The study of language is a part of a dozen other disciplines on any average sized campus, and should be a part of every general education program precisely because it is a part of so many other disciplines. Our job is to not only provide students with exceptional undergraduate and graduate linguistics degrees, but to ensure that students are exposed to linguistics in their general studies and that students have the opportunity to take linguistics courses as appropriate for their other majors and minors. The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) linguistics faculty is doing this by offering interdisciplinary programs, creating new programs, and by taking advantage of our new general education program beginning fall 2013.
UCA’s first linguistics course was offered in the spring of 2000. We grew slowly, first as a part of the major in Writing, then establishing a minor in linguistics by 2003. We began a major in 2010, leaning heavily on other departments, including English, Philosophy, Speech, Computer Science, Speech Pathology, Psychology and World Languages, to provide some of our course offerings since we only had a faculty of two. Because of this, we built relationships with faculty in other departments and increased our exposure around campus.
Next, we began to promote linguistics as part of other programs. We proposed a track in the Department of Education’s Master’s degree in Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning that included Educational Linguistics as well as courses in teaching creative writing and composition. After establishing this course of study, we turned our attention to the MA in English and are working to make two of our courses, Educational Linguistics and Grammatical Structures, a part of their curriculum. We are also working with the Department of World Languages to start an MA in TESOL, which will include not only these two courses but graduate courses in language structure, syntax, morphology and World Englishes.
Second, we have worked to include linguistics courses in other programs. We have two courses that are part of our African/African American major and our Anthropology minor; several courses that are electives in our Creative Writing MFA, major and minor; and our Writing major requires two linguistics courses and allows for more to count as electives. We find many Speech Pathology, English and language majors and minors in our courses, so we are working with those departments to count these as electives in their programs.
Lastly, we are working on our new general education program. Every freshman must take a first year seminar within their first sixteen hours. We created one, Language, Culture and Society, to fit into this category as one of their Diversity choices. We also have a sophomore level course, World Languages, which is now one of the choices all students have to fulfill their Critical Analysis requirement.
Besides having our own undergraduate major and minor, linguistics has become part of two graduate and several undergraduate degrees, and we are working on becoming part of even more degrees. With the establishment of two courses in the General Education program, we can expose more students to the value of linguistics, if not as a major or minor area of study, at least as a part of many of their other choices.
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Burley, Lynn, "Linguistic Weeds: Popping Up Everywhere" (2014). Taking Linguistics Beyond Linguistics Programs and Departments Symposium. 1.