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IR Designation Approved for Select Third-Year Language Courses

The University of Utah’s Department of World Languages & Cultures is pleased to announce new IR (International Requirement) designations on many third-year language courses.

IR designations will go into affect for ARAB 3010, CHIN 3010, CHIN 3060, FRNCH 3040 GERM 3040, GERM 3060, ITAL 3040, ITAL 3060, JAPAN 3040, KOREA 3060, PERS 3010, LATIN 3610, PTGSE 3060, GREEK 3610, RUSS 3040, RUSS 3060, SPAN 3040 and SPAN 3060 starting Fall 2024 and will have its provisional approval reevaluated in Spring 2027 by the General Education Curriculum Committee to ensure that the designation supports curricular needs and assessment protocols that are sustainable.  

“The International Requirement was instituted in 2007 to ensure that students do not leave the University of Utah without exposure to a deeper understanding of global perspectives,” said Christopher Lewis, Chair of the Department of World Languages & Cultures. “Surprisingly, this will be the first year that courses from the department of World Languages & Cultures have an IR designation. Thanks to the work of department leadership and staff, language students will no longer need to fulfill the requirement elsewhere.” 

Olivia Davis, Academic Advisor in the department, is excited about what this means for students.

"In my nearly five years in the department, I’ve worked with language students who are surprised and disappointed that none of their language courses fulfilled the International Requirement. They felt that the essence of their degrees heavily engaged with the very same learning outcomes of the IR, and I felt for them when I broke the news that they’d have to look outside of the discipline for that requirement.”  

In Spring 2023, the department began talks with leadership in the General Education Curriculum Committee (GECC) about applying for an IR designation for select third-year language courses. Because these designations are typically given on a course-by-course basis with stringent standards for learning outcomes and assessment, it was unprecedented to include so many courses in one proposal. General Education (GE) and Bachelor Degree (BD) requirements undergo a rigorous review process and all courses are required to meet not only the learning outcomes of the specific GE/BD designation, but also align with larger learning outcomes set by the GECC. Much of the intensive work required for WLC's IR application was spearheaded by Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Natalya Kuznetsova, who lobbied on behalf of the department in countless meetings and authored several drafts of the proposal.

“Language is culture by nature,” says Dr. Natalya Kuznetsova. “Our language courses organically engage learners into analysis of international, transnational, and comparative issues. The cultures we teach are not seen as monolithic and homogeneous, but diverse. The students are engaged with Francophone, Portuguese-speaking, German-speaking etc. worlds.”

Dr. Kuznetsova’s proposal advocated for the valuable cultural competencies taught in WLC’s language courses, particularly that “[...] along with advancing their language proficiency, our learners develop intercultural competence skills to communicate meaningfully, effectively, and creatively in their target language for real-life purposes across national contexts in diverse cultural contexts recognizing and appreciating various worldviews and being willing and able to connect and engage with culturally different others.”

Special thanks to the College of Humanities leadership Dr. Mike Middleton and Karen Marsh, Department of World Languages staff and leadership, and Robyn Moreno and the entire GECC.

Last Updated: 6/5/24