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College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures Awarded UISFL Grant to Develop Programs for Healthcare and Diplomacy

Medical professionals studying together.The Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (LLC) has been awarded a grant through the U.S. Department of Education Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Languages (UISFL) program. The proposal, entitled "From Local to Global: Languages for Professional Success and the Common Good," was authored by Peter Shoemaker, Ph.D. Full Professor of French, who will serve as Program Director. Many of the department’s faculty as well as the LLC-Global Learning Center will participate in the implementation of the grant.

The program seeks to meet the professional needs of Seton Hall's students and of the local and global communities that the university serves. Via a new curriculum, the team will develop language training and certification programs with a strong experiential component in both healthcare and diplomacy in collaboration with the College of Nursing, the School of Health and Medical Sciences, the School of Diplomacy and International Relations,  the Pre-Professional Advising Center, Career Services, the Center for Community Research and Engagement, and other partner units across campus.

Shoemaker explained the need for the specialized language program for IHS students, "Language impacts health on multiple levels — through its role in health education, its impact on inclusion and access, and its interconnectedness with culture. It is therefore imperative that we provide students… with the linguistic and cultural training to serve the needs of a diverse population of the region." He added, "31.5% of New Jersey residents speak a language other than English at home. The project will expand and enhance existing offerings in Spanish for healthcare while establishing similar programs in basic Tagalog (Filipino) and [Mandarin] Chinese for healthcare providers. A primary feature of the curriculum will be the opportunity to participate in experiential learning through simulations, internships, or clinical placements."

With regard to the diplomacy program, Shoemaker quoted former Ambassador Stanko Nick, who stated, "…the use of language in diplomacy is of major importance, since language is not a simple tool, vehicle for transmission of thoughts, or instrument of communication, but very often the very essence of the diplomatic vocation." In this spirit, elements of the diplomacy curriculum will include: language and culture courses designed specifically for diplomacy and foreign service; a co-curriculum that brings together students in different languages for enrichment experiences, such as shadowing UN interpreters, etc.; and certification of linguistic proficiency and curriculum completion. Experiential opportunities (primarily internships) will be offered through the School of Diplomacy and International Relations.

"If this model is successful," noted Shoemaker, "we hope to roll out similar collaborations with programs as diverse as business, communications, and criminal justice."

Categories: Health and Medicine, Nation and World