Strategic plan

The strategic plan of the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures (CMLLC) is shaped by the following.

Vision for our students

Language skills

Global citizens should have the capacity to communicate in at least one foreign language. In keeping with the ACTFL World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages, we envision graduating students who are able to communicate effectively in the language of their major or minor.

Cultural competence

Global citizens should be able to interact effectively with people of different cultures. Through our cultural studies courses, as well as studies of language and literature as vehicles of culture, students are able to understand and respect different cultural values in historical context and respond with empathy to the needs of diverse communities.

Global engagement

Global engagement expands students' language skills and cultural competence. Our curriculum and departmental culture emphasize the importance of being actively engaged in multilingual communities around the corner and around the world.

Critical thinking

By guiding students in the ways of close reading, teaching them different theories and methodologies related to the study of language, literature and culture, we encourage students to think critically not only about what a text says but how it says it, to be able to analyze reasons, recognize bias and appreciate how particular ways of representation and communication can lead to particular ways of understanding.

Interdisciplinary experience

Our diverse faculty work together to train students in multiple allied disciplines, preparing students who can tackle big questions that require multifaceted approaches and integrative problem-solving and who are adaptable to changing needs in their communities and their careers.

Research skills

Through research practice inside and beyond the classroom, students are able to ask critical questions, test new ideas and create new knowledge for positive change in the world.

Goals and implementation

Language skills

  • Create more learning communities and other types of peer groups that can enhance language learning.
  • Create more opportunities for our students to study abroad.
  • Implement credentialing for our language students, majors and minors, which could take the form of the Common European Framework or ACTFL.

Cultural competence

  • Continue to offer a diversity of courses in world cultures.
  • We highlight cultural significations in language and literature courses.
  • Study abroad programs expose students to different cultural environments.
  • Internships and service learning experiences let students practice cultural competence skills in real-world professional settings.

Global engagement

  • Foster study abroad programs.
  • Help students undertake internships locally and internationally, which can make them attractive to prospective employers.
  • Create service learning opportunities.

Critical thinking

  • Continue to innovate our curriculum to offer increased opportunities for creative, active and experiential learning.
  • At the graduate level, we have implemented a required theory course for all Ph.D. students that provides an overview of dominant critical theories in literary and cultural studies.

Interdisciplinary experience

  • With the implementation and success of global studies, we can consider other opportunities to collaborate among the different disciplines within and outside of CMLLC as we strengthen our core programs.
  • Develop more interdisciplinary programs in line with the new folklore and fairy-tale studies minor. Other possible collaborations and innovative programs could include religious studies, international cinema and translation studies.

Research skills

  • Through our rigorous courses, our participation in the Undergraduate Rushton conference and our annual graduate student conference, we continue to provide various research venues for undergraduate and graduate students
  • Integrate posters and oral presentations into course assessments, which helps prepare students for different kinds of conference and presentation venues.
  • Continue to encourage graduate students to present their research at the CMLLC graduate student conference, the CMLLC Symposium and the Graduate Exhibition and to assist them in attending national and international conferences in their field, which includes helping them find available funding opportunities.
  • Continue to support the Grad Forum's professional development workshops and encourage graduate students to take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development workshops.
  • Encourage faculty to apply for Graduate Research Assistantships and involve students in faculty-led projects, including co-authorship.
  • Encourage graduate student publication in the form of book reviews, encyclopedia entries, conference proceedings, book chapters and journal articles.

Vision for our faculty

Cutting-edge research

Create an environment where interdisciplinary and cutting-edge research is produced and shared with colleagues within and outside of the department

Excellent teaching

Encourage innovative teaching strategies and curricular developments.


Increase the visibility of our faculty profiles at WSU, nationally and internationally

Interdisciplinary expertise

Cultivate opportunities for interdisciplinary research, including collaborative research, esp. with faculty in other units across WSU.


At the department, college, university and national and international level and increase our efforts at community service

Goals and implementation

Stimulate and support research

  • Participate in the departmental colloquium, the departmental writing group and Humanities Center Working Groups.
  • Continue to offer workshops on grant writing.
  • Advocate for funding.

Support teaching excellence

  • Continue to have faculty retreats where we share ideas about best practices in teaching and learning.
  • Collaborate with the Audio Visual and Technology Center on innovative course designs and optimal instructional technologies.

Increase visibility

  • Encourage faculty to participate in the Humanities Center, the Center for Citizenship, the new Emeriti Academy and other WSU venues.
  • Encourage faculty to share their research with local communities as public intellectuals and invite local community leaders into our classrooms as guest speakers.
  • Find new ways to provide support for travel to national and international conferences and to invite scholars from other universities to campus.
  • Provide support for faculty who wish to organize conferences at WSU.
  • Encourage journal editorships and participation on press and journal editorial and advisory boards.

Interdisciplinary research

  • Continue to encourage faculty to collaborate with people in the department from different disciplines on scholarly publications and grant writing.
  • Create affinity groups within CMLLC in which faculty working on similar topics or questions work together, possibly leading to co-authored and co-edited scholarship.
  • Foster collaborative research opportunities with colleagues outside of CMLLC.
  • Find ways to harness our collaborative curriculum development efforts and translate that into research projects.

Vision for the department

Community outreach

We are a department in a multiethnic city that lies on an international border. We will continue to cultivate our connections to local and global communities to strengthen our community ties and our interaction with the local and global communities we work with.

Connect with alumni

We hope to maintain longstanding ties with our alumni to know what our graduates have done after graduating from Wayne State and work with them to build up our programs and to work with students on professional development.

Be a key campus resource

We will continue to connect with other units across campus, serve as a valuable resource (e.g. information on global cultural competence issues, foreign language text translations) and help generate and collaborate on interdisciplinary research and instruction.

Goals and implementation

Community outreach

We will continue to engage with agencies such as Centro de San José, Global Ties Detroit, Zaman International, Alliance Française de Détroit and the Dante Alighieri Society of Michigan and try to locate other agencies and organizations that allow us to provide internships and cultural opportunities for our students. We can work on our global ties to, for instance, our study abroad programs to explore different kinds of collaborative opportunities for students and faculty.


By inviting alumni to be guest speakers for Career Day, including them in events such as the CMLLC Winter Ball and communicating student success stories and department activities through Lingua Franca, our departmental newsletter, we can maintain our ties with the alumni community and draw on their experience and expertise.

Campus resource

We can build on opportunities such as those offered recently through History and Anthropology to have our graduate students employ their linguistic and cultural expertise in research projects in related fields. We can consider organizing and engaging in more interdisciplinary collaborations such as the NEH-funded Ethnic Layers of Detroit project (with faculty from the Departments of CMLLC, Anthropology and the Audio Visual and Technology Center), the NEH-funded Next Generation Humanities PhD Planning Grant (with the Departments of CMLLC, Anthropology, English, History, Sociology, Political Science) and most recently the application for the Women's Leadership Grant (Depts. of CMLLC, Sociology, Physics, Chemistry and the CLAS Dean's Office along with departments from Ohio State, University of Arizona and West Virginia University).