Hall of Languages
The Hall of Languages is home to the literature and languages department, with programs in English, Spanish, French, and philosophy. The first floor offers students a bevy of academic resources including the Foreign Language Center, Communications Skills Center, the Writing Center, and the English Language Institute.
by Kim Williams
In the midst of a down-trodden economy and high unemployment, the A&M-Commerce English department has accomplished an amazing feat: a 100 percent job placement rate for its doctoral students after graduation. Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Donna Dunbar-Odom and the resources available in the Hall of Languages, the program now attracts students from throughout the country.
“We previously used a traditional approach for our doctoral students, but I wanted to take a practical approach in helping our students,” Dunbar-Odom said. “Instead of requiring two semesters of colloquium teaching, we now only require one semester with a three credit hour class called ‘Professing English’ where we actually teach the students how to get a job teaching.”
Dunbar-Odom believes that it is the faculty’s approach in general that creates the success of the doctoral program.
“We care about our students, so we make sure they have a true interest in teaching before we send them out into the world,” Dunbar-Odom said. “I look for that spark in students, and build on their passion.”
Literature and languages students are mentored from the first day they begin the program thanks to a writing lab that hones their creative interests and develops their writing skills.
Many students like Sean George acquire the passion Dunbar-Odom referred to as they progress through the program. George believes the emphasis on the teaching experience, balanced with a focus on producing scholarly material relevant to the field of English literature and language studies, contributed to his success after graduation.
Today, thanks to George’s experience in the A&M-Commerce doctoral program, he now enjoys a tenure-track position as an assistant professor of English at Dixie State College, a regional college in St. George, Utah.
“I look for that spark in students, and build on their passion.” — Dr. Donna Dunbar-Odom