A&M-San Antonio officially says “Sí” to minoring in Spanish
In 2016 students had the opportunity to register for the first Spanish class which could be applied to their Spanish major. As of fall 2018, Texas A&M University-San Antonio students can officially declare a Spanish minor.
“Having a (Spanish) minor will allow students to have a greater earning power, formal education in the language and culture,” said Dr. Marcus Palmer, assistant professor of Spanish.
“That skill set is very desirable, not only speak it but translate, interpret and interact culturally.”
For the last 10 years, there has not been a single student from A&M-San Antonio who graduated with a Spanish degree nor minor. However, by implementing the new minor, A&M-San Antonio will offer its first foreign language curriculum in totality to all students.
Dr. Palmer recently began as a tenure-track in the summer of 2016 and continues working earnestly in designing the Spanish curriculum, which falls under the College of Arts and Sciences. In order to offer a variety of courses to Spanish majors and future minors, Palmer saw the necessity to incorporate additional higher division courses.
“The minor includes in-depth courses that will help students be prepared in the real world and open doors in their field,” Palmer said.
Courses such as Latin American Film, Spanish Composition, Advanced Spanish Grammar, Hispanic Culture, Professional Spanish, Spanish-Heritage Speakers I and Topics in Spanish Literature, to name a few, are either taking place currently or will be available in the fall. As higher division courses they will be conducted only in Spanish.
Dr. Palmer has seen an increase in students inquiring about the Spanish minor and he believes that the demand is because students are interested in understanding their “Hispanic roots and background.” They want to formally learn more about their “history, culture, and learn the Spanish language.”
“Communicating in another language is smart and it’s the culture here on the southside,” said Joanne Lopez, a senior sociology major, and a spanish minor. “I’m hoping to enhance my future by incorporating my Spanish.”
This spring, senior Robert Tamez, the university’s first Spanish major, will walk the stage and be the first student to acquire a Spanish degree from A&M-San Antonio.
“My experience has been enlightening, I didn’t know what to expect,” Tamez said “The majority of my courses have been literature, historical stories, poetry, a combination of composition and grammar. And I wish there were more students graduating with me at the same time.”
After graduation, Tamez plans on pursuing a Texas Teaching Certification and begin teaching Spanish this fall in the city of Nixon, Texas.
Currently, the Spanish department at A&M-San Antonio is composed of one tenure-track, one lecturer and two adjunct faculty members. Palmer is overseeing that the demand is met by staffing the department appropriately and plans on hiring more Spanish professors in the near future.
There are numerous plans set in place for the Spanish department as it continues to grow. These plans include adding a teaching certification with the Spanish major, offering Spanish courses in the evenings and incorporating additional tentative foreign languages.
Also, as the university continues to expand by adding more classroom space, a Center for Languages and Cultures Research Department will be available in the next couple of years for students to engage in “language-focused activities.” The new space will also house a teaching collaboration with La Universidad de Catamarca from Argentina which students will receive assistance in their Spanish studies.
“Majoring or minoring in Spanish will definitely make our students more marketable and desirable on the job market,” Palmer said.
Students who are interested in minoring in Spanish should make an appointment with their advisors to discuss further details on the requirements.
At this moment the key focus is making sure that the minor will have a smooth transition into the degree plan, which will be ready this fall.