May 22, 2003
CONTACT: Becky Zelinski, 661/664-2138, bzelinski@csub.edu
or Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456, mstepanovich@csub.edu

CSUB adds master's degree in Spanish to liberal arts curriculum

The California State University, Bakersfield Department of Modern Languages and Literatures has been approved to offer a masterís degree in Spanish beginning this fall.

Marla Iyasere, dean of CSUBís School of Humanities and Social Sciences said this program is in high demand in Kern County and sheís excited about the schoolís opportunity to offer it.

ìThe university exists to serve the people who live and thrive in this region,î Iyasere said. ìWeíve designed and developed this special masters program to address the interests and needs of our community. We are absolutely delighted to be able to bring this level of richness to the study of Spanish language and culture to our service region.î

Iyasere said thereís been a growing need for a Spanish masterís degree program at CSUB. She and her faculty and staff were especially inspired by the interest of their students.

ìA few years ago, a group of students circulated an independent petition requesting that we add a masterís degree in Spanish to our curriculum,î she explained. ìMore than 225 baccalaureate Spanish majors, Spanish single subject credential students, Kern County teachers and other members of the community signed the petition. We were very encouraged by this interest and have been working to get the program approved since that time.î

CSUB Modern Languages and Literatures professor Tom Blommers was the driving force in getting the program approved. In preparing the proposal, he identified the need for it in Kern County.

ìAs the population in our region grows and becomes more diversified, the need for highly trained Spanish speaking individuals in business, industry and agriculture increases,î Blommers said. ìThis program will help our community meet those needs and benefit those working professionals who wish to improve their professional skills and status, as well as the undergraduate students who want to continue their education.î

The master of arts degree in Spanish is designed to enable students to perfect their Spanish communication skills, provide in-depth knowledge of Hispanic literature and culture, linguistics and pedagogy, and provide training in the business-related fields of interpretation and translation.

Over the next three years, CSUB will add a total of 25 graduate-level Spanish classes to its course offerings. The program will begin with one new class this fall, followed by two more in each of the winter and spring quarters of 2004. The classes will be primarily held in the evenings to accommodate teachers and other working professionals who have been designated as the primary target audience.

CSUB is currently taking applications for Spanish masterís degree candidates. For more information, or to apply, contact the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at (661) 664-2359.