of foreign language students. Phi Sigma Iota also promotes international communication and understanding, helps to maximize the understanding of ourselves and our cultural heritage by understanding others, fosters the spirit of liberal culture, and supports scholarly programs nationwide.

McDaniel College received its Beta Alpha chapter of Phi Sigma Iota in 1990. We are chapter number 184 in this international honor society. Induction into Phi Sigma Iota represents the highest academic honor in the field of foreign languages.

In order to be considered for induction, the candidate must:

  • have completed at least two courses in one language, one of which must be a third-year language course (3000 or above)
  • have achieved a minimum of 3.0 average in his/her foreign language courses
  • have a 3.0 overall Grade Point Average
  • have a GPA in the upper third of his/her class
  • have completed his/her sophomore year

Presentation by Elizabeth Dericke, Spanish Major, class of 2017.
Presentation by Elizabeth Dericke, Spanish Major, class of 2017, about her capstone research paper, titled "Interconnecting the Feminine, natural, and Monstrous in 'El gran surubí'"

Departmental Honors

Departmental Honors are recognized at graduation, recorded on the students' permanent records (diploma and transcript), and mentioned during the graduation ceremony. To receive departmental honors in French, German, or Spanish, students must:

  • Have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5;
  • Have a 3.5 GPA in the language they major in;
  • Be recommended by the Department of Foreign Languages;
  • Engage in an independent study and submit a 30-page paper in the target language or a minimum 50-page translation from the target language into English (this option is only available to students who have taken a translation class). The student must receive an A on the paper or translation to receive Departmental Honors. If the student were to not receive an A, the student does receive credits for the independent study project, but does not receive honors.

This option is also available to those students with dual majors, double majors or student-designed majors.

It is recommended that interested students make an appointment with a professor in the Department during their junior year to discuss their options.

Malone Award

This award was established in 1987 by Colonel W. Frank Malone, class of 1938, in memory of his wife, Margaret Castelberry Malone. This award is given each year to the senior who has demonstrated the highest level of excellence in a foreign language.

The "Malone Award" is presented during the annual Honors and Investiture Convocation, Commencement, or other special occasions. The following students have received this prestigious award:

  • 1988--Karen Saar
  • 1989--Timothy Whitney
  • 1990--Robert Brown
  • 1991--Dirk Visser
  • 1992--Brian Small
  • 1993--Jennifer Dean
  • 1994--Maura Ziolkowski
  • 1995--Gabriela Flores
  • 1996--Candice Craig and Nixida Maldonado
  • 1997--Carolyn Arney and Ingrid Carlson
  • 1998--Christian Wilwohl
  • 1999--Megan Smoker
  • 2000--Kimberly Hall and Amy Pritchett
  • 2001--Clinton Earl McKay and Donald Todt
  • 2002--Jill Krebs and Rachel Ward
  • 2003--Mahlia Joyce and Viktoria Kollar
  • 2004--Elizabeth Wallace
  • 2005--Silvia Baage
  • 2006--Laura Pritchard and Stephanie Todd (Reed)
  • 2007--Jeffrey S. Zamostny
  • 2008--Kristen L. Warfield and Timothy M. Neeson
  • 2009--Mary Beth Bounds and Sarah Brackbill
  • 2010--Nadine Heron and Christopher Rondo
  • 2011--Jennifer Wallace
  • 2012--Allison Short and Nathan Wuertenberg
  • 2013--Eddie Blankenship and Eric Spioch
  • 2014--Amber Slater
  • 2015--Cicely Rose Hazell, Sharina Taveras López, and Brandon Lee Moorfoot
  • 2016--Mariah Ligas
  • 2017--Thomas Milnes
  • 2018--Rebecca Debinski & Devyn Voorheis
Political upheaval interrupts senior’s study of Burkina Faso’s election

Raymond Boly

Only two days after arriving in his native country of Burkina Faso to study the nation’s first fair and transparent presidential election in 27 years, senior Raymond Boly found himself caught in the chaos of a bloody coup.

Burkina Faso’s elite presidential guard staged the takeover Sept. 17, 2015, and named Gilbert Diendere, a general and ally of ousted president Blaise Compaore, as the country’s leader. With the much anticipated Oct. 11 election just three weeks away, the presidential guard seized power, shutting down the borders, radio, television, newspapers and imposing a curfew 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Protesters took to the streets. The guard fired on the protesters. The capital city of Ouagadougou, population about 1.5 million, was in turmoil.

Read more »