The world is diverse and speaks many languages, each of which represents distinct spheres of knowledge and life experiences. The William & Mary mission states: “We cultivate creative thinkers, principled leaders, and compassionate global citizens equipped for lives of meaning and distinction ... We create a welcoming and caring community that embraces diverse people and perspectives. ... We engage diverse perspectives and seek wisdom in bridging differences. Together, we are unceasing in our efforts to make a meaningful difference in our communities, the state, the nation, and the world.” In fulfillment of this mission, students today more than ever before must be prepared to thrive in a linguistically and culturally diverse world. Through its eight intensive language and culture programs in Arabic Studies, Chinese Studies, French & Francophone Studies, German Studies, Hispanic Studies, Italian Studies, Japanese Studies, and Russian Studies, the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures serves as the central site at William & Mary for implementing the university’s global reach, commitment to diversity, and training in intercultural understanding and expertise. Affirmation of linguistic diversity and the fundamental indivisibility of linguistic and cultural knowledge is central to MLL’s dual mission of teaching and research. Read more.
The Department of Modern Languages traces its beginnings to a professorship established by Thomas Jefferson in 1779. Today that single professorship has grown to nearly 50 faculty members offering programs in: