New language minor awaits approval vote

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    Italian enthusiasts may soon get what they’ve asked for.Out of popular demand by students, the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is working to have an Italian minor by Spring 2008, said Sharon Fairchild, department chairwoman.

    “The creation of an Italian minor was driven by high enrollment and strong demand for the Italian courses,” Fairchild said.

    Before it is declared a minor, the AddRan Curricular Committee, Undergraduate Council and University Council must approve the subject, Fairchild said.

    “We have been approved by the Curricular Committee and Undergraduate Committee, so now we’re just waiting on the University Council,” Fairchild said. “We are not exactly sure when the council will meet or decide if it will pass.”

    Fairchild said a schedule has already been made for next spring that will include four or five Italian courses. One of the courses will be about Italian cinema.

    “There will also be a study abroad course in Italy worth six credit hours,” Fairchild said. “This will be a strong plus for the program.”

    In the past two years, Italian has become a popular subject, said Nicholas Lindsey, an international communications major and an Italian minor hopeful.

    “When I took classes last year, there was maybe a total of 35 students taking Italian courses with me,” Lindsey said. “But over one year, it blew up, and every class now is full.”

    Robin Wright, professor of Italian, said her classes are full with students from all different majors including music, art history, international communication and others interested in Italian. She also said she has students of Italian descent take her courses. She said there is no need for any experience to begin the minor.

    Lindsey said he will enroll as an Italian minor in the spring if it passes. He said students should consider taking Italian because of the many benefits they could receive. He said he owes much of his success to speaking the language.

    “I have an internship at Vogue in Italy next year, and I owe it all to taking Italian courses,” Lindsey said.

    Fairchild credited Wright for the growth of the Italian program.

    “She has been very active in organizing events outside of the classroom including excursions to the Fort Worth Opera and an Italian conversation hour,” Fairchild said.

    Wright said the ultimate goal is to someday have an Italian studies major where students can study more than just the language. For example, if a student was interested in Italian architecture, the student could take a course on this with an Italian studies major, she said.

    Though an Italian studies program is the long-term goal, there is no time line of when a major could be created, Fairchild said.