CSUSB Advising Podcast

Ep. 56 - What is the Spanish major?

May 15, 2023 Matt Markin Season 1 Episode 56
Ep. 56 - What is the Spanish major?
CSUSB Advising Podcast
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CSUSB Advising Podcast
Ep. 56 - What is the Spanish major?
May 15, 2023 Season 1 Episode 56
Matt Markin

In Episode 56 of the CSUSB Advising Podcast, Meghan McGarry chats with Dr. George Thomas, Spanish Professor and the Department Chair of World Languages and Literatures! What is the Spanish major? What concentrations are offered? What minors and certificates are offered? What career opportunities are there? Find out in this episode!

Visit the B.A. in Spanish page on the World Languages and Literatures website! 

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#acadv #academicadvising #collegemajors #csusb #calstate #highereducation

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Show Notes Transcript

In Episode 56 of the CSUSB Advising Podcast, Meghan McGarry chats with Dr. George Thomas, Spanish Professor and the Department Chair of World Languages and Literatures! What is the Spanish major? What concentrations are offered? What minors and certificates are offered? What career opportunities are there? Find out in this episode!

Visit the B.A. in Spanish page on the World Languages and Literatures website! 

Subscribe to the CSUSB Advising Podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google and more!

Follow us on social media:

Instagram & Tik Tok - @csusbadvising
Facebook - CSUSB Advising
Twitter - @csusb_advising
YouTube - @csusbadvising

https://csusbadvising.buzzsprout.com/

#acadv #academicadvising #collegemajors #csusb #calstate #highereducation

Subscribe to the CSUSB Advising Podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google and more!

Follow us on social media:

Instagram & Tik Tok - @csusbadvising
Facebook - CSUSB Advising
Twitter - @csusb_advising
YouTube - @csusbadvising

https://csusbadvising.buzzsprout.com/

Welcome to CSUSB advising podcasts. My name is Meghan McGarry academic advisor at Cal State San Bernardino. On today's episode, we're going to learn about the Spanish major here at CSUSB. And today we have a special guest with us to talk about this major Dr. George Thomas. Welcome. Thanks, Meghan. Well, let's start off by telling us a little bit about yourself, and what was your path into higher education, specifically here at CSUSB?

Well, I did my undergraduate degree in English and Spanish. And then like many of our students in our major, then later, I decided I wanted to teach. So then afterwards, I did a master's plus a teaching credential, in Ohio actually. And after that, I taught high school Spanish and English for a year. But at the same time, I was teaching part time at the university, and I liked that better. So then I realized if I was going to be a full time professor, I needed to have a PhD. So when I stopped teaching high school, and I worked on my PhD full time, and then I became a Spanish professor. And then I worked for 11 years at the University of Nevada, Reno. And then after that, I got a job as a chair of the department and University of Northern Colorado. And I was there for three years before coming here. And I've been here almost exactly three years in July. And I mainly came here because my family lives in California, and my mom had worked for the CSU system from Cal State Northridge. So they they, they always said that the benefits and the working conditions were great. So so then I was looking for a position in California and the CSU system. And this position came up as a chair of the department of World Languages. And I've been happy ever since.

Wow, that's great. Well, now that we know what your your background is, how would you describe our Spanish major here? And are there any concentrations that students can look through?

Yeah, great question. Our Spanish major is very diverse. So we tried to create different concentrations that would attract different types of students. So basically, we have four concentrations in a Spanish major. The first one, and the most popular one is what we would call the teaching track. It's called Hispanic Language, Literature and Civilization. And that one is the one with the most Spanish classes. And at the end of this major, if you complete it with a C average, you'll get a CSET waiver for the Spanish subject exam. And then you can go on to the credential program, the signal subject credential program in the College of Education, and become a Spanish teacher for the state of California. So that's our most popular concentration. But we also have one that's business studies, where there's a chunk of classes that you take in English in business. And this is for the student who is probably interested in using Spanish within a business career, either internationally, or also here in the United States. And so there's a lot of businesses that work with the Spanish speaking community. The third concentration is the communication studies concentration. And that one also has a chunk of classes in English that are with the Communication Studies department, in a variety of you can pick media or other communications in this. And mainly it's for students who want to use their bilinguals skills in communications fields. And then finally, the fourth concentration, we just call Hispanic studies, and that one has two fewer classes than the other concentrations. And it's mainly designed for people who are doing a double major since it's fewer classes and it's easier to to complete the major if you have another individual.

Do you offer any minors?

Yeah, so we have a Spanish minor. And then we also have several certificate programs which are related to different careers. So the Spanish minor is very general and includes a lot of grammar, culture and language classes. And then the two certificate programs that we have in Spanish are more oriented towards a career. So we have the criminal justice Spanish certificate. And that just recently started and it's mainly for students that are interested in criminal justice. Most of them are criminal justice majors. And then we have a healthcare Spanish certificate, which has attracted students in different healthcare fields such as nursing or even psychology. And both of those certificate programs include a lot of hands on courses in In settings, such as healthcare and criminal justice, and they both include an optional Study Abroad component, which is very exciting.

So generally speaking, what are students learning in their classes or within the major? And are there any placement tests that students can take?

Yeah, there's a placement test for students to start with. It's free and online. And you can find it at the World Languages and Literature's website on our resources page. And if you just click on there, sign up for the placement test, you can take the placement test online, and then get a placement in case you're already speak Spanish at home or if you've taken Spanish previously at a community college or in high school, and you're not sure where to start. If you do have prior credit from either AP classes or community college, then you can talk with an advisor and see what the next class and the sequence of Spanish classes shouldn't be for you. Students are learning a wide variety of things. So we try to keep the major varied, like we said, we have a number of different concentrations. And we have a lot of hands on practical classes, because we understand that sometimes students are just exploring whatever possible career paths. So besides more traditional classes in language and literature and culture, we also have, for example, one class that's Coyote Radio in Spanish, where the students produce Spanish radio show on Fridays, that classes a lot of fun. And I think students are particularly nervous at the beginning. But at the end, we always say that's one of the best experiences they've had during the major. We also have a class Spanish 4412, which is a theater practicum, where students produce a play in Spanish. So there's all sorts of different classes that involve different careers. And then I think study abroad is the other interesting part of our major, there are various study abroad programs. For example, this year, some of the criminal justice Spanner certificate students are going to Salamanca in Barcelona with two professors and then go they'll see a lot of interesting historical and cultural sites and and kind of understand the criminal justice system experience.

Definitely. That's interesting. You spoke a little bit about this earlier, what career areas have you seen your students go on to after graduation?

You know, I think a Spanish major can be used in any field when you're dealing with people, especially because the population of the United States is now more and more bilingual. So I would say it's a wide variety fields, definitely the vast majority have gone into education, either K through 12, or some have continued into our graduate program and completed a master's, and then taught at community college. And we tend to stay more in touch with with those students, because some of them even teach here at CSUSB as part time instructors, but we have had a lot of students that go into other fields, and then pursue even graduate degrees and other areas such as psychology, or counseling or higher education.

Very interesting. So after hearing all of that, a student might be still interested in Spanish, but they're not quite sure about declaring it. What suggestions do you have for those students that are on the fence about declaring your major?

You know, I think the best thing I can do is just take a few classes, I think our faculty in the department are great, and particularly if they want to connect with other Spanish speaking students, since most of our students here speak Spanish, it also can be a good way to just, you know, connect with other students who speak Spanish, and then see the different types of classes that are offered and the concentrations that could appeal to them.

Oh, interesting. Do you think there are any misconceptions about students in the Spanish major?

You know, I think maybe the main misconception is that most of the classes will just be about grammar, which a lot of people don't think is that interesting. But once you've finished the initial 2000 level classes in grammar and culture, then most of the other classes are very big. So there's a lot of hands on classes. There's a lot of classes on literature, there's a lot of classes on linguistics, so I think students can pick and choose based on what interests them.

Oh, wow. Does your department offer any clubs, tutoring or maybe maybe scholarships for students to look into?

Yeah, we have all of those listed on our website, on the resources page and on the front page. So we do have a variety of scholarships. And usually the deadline for those scholarships is in the spring. So students can look for both the study abroad scholarships and the academic scholarships, we have a number of clubs that have to do with Spanish. Two of them are for all students with we have Los Angeles Spanish Club, which does a lot of interesting activities on campus and can be a social environment for students. And then we have the actor Latina Club, which is the club that helps you produce the plan Spanish and also participate on a lot of activities on campus. And finally, one club that you're invited to join, which is the Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society club. So these are all great ways to get involved. And then another good space that many students don't know about is a multimedia Language Center, which is located in the basement of University Hall in 007. And there's computers, there is tutoring for students and all sorts of release resources for language learning.

If a student has a question about anything that we've talked about today, how can they reach their department? Or what's the best way to get a hold of someone?

You know, the best way is probably to email me, George Thomas, and both the chair of the department and the main Spanish advisor, but they can also drop by you h 314. That's a department office. And you know, we're always happy to help students who have questions.

Awesome. Well, is there anything else that you might want to add about your major or anything else that you feel like students should know?

You know, I think it's a really exciting nature. And I think a lot of students especially now are interested in doing things that will help their CV and certainly one thing that is good is having Spanish or that you're bilingual on your CV. So I know not every student will want to declare Spanish major, but we can also consider the minor or the certificate programs, or whenever faculty work study abroad programs, just because that will add something to their resume once once entering the job fields.

Well, that's great information. Well, thank you Dr. George Thomas for telling us a little bit about the Spanish major today. We'll make sure that we have this information ready for our students and share this out. Thank you.

Awesome. Thanks, Meghan.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai