The evolution of future Spanish graduate programs to meet diverse student needs

Barbara Lafford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


As the 2007 report from the Modern Language Association attested, foreign language departments must undergo radical structural changes in order to meet student needs in a changed world. The implications of this report (e.g., to broaden the curriculum beyond the study of literature, linguistics, and culture to include courses with other disciplinary content [history, economics, business, medicine]) have been implemented by some university language programs at the undergraduate level (e.g., Byrnes, Maxim, and Norris 2010) but mostly have been ignored by graduate programs. The effects of the dearth of foreign language graduate programs encouraging graduate students to engage in interdisciplinary research and teaching with faculty and students in other departments is seen in the literature on Languages for Specific Purposes in the United States (Lafford 2012), briefly reviewed here. This essay envisions the evolution of Spanish graduate programs that incorporate interdisciplinary approaches and professional training into their curriculum to meet diverse graduate student needs (i.e., preparing them for careers inside/outside of academe, training them to start professional languages programs, allowing heritage learners of Spanish to leverage their linguistic/cultural expertise, and providing opportunities for them to forge community partnerships to improve the quality of life of the people they will serve).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-201
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2017


  • Curriculum
  • Graduate education
  • Higher education superior
  • Language for specific purposes
  • Spanish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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