The mission of the French & Francophone Studies Program is to promote "specialized knowledge of a discipline with a comprehensive worldview" and preparation for "citizenship and life in a global society," by providing developmental opportunities for linguistic proficiency, as well as cultural sensitivity and competency of the French language and French and Francophone cultures, to the students of Illinois Wesleyan University.
I. Language Production. Students will demonstrate comprehension of the target language through speaking and writing as measured by Advanced Low for majors and Intermediate High for minors (ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines). For speaking, this means that students can function well in everyday situations, circumlocute, and handle "with confidence but not facility" more complicated situations with native speakers. For writing, students' language is still characterized by some grammar and spelling errors, but students can write letters, take notes, and summarize with facility. Writing sometimes reads like a "direct translation," but a "rhetorical structure" is emerging. The speaking and writing is understandable to sympathetic native speakers.
II. Language Perception. Students will demonstrate comprehension of the target language through reading and listening as measured by Advanced Low for majors and Intermediate High for minors (ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines). For reading, students can understand target-language texts of different types, including newspaper articles, critical essays, and literary prose and poetry. For listening, students can comprehend native speech, including personal conversations, news broadcasts, podcasts, and film, at an ordinary speed.
III. Cultural Awareness and Knowledge. Students will demonstrate cultural proficiency in French language and French and Francophone cultures. Given the diversity of the Francophone world, students will acquire knowledge of and appreciation for the cultural texts, traditions, worldview, and cultural history of target cultures both in France and in French-speaking locales such as Québec, the Maghreb, West Africa, and the Antilles. An understanding of the colonial/postcolonial dynamics and the influence of France and the French language is expected, as is an awareness of the sensibility required to function effectively in one or more Francophone cultures, leading to students' better awareness of their own worldview.
IV. Critical Thinking Skills. Students will demonstrate their ability in written and oral work to effectively gather quality information in French in order to evaluate and synthesize it. Culturally-specific examples of academic exercises include the analyse de texte and the explication de texte, as well as the exposé.
"With a program small enough to give you personal attention, but large enough to allow you to pursue your specific interests, the French & Francophone Studies Program at IWU covers all aspects of French language, literature, and culture. Our courses—ranging from Medieval French literature and French cinema to business French and Francophone Civilization—provide students with a firm foundation in order to take full advantage of the required semester of study abroad in France or another French-speaking country. Our students graduate with a well-rounded knowledge of French academic traditions while keeping an eye toward the future with a diverse global outlook."
- Dr. Scott Sheridan, Associate Professor of French and Italian
Professor Sheridan posing with famed Québécois author
Marie-Claire Blais, during her visit to the IWU campus in 2003