About the Program
Why This Major Is Relevant
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Spanish is spoken at home by over 35 million people, making the U.S. the second largest Spanish-speaking community in the world. Indeed, millions of Americans learn Spanish at home as their first tongue. Because Azusa Pacific University is located in the midst of a highly Spanish-speaking populace, APU students have an opportunity to speak Spanish within the community, seek out Spanish-speaking places of worship, and interact on a social, service, and business level in the Spanish language.
All courses offered in the department are within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and are designed to contribute to a Christian liberal arts education. As immigration continues over the next several decades, this significant and growing segment of our population will require services by Spanish-speaking professionals. APU Spanish majors are uniquely prepared to provide these services and make a difference in the lives of the Spanish-speaking population, both here and abroad.
Gain In-depth Learning Experiences
Because Azusa Pacific University is located in the midst of a highly Spanish-speaking populace, APU students have an opportunity to speak Spanish within the community, seek out Spanish-speaking places of worship, and interact on a social, service, and business level in the Spanish language.
APU offers the first private, university-based, state-approved teacher credential program in Spanish.
Goals and Objectives
Upon graduation, APU Spanish majors will have had the opportunity to achieve the following goals:
- An advanced level of proficiency in the Spanish language in its four basic components: listening, reading, speaking, and writing, as outlined in the ACTFL Guidelines for the Advanced Level of Language Proficiency
- Sensitivity and appreciation for the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, as well as competent functioning within these cultures
- Skills that will enable them to search for and find data from unaccustomed bodies of information through the use of their knowledge of Spanish
- Adequate competence for expressing intelligent and coherent opinions and observations about the literature produced in the Hispanic world
- The ability to evaluate diverse curricula of foreign language instruction and assess its validity for utilization in California schools
- Confidence and poise borne out of the self-assurance gained through their mastery of the Spanish language, which allows them to function personally and professionally in bilingual settings
- A working knowledge of applied linguistics and the science of language and language acquisition
Such preparation means that APU students will be prepared to enter advanced studies in Spanish and interact with Spanish speakers of varying educational levels, from children to adult professionals.
Los Angeles as a Classroom
Azusa Pacific University is strategically situated in the midst of the first community in the continental United States where English-speaking European Americans are the numerical minority. Dubbed the "capital of the Mexican dream," Los Angeles now exists as the second largest Spanish-speaking city in the world. This broadly termed Latino or Hispanic population, while by no means a homogeneous group, has much in common because of their shared beliefs, life patterns, and language. Indeed, Spanish has become the fourth most widely spoken language in the world and the second most frequently used language in the Southwest. Mexicans, Salvadorians, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, Spaniards, Cubans, and many other Spanish-speaking peoples exert a profound impact on the local scene, altering the appearance, character, and institutional life of the city.
Nowhere is this so obvious as in the schools. In 1990, the California Department of Education reported that of the 1.4 million children enrolled in Los Angeles schools, 27 percent did not speak English. The majority of these are Latino. The population identified as limited-English proficient (LEP) statewide has doubled since 1985 to nearly one million. There is an acute shortage of bilingual and traditional teachers equipped to effectively use the students' language and culture to promote academic achievement. For students who plan to teach at the elementary level, a Spanish minor meets the bilingual Spanish concentration course work requirements.
Apart from teaching through the Single Subject Credential Program, myriad other public contact fields now require some proficiency in Spanish. Law enforcement, Christian missions, medicine, social work, nursing, municipal services, advertising, journalism, foreign service, translation services, international finance and banking, and the rapidly expanding world of international business—these fields, and many others, increasingly seek candidates who possess Spanish language ability and cultural sensitivity as adjunct career skills. Especially for students who have studied foreign languages in high school and still perform at beginner levels, a Spanish major or minor enables students to acquire the language and culture skills appropriate to a variety of public service applications.
The Single Subject Credential Program in Spanish enables students to acquire a five-year preliminary teaching credential in Spanish. Many students are able to complete the course of study and graduate with the preliminary credential in four years. In close consultation with the Department of Teacher Education, students are encouraged to meet with an advisor for careful planning in order to meet the requirements in a timely fashion.
A Spanish major or minor also appeals to students who simply enjoy exploring the language and cultural traditions of other peoples. The modern languages faculty views knowledge of language, culture, and literature, along with developed intercultural skills, as integrally related facets of the phenomenon of communication which will help students to better understand one another and strengthen a sense of community. The insights gained from study within the Spanish major or minor affords students the opportunity to critically reflect upon their own cultural values and traditions and to develop into more sensitive, flexible, and enriched people.