French (B.A.)

Program Summary

The French major and minor build linguistic skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) and knowledge of French and Francophone cultures, history, memory, literature and film. The department offers courses in conversation, composition and reading, history, contemporary French and Francophone cultures, and Special Topics. The major concludes with a Senior Seminar Project; in consultation with a professor, the student works on a research topic of his/her choice.

Courses are taught in French, and majors write papers and examinations in French.

Objectives & Goals

Knowledge

  • French history
  • French literature, art and film
  • Francophone (French-speaking) cultures
  • French business and politics (and the role of France and other Francophone countries)
  • International relations (specific focus on the role of France within the European context)
  • Business practices in French-speaking contexts
  • Religion and philosophy in France

Skills

Communication

Advanced language proficiency in the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking

Collaboration

Students use their native and acquired languages to learn from and work cooperatively across cultures with global team members, sharing responsibility and making necessary compromises while working toward a common goal.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Students frame, analyze and synthesize information as well as negotiate meaning across language and culture in order to explore problems and issues from their own and different perspectives.

Creativity and Innovation

Information Literacy

Students access, manage and effectively use culturally-authentic sources in ethical and legal ways.

Media Literacy

Students evaluate authentic sources to understand how media reflect and influence language and culture.

Technology Literacy

Students use appropriate technologies when interpreting messages, interacting with others and producing written, oral and visual messages.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Initiative and Self-Direction

Students set their own goals and reflect on their progress as they grow and improve their linguistic and cultural competence.

Social and Cross-Cultural Skills

Students understand diverse cultural perspectives and use appropriate socio-linguistic skills in order to function in diverse cultural and linguistic contexts.

Productivity and Accountability

Leadership and Responsibility

Students leverage their linguistic and cross-cultural skills to inspire others to be fair, accepting, open and understanding within and beyond the local community.

View Curriculum

Is This Program for Me?

All types of personalities are suited to this program.

What Makes Us Different?

Small classes, summer and/or semester study abroad program in France or in a Francophone country. Upper-level courses focus on contemporary events and texts from the Francophone world. Recent Special Topics courses have included: History of French Cinema, World War II and Memory in French Texts, Francophone literature and film of Africa and the Diaspora, Francophone Literature of North Africa.

Career Preparation

The information below is from ACTFL, The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages’ 5Cs: World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages.

Communication

Communicate effectively in more than one language in order to function in a variety of situations and for multiple purposes

• Interpersonal Communication: Interact and negotiate meaning in spoken, signed, or written conversations to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions.
• Interpretive Communication: Understand, interpret, and analyze what is heard, read, or viewed on a variety of topics.
• Presentational Communication: Present information, concepts, and ideas to inform, explain, persuade, and narrate on a variety of topics using appropriate media and adapting to various audiences of listeners, readers, or viewers.

Cultures

Interact with cultural competence and understanding
• Relating Cultural Practices to Perspectives: Use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the cultures studied. • Relating Cultural Products to Perspectives: Use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the relationship between the products and perspectives of the cultures studied.

Connections

Connect with other disciplines and acquire information and diverse perspectives in order to use the language to function in academic and career-related situations
• Making Connections: Build, reinforce, and expand their knowledge of other disciplines while using the language to develop critical thinking and to solve problems creatively.
• Acquiring Information and Diverse Perspectives: Access and evaluate information and diverse perspectives that are available through the language and its cultures.

Comparisons

Develop insight into the nature of language and culture in order to interact with cultural competence
• Language Comparisons: Use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied and their own.
• Cultural Comparisons: Use the language to investigate, explain, and reflect on the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own.

Communities

Communicate and interact with cultural competence in order to participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world
• School and Global Communities: To use the language both within and beyond the classroom to interact and collaborate in their community and the globalized world.
• Lifelong Learning: Set goals and reflect on their progress in using languages for enjoyment, enrichment, and advancement.

Career Opportunities

Translating/Interpreting
Hotel Industry
Tourism and Travel
Teaching (K-12 and university)
Politics
Public relations
Marketing
FBI
Government
Foreign Service 
Missions
Non-profit
Graduate school (Medicine, Law, TESOL, French, English, Gender Studies, Linguistics)

Accolades & Alumni

Alumni Awards

TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France): Alyssa Gallas, Abby McAtee Gatliff, Julie Ann Wallis, William Kinslow, Holli Sconyers Herr, Cole Farmer

Alumni Careers

TESOL
Teaching (K-12 and higher education)
Law
Medicine
Pharmacy
Counseling
Missions
Marketing
Business Development

Notable Faculty

Faculty Awards

Mike Ledgerwood

Chair of the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, 2005
President of the International Association for Language Learning Technology, 2009-2011

Mary McCullough

Fulbright-Hays to Egypt, 2005
Fulbright Scholarship to Tunisia, 2007-08
DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service Grant), 2014

Heather West

Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers’ Teacher of the Year Award (post-secondary), 2005
Lillian S. Robinson Scholars Program at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University in Montreal, Québec, Canada, 2007
Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, 2015
“Contest Administrator of the Year” Award, American Association of Teachers of French, 2015
Marlin Harris Award for Outstanding Service, Alabama World Languages Association, 2017