College of Humanities Newsletter

Spring 2012, Volume 6, Issue 2

In This Issue

Departments and Programs

  • Asian American Studies
  • Chicana/o Studies
  • English
  • Gender & Women’s Studies
  • Liberal Studies & Humanities Interdisciplinary Program
  • Modern & Classical Languages & Literatures
  • Philosophy
  • Religious Studies
  • Office of Interdisciplinary Studies:
    • American Indian Studies
    • Central American Studies
    • Jewish Studies
    • Linguistics
    • Queer Studies
    • Russian Studies
    • Sustainability Studies

Message from Humanities Dean Elizabeth A. Say

Dean Elizabeth A. Say
Elizabeth A. Say, Ph.D. Alum 1981

I am certain that those of you who receive our newsletter are aware of the fiscal challenges facing the CSU. I’m not going to dwell on these except to say that the College of Humanities is planning for the worst and hoping for the best! We won’t know how the CSU will fare in the state budget until after the Fall 2012 election so until then we will keep to our charted course. As you will see in this newsletter, we have much to celebrate. Eleven new faculty members joined the College this year; I know you will enjoy getting to know them. Also joining the College this spring is a new Director of Development, Ms. June Kim Penrod. June brings a rich background in fundraising and we know that the College will benefit from her experience. As the state of California continues to reduce funding for higher education, the importance of private support becomes increasingly important. So, we are delighted to tell you about the bequest left to the College by an English Department alumna, Linda Nichols Joseph, and the naming of the English Reading Room in honor of her generosity. We are also pleased to announce that the College received a $100,000 federal grant to support our developing program in Russian language instruction. Finally, our new University President, Dianne F. Harrison, will arrive on campus this summer. I look forward to working with her as we begin this next chapter in CSUN’s history.

College of Humanities Awarded $100,000 Startalk Grant

The College of Humanities has been awarded a $100,000 Startalk grant to fund the summer residency component of its Russian Language and Culture Immersion Program. This six-week intensive program is geared toward preparing students to enter a global workforce, providing accelerated training for highly motivated students who wish to expand their professional options and whose academic and/or career trajectories would be greatly enhanced by Russian language and culture proficiency.

Project Director Dina Mokhnatkin has taught Russian language courses at CSUN since 2007, and since 2008 has coordinated its summer immersion programs—including a study-abroad component—as part of the CSU Consortium for the Strategic Language Initiative. Past immersion program participants are currently making use of their multilingual proficiency in business, academic, government, and military careers.

Recognizing the successes of participating students in the Strategic Language Initiative and understanding the value of investing in less commonly taught, vitally important world languages,  the College of Humanities has significantly expanded its Russian programming to include a Russian studies minor and a Russian studies pathway for Liberal Studies Interdisciplinary Program majors. Together with the summer residency and overseas immersion programs, these initiatives offer CSUN students unprecedented access to one of the 10 most commonly spoken languages in the world. The College is grateful for the funding support the Startalk grant provides to advance language learning, cultural awareness, and professional skill sets among students who are often unable to afford the cost of immersion language programs and the accelerated proficiency they offer.

Startalk is a component program of the National Security Language Initiative, which seeks to expand and improve the teaching and learning of strategically important world languages that are not widely taught in the United States.