FLORENCE, S.C. - Francis Marion University recently established a new major and teacher certification program in German. The Department of English, Modern Languages and Philosophy has, in the past, offered a minor in German. That program produced students who taught German and who traveled or worked in German- speaking countries.
“A major in German will expand these possibilities, particularly in the fields of international study and employment for the students,” said George E. Harding III, associate professor of German. The program will be offered to FMU students beginning in the 1999 Fall Semester, in anticipation of approval by the State Commission on Higher Education (CHE), he said. There are “critical needs” in South Carolina for preparing people to teach German, Harding added. “Many teachers have been trained in English and history, but not enough teachers have been trained in math, science, and modern languages. FMU students will benefit by having the new opportunity to major in and be certified to teach German.”
FMU is looking to explore exchange programs at German universities in areas such as the Rhine River and Berlin, which require participating students to have a basic knowledge in German. Germany directs more investment into the U.S. than any other country, said Harding. To gain teacher certification in German, a student will major in German, meet the requirements of all the education training courses, and take and pass a state test for basic knowledge in German.
By providing FMU students with this program, new doors will be opened. According to Kiplinger’s Guide to 2000 and Beyond (December 1998), Harding said, employers put a premium on certain skills including the knowledge of a second language. “FMU is preparing students to learn to deal with diverse cultures,” he added. Harding was selected the 1998-99 FMU Distinguished Professor.