Students on the Quad

Languages, Literature and Composition

Programs and services

The Department of Languages, Literature and Composition offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Spanish, as well as minors in EnglishFrenchSpanishGerman studiesAfrican American studiesFilm studiesCreative WritingGlobal studies, and Spanish Translation/ interpreting. All degree programs are designed with small classes and one-on-one guidance from instructors and advisors to help students develop the skills in critical thinking, oral and written communication, research, and analysis that are essential to 21st-century careers. Find examples of excellent student projects and publications in the English Literary File and in the Upstate Research Journal. Our award-winning faculty members are published authors, leaders of national and regional organizations, working translators and interpreters, and global travelers committed to opening up a world of opportunity for our students.

On this page, find tips for success in the classroom, in the job search, and throughout a lifetime of learning and professional leadership.

Follow us on Twitter @LLC_Upstate or stop by our office in the Humanities and Performing Arts Center Room 222 to find out more.

Dr. Celena E. Kusch, Chair: 864-503-5850
Dr. Araceli Hernandez-Laroche, Assistant Chair for World Languages: 864-503-5221

English and Writing Programs

"Being a true English major is knowing a little bit about everything, always wanting to learn more and being able to use the knowledge that you have to analyze, interpret, draw conclusions and make verifiable arguments in a way that no one else has before." --Madelaine Hoptry '12;

Why study English?

Students in the English major and minor develop strong skills in critical thinking, analysis, written communication, research and reading--skills that are essential in a range of careers. USC Upstate alumni are working as lawyers, journalists, sports writers, business owners, professors, teachers, military officers, film-makers, bloggers, bankers, novelists, poets, public relations writers, fashion merchandisers, coaches, Peace Corps volunteers, librarians and much, much more. For more career information for students in English and writing, go to http://www.uscupstate.edu/english.

See this Chronicle of Higher Education article about "How Liberal Arts Majors Fare" in the workplace. What do employers want?  Good Writers!

Tips for Success

In the classroom
English courses share common guidelines for conducting research, interpreting literature and writing about literature. The USC Upstate English faculty prepared several Guides for Literary Study to explain common skills and approaches to English study. These reflect the shared rules and values of the discipline or field of English Studies. In Introduction to the Study of Literature (ENGL U300) and English Senior Seminar (ENGL U490), students learn about these guidelines in depth.

Outside the classroom
  • Apply for the Nancy P. Moore English Scholarship for English majors who demonstrate a commitment to community service through volunteer work and the Warren J. Carson Scholarship for Academic Excellence for students studying English or African American Studies. Apply using the Foundation Scholarship form which is available from Nov. 1-Feb. 1 (due Feb. 1)
  • Submit your poetry to Writers, Inc.for the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award
  • Join  Writer's Inc.Literary Arts Magazine or the USC Upstate Literary Club
  • Join the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society's Alpha Lambda Lambda chapter at USC Upstate
  • Ask your advisor about setting up an internship to get hands-on experience in fields related to English studies

English Studies and Your Future

    • Timeline for Preparing for Graduate School
    • Writing the Statement of Purpose in Graduate School Applications
    • Preparing for Graduate Study in English Literature
    • Preparing for Graduate Study in Cultural Studies/Film Studies
    • Preparing for Graduate Study in Creative Writing
    • Preparing for Graduate Study in Rhetoric and Composition
    • Preparing for Graduate Study in Library and Information Studies
    • Preparing for Law School

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my education at USC Upstate. I have been offered so many opportunities that I feel I would have never received in a larger university. Many of the things that have been most influential in my thinking have been garnered from individual conversations with professors. I cannot overstate the influence that my English professors have had on my education. Their consistent attention and encouragement have given me the confidence to pursue a postgraduate degree and a career in higher education." --Beth TeVault '12

Film & Cultural Studies Programs

Cultural Studies has two meanings in the fields of Languages, Literature, and Composition: 1. studies of different cultures and 2. studies of popular culture--like television, film, video games, and other mass media content. Our minors in African American StudiesFilm Studies, and Global Studies prepare students for success in cultural studies of all kinds.

Ask employers about the most important skills they need in the 21st century, and cultural competence always makes the top five. Future leaders and professionals need the ability to work with diverse groups, understand different perspectives, and either travel or communicate with people from throughout the nation and the world. Minors in African American Studies and Global Studies develop skills in intercultural competence and global competence.

Minors in Film Studies enjoy course in both film production and film analysis. They learn to be part of the visual world of popular culture from YouTube and Netflix to HBO, Hollywood, and the indy film industry.

World Language and Culture Programs

In an increasingly global world, the ability to communicate in multiple languages is more important than ever. Our world language programs help students learn to speak and read in SpanishFrenchGerman, Chinese, and American Sign Language. The programs also help to gain familiarity with the countries and cultures in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Pacific Rim, as well as North and South America where these languages are spoken. Through our study abroad programs, international film series and various international festivals, we also introduce students to a range of cultures throughout the world.

Applying knowledge of language and culture is an important goal of our programs. Our faculty are specially trained in active learning and teaching with technology to create classroom environments where students can feel engaged. In addition, many of our courses use service learning strategies to bring the course content to life with speakers of other languages in the Spartanburg community. Students in the Spanish Translation and Interpreting minor, for instance, regularly work with non-profit organizations to prepare materials and provide interpreting services that meet real-world needs. Various courses throughout our many language programs offer service learning and internship opportunities to give students resume-building experience and hands-on work that is personally fulfilling. 

Whether you major or minor in a world language or just complete the general education requirements, world language experience can open up a world of opportunities for you. Students who earn an A in two semesters of any world language may apply for the Alpha Mu Gamma Honor Society, becoming eligible for study abroad and other scholarships and grants. Students who study or have native speaker proficiency in languages that are less common in the US, such as Chinese, Russian, Hindi, Arabic, Swahili, Punjabi, and Urdu, may qualify for the Critical Language Scholarship Program or a Fulbright U.S. Student Program and Critical Language Enhancement Award. Students who complete four semesters of Chinese are eligible for the Critical Language Scholarship program and for programs through the Confucius Institute. 

¿Hablas español en casa? ¿Te gustaría aprender más sobre tu cultura y el mundo hispánico? ¿Buscas perfeccionar tu español oral o escrito? ¿Quieres estudiar en el extranjero? ¿O tal vez te interesa aprender sobre la traducción y la interpretación para carreras médicas o legales? ¿Te gustaría participar en actividades sin fin de lucro con líderes comunitarios? Aprovecha de muchas oportunidades para desarrollar liderazgo.

Services for Student Success

The Department of Languages, Literature, and Composition offers support for students working on writing projects and assignments in any course at USC Upstate. Students work with peer tutors through the Writing Center to improve their writing. 

Free Individual Tutoring is offered by the Center for Student Success to all USC Upstate students. Academic Support Services hires tutors to cover many of the 100 and 200 level courses (including world language courses). Students can have two (2) one-hour appointments per week in each of their subject areas. Appointments must be made 24 hours in advance. Academic Support cannot accommodate last-minute requests.

Sign up for tutoring for the first time in Library 210. Business students and Greenville students should contact Academic Support at 864-503-5070 for instructions on signing up online. Most tutoring appointments happen on the second floor of the Library in specially assigned tutoring rooms, but tutoring can take place anywhere on campus, including at the George.

If a tutor is not readily available for your course, you may submit a request to Academic Support in Library 210. We make every effort to find an available tutor for 100, 200 and some 300 level courses. Tutors are not available for 400 level courses.

 

Meet Our Faculty

Our faculty are committed to innovative teaching, significant scholarship, and the creation and maintenance of a collegial community.  If you have any questions, please stop by to see us in the Humanities and Performing Arts Center (HPAC), Room 222, or call us at 864-503-5688.

Full-Time Faculty in English, World Languages, and African American Studies

  • Dr. Celena E. Kusch, Chair
    Associate Professor of American Literature
    Teaching and Research Areas: Modernism, Postmodernism, Postcolonial Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, Literary Theory

    Dr. Araceli Hernandez-Laroche, Assistant Chair of World Languages
    Assistant Professor of French and Comparative Literature
    Teaching and Research Areas: French Language and Literature, Existentialism, Immigration, Francophone Africa, the Global South

    Brock Adams
    Senior Instructor of English, Director of the Writing Center
    Teaching and Research Areas: Writing, Creative Nonfiction, Flash Fiction, Apocalyptic Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

    Meggan Burton
    Senior Instructor of Spanish
    Teaching and Research Areas: Spanish, Spanish for Business, Language Acquisition through Video

    Dr. Catherine Canino
    Professor of English, Director of the Honors Program
    Teaching and Research Areas: Shakespeare, Elizabethan England, Shakespeare and Film

    Dr. Warren Carson
    Professor of English, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
    Teaching and Research Areas: African American Literature, Harlem Renaissance, Black Masculinity

    Dr. June Carter 
    Professor of Spanish, Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and Director of the Reflections Workshop for Language Instructors
    Teaching and Research Areas: Spanish Language and Literature, Latin American Literature and Culture, Spanish and Social Justice, K-16 Language Learning

    Dr. Peter Caster
    Professor of English
    Teaching and Research Areas: Film Studies, Disney, Masculinity Studies, Prison Studies, Cultural Studies

    Dr. David Coberly 
    Assistant Professor of Spanish
    Teaching and Research Areas: Spanish Language and Linguistics, Second Language Acquisition, Language Learning Assessment

    Gabrielle Drake
    Senior Instructor of Spanish
    Teaching and Research Areas: Spanish Language and Spanish for Specific Purposes, Spanish for Criminal Justice

    Maria Francisco Monteso
    Instructor of Spanish
    Teaching and Research Areas: Spanish Language, Translation and Interpreting, Spanish in the Community and the Professions, Study Abroad to Spain

    Dr. Esther Godfrey 
    Associate Professor of English
    Teaching and Research Areas: Victorian Literature, Women's and Gender Studies, Women's Literature

    Douglas Jackson
    Senior Instructor of Spanish
    Teaching and Research Areas: Spanish Language, Spanish for Specific Purposes, Spanish for Nursing and Health Professions, Peace Corps Prep Program, Study Abroad in Central America

    Dr. Cassandra Jones
    Assistant Professor of African American Studies, Director of the African American Studies Program
    Teaching and Research Areas: African American Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, Afrofuturism, Game Culture, Speculative Fiction

    Dr. Beth Keefauver
    Instructor of English
    Teaching and Research Areas: Composition, Creative, and Professional Writing, Women's and Gender Studies, Environmental Literature

    Dr. Marilyn Knight
    Associate Professor of English, Faculty Advisor for Writers Inc.
    Teaching and Research Areas: Creative Writing, Short Fiction, Gothic and Horror Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Southern Literature, Women's and Gender Studies

    Dr. Thomas McConnell 
    Professor of English
    Teaching and Research Areas: Creative Writing, Novel, Long Story, Autobiography and Memoir, Contemporary Literature

    Dr. David Marlow 
    Professor of English, Director of the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement
    Teaching and Research Areas: Linguistics, English for Speakers of Other Languages, Dialect Diversity, Service Learning, Study Abroad in Nicaragua

    Dr. Richard Murphy 
    Associate Professor of English
    Teaching and Research Areas: Irish Literature, Postcolonial Literature

    Dr. Colleen O'Brien 
    Associate Professor of English
    Teaching and Research Areas: American Literature, African American Literature and African American Studies, Women's and Gender Studies

    Dr. Shannon Polchow 
    Associate Professor of Spanish
    Teaching and Research Areas: Spanish Language and Literature, Golden Age Spain, Study Abroad in Spain and Costa Rica

    Wayne Robbins 
    Senior Instructor of English
    Teaching and Research Areas: Composition, Creative, and Professional Writing, Song Writing

    Hans Schmidt
    Instructor of German
    Teaching and Research Areas: German Language and Literature, German for the Professions, German Language Acquisition

    Dr. Monika Shehi 
    Associate Professor of English, Director of the First-Year Writing Program
    Teaching and Research Areas: Rhetoric and Composition, Discourse Analysis, Intercultural Studies in Composition

    Tasha Thomas 
    Senior Instructor of English, Director of the Spartanburg Writing Project
    Teaching and Research Areas: Composition and Creative Writing, English Education, Young Adult Literature, Teaching with Technology, Digital Storytelling

    Dr. George H. Williams
    Associate Professor of English
    Teaching and Research Areas: 18th Century British Literature and Culture, History of the Book, Digital Technologies, Digital Humanities, Disability Studies

Part-Time Faculty in English and World Languages

  • Knowledge of world cultures and world languages is an important global competency in our 21st century global economy, and most employers list "global competence" among the top ten skills they seek in their new hires. As USC Upstate students, you are part of one of the most international economic regions in the US--home to German, Swiss, Chinese, French, Spanish, Irish, and myriad other businesses throughout Upstate, South Carolina. Our Upstate region demands a bilingual and multilingual workforce. 

    Learning world languages is an important part of your general education and your career readiness.  

    ¿Hablas español en casa? ¿Te gustaría aprender más sobre tu cultura y el mundo hispánico? ¿Buscas perfeccionar tu español oral o escrito? ¿Quieres estudiar en el extranjero? ¿O tal vez te interesa aprender sobre la traducción y la interpretación para carreras médicas o legales? ¿Te gustaría participar en actividades sin fin de lucro con líderes comunitarios? Aprovecha de muchas oportunidades para desarrollar liderazgo. 

    Students who are already bilingual in Spanish or any other language should contact the Department of Languages, Literature, and Composition to see how you can gain credit for your language and cultural competencies.

    Which Course Should You Take?
    • All entering USC Upstate students should take the world language placement test during orientation to determine the appropriate course level. According to the Academic Catalog, "The minimum acceptable level of competency is completion of the 101 level of a language. Students who place into the 102 or higher level of a language satisfy the language requirement but will have additional hours in general education electives, if hours are required by their degree program." Students who successfully complete more advanced levels of world languages demonstrate competency above this minimum level and should not be required to complete the lower-level world language courses. 
    • Current or prospective USC Upstate students may take the Chinese, French, German, Russian, and Spanish placement tests in the Testing Center in Media 218. The test takes about 30 minutes. Walk-ins are accepted if space permits. Scores are posted on screen automatically at the end of the test.
    • Native speakers, legacy speakers or students with advanced language skills in Chinese, French, German or Spanish may place out of the introductory language requirement by completing the placement test in the Testing Center. Eligible students may earn credit for more advanced courses via exam by contacting the Department of Languages, Literature and Composition at 864-503-5688. 
    • Multilingual students who are fluent in languages we do not teach at USC Upstate may be eligible for an exemption to the world language requirement. Contact the Department of Languages, Literature and Composition at 864-503-5688 for details. 
    What Do Your World Language Placement Exam Scores Mean? 
    • Spanish: 0-240 places into SPAN 101; 240-315 places into SPAN 102; 316-397 places into SPAN 201; 398 and above places into SPAN 202 or higher. Students with scores over 500 should talk to Dr. Araceli Hernandez-Laroche to determine appropriate placement in upper-level Spanish courses in order to pursue a major or minor in Spanish, or a minor in Spanish translation and interpretation, or a minor in Global Studies.
    • French: 0-240 places into FREN 101; 240-316 places into FREN 102; 317-382 places into FREN 201; 382 and above places into FREN 202 or higher. Students with scores over 500 should talk to Dr. Araceli Hernandez-Laroche to determine appropriate placement in upper-level French courses in order to pursue a minor in French or Global Studies. 
    • German: 0-230 places into GERM 101; 230-306 places into GERM 102; 307-372 places into GERM 201; 372 or above places into GERM 202 or higher. Students with scores over 480 should talk to Prof. Hans Schmidt to determine appropriate placement in upper-level German courses in order to pursue a minor in German studies or Global Studies. 
  • Goals Student Learning Outcomes
    1. The student graduating in English at USC Upstate should be able to demonstrate a knowledge of literary periods, movements, genres, and authors that is informed by literary criticism, theory, and linguistic analysis.

    1.1 Demonstrate an ability to situate and interpret texts in their historical and cultural contexts.

    1.2 Utilize appropriate literary and/or linguistic theory in discussing the assigned texts.

     2. A student graduating in English at USC Upstate should be able to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate a variety of texts.

    2.1 Interpret meaning and significance based on close observations of details within and among texts.


     

    3. A student graduating in English at USC Upstate should be able to communicate in a clear and concise manner for a variety of audiences.

    3.1 Write with clarity and precision as appropriate for the given audience.

    4. A student graduating in English at USC Upstate should be able to incorporate, engage in and utilize well-planned and well-executed research.

    4.1 Critically engage the ideas of other scholars.

    4.2 Incorporate research in writing about the assigned texts.

     

  • Spanish Program Mission Statement: The USC Upstate Spanish program aims to teach and facilitate communication in Spanish, provide knowledge and understanding of the Hispanic cultures, build multilingual communities, draw comparisons between various cultural and linguistic systems, and expand our students’ educational experience by connecting Spanish with other disciplines in the University. The Spanish curriculum is designed to prepare students for a competitive global marketplace, particularly in view of the international nature of the Upstate community and the growing Hispanic population in the United States.

    Goals Student Learning Outcomes
    1. Students graduating in Spanish at USC Upstate will be able to demonstrate speaking and listening proficiency in Spanish.

    1. Students will demonstrate competence in syntax and rules of discourse in varying linguistic tasks as measured by the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines— Speaking.

     2. Students graduating in Spanish at USC Upstate will be able to demonstrate the ability to write in different styles.

    2a. Students will write with clarity and precision on assigned texts.

    2b. Students will demonstrate an ability to write for various audiences.

    3. Students graduating in Spanish at USC Upstate will be able to demonstrate an adequate command of grammar and linguistics.

    3a. Students will demonstrate competence in syntax and rules of discourse, as measured by the ACTFL Written Proficiency Scale.

    3b. Students will demonstrate understanding of the principles of Spanish phonetics and how they compare with English phonetics.

    4. Students graduating in Spanish at USC Upstate will be able to read, understand and analyze popular and literary texts in Spanish.

    4.a Students will demonstrate an ability to situate and interpret texts in their historical and cultural contexts.

    4.b Make connections between texts written in Spanish.

     

     

       
    5. Students graduating in Spanish at USC Upstate will be able to demonstrate an ability to compare the products, practices and perspectives of the cultures of Spanish speakers with others. 5. Students will demonstrate an ability to compare the culture of a particular Hispanic group with the students' own cultures.