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Butler University Bulletin

Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures


Alex JR Quintanilla, PhD, Department Chair


  • Terri Carney, PhD
  • Larry W. Riggs, PhD
  • Sylvie Vanbaelen, PhD
  • Linda M. Willem, PhD

Associate Professors

  • Irune del Río Gabiola, PhD
  • Xiaoqing Liu, PhD
  • Gabriela Muniz, PhD
  • Juan Pablo Rodríguez Prieto, PhD
  • Alex JR Quintanilla, PhD
  • Eloise Sureau-Hale, PhD

Assistant Professor

  • Sarah Painitz, PhD


  • Adrian Bello-Uriarte, PhD
  • Melissa Etzler, PhD
  • Liliana Goens, MA, MS
  • Elisa Lucchi-Riester, MAT
  • Michelle Stigter, MA, MS

Department Website

Why Study Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures?

The study of languages, literatures, and cultures gives students access to a broader global community, invites them to deepen their engagement with other linguistic and cultural traditions, and teaches them to be sensitive and critical readers of cultural texts. Becoming proficient or fluent in another language also enhances self-reflection, increases self-knowledge, and heightens awareness of one’s own community and place in the world. Furthermore, a modern languages degree increases opportunities for employment because Butler students provide companies, nonprofits, and governmental entities with communicative and cultural analytical advantages in an increasingly shrinking world.

Why Study Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Butler?

Small classes are led by internationally recognized and published faculty members hailing from such countries as Austria, Argentina, Belgium, China, Colombia, El Salvador, France, Italy, Senegal, Spain, and the United States. Our faculty members’ wide variety of linguistic and cultural expertise enriches the curriculum and keeps students connected to the global communities they represent. Also, modern languages students consistently complete in-depth research with faculty and present at conferences both at Butler and around the country. Students who study with us find they are well-supported by the resources we have available in our Modern Language Center (Jordan Hall, Room 391), where they receive free tutoring, watch foreign language films, and work on group projects using our state-of-the-art media and computer stations.

Modern languages students choose from a wide variety of well-established study-abroad options, including a three-week, faculty-led summer program in Costa Rica; a semester-long, faculty-led program in Spain; faculty-supervised summer trips to and internships in China; and more than 100 other programs offered by Butler’s Center for Global Education, IFSA-Butler (Institute for Study Abroad), the International Student Exchange Program, and The Alliance for Global Education. Students can receive language credit for courses abroad with approval from the department chair.

Students can take advantage of the Indianapolis community by completing a service learning course and/or approved independent study that connects them with local language communities—in which they use their language skills to communicate with native speakers—as well as by completing internships with governmental entities, educational institutions, nonprofits, and businesses.

Modern languages studies can lead to Core Curriculum course fulfillments and exemptions:

  • If a student completes at least 9 approved hours abroad, he or she is exempted from one of the two required Global and Historical Studies courses.
  • If a student completes at least three eligible modern languages courses, he or she is exempted from the Texts and Ideas course requirement.
  • Students can fulfill the Speaking across the Curriculum and Writing across the Curriculum requirements by completing approved courses during eligible semesters.
  • Students can fulfill the Indianapolis Community Requirement by completing an eligible course or approved independent study.

Given the interdisciplinarity of our programs, students often find creative and productive ways to combine our majors and minors—and combine them with other degrees—preparing them well for service, employment, and graduate studies beyond Butler.

Modern Language Center

The student Modern Language Center (MLC) (Jordan Hall, Room 391) is a multilingual space focused on second language and culture acquisition. The MLC includes a comprehensive foreign feature and instructional film collection, a large group viewing area, film viewing stations for individuals, computers, a Smart Board, and gaming systems with games in a variety of languages. In addition to state-of-the-art facilities, the MLC hosts a number of activities designed to promote language and culture learning, including tutor tables, movie nights, and karaoke club. Events, workshops, and lectures focusing on language, culture, and social issues also take place in the Center. The MLC staff is trained in academic technology and research methodology to support all facets of language learning and teaching at Butler.

Modern Languages Student Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to do the following, in the target language:

  • Orally communicate clearly in the target language on a variety of topics
  • Articulate a cogent interpretation of a text regardless of cultures and centuries in the target language
  • Clearly communicate in written form on a variety of topics in the target language
  • Demonstrate intercultural awareness and competence: the ability to understand, relate to, and empathize with people from other cultures in the target languages

Degree Programs

  • Majors in Chinese, French, German, Multilingual, and Spanish (BA)
  • Minors in Chinese, French, German, and Spanish