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Thursday, May 21, 2009

‘Letras’ is UNCP’s newest student publication

Letras, UNC Pembroke’s first foreign language student publication, was published in late April.

LetrasUNCP’s newest publication is in Spanish and edited by Dr. Liliana Wendorff, chair of the Department of Foreign Languages. The cover design incorporates the languages offered by the department.

“The cover is written in Spanish, Russian, French and German,” Dr. Wendorff said. “Since we will offer Chinese and Latin courses next year, we will probably add to the cover next year.”

A year in the making, Dr. Wendorff said the results lived up to the journal’s mission.

“It looks very nice, and I especially enjoyed some of the poems,” she said.

“We are trying to promote writing in our Spanish classes just like the rest of the University is promoting writing across the curriculum,” she said. “This is a good opportunity for our students to be published, and they are very proud of the results.”

The first volume of Letras includes poems, sketches and essays.

Liliana Wendorff

Liliana Wenforff

Black Line

“We collected writing samples all year from students in every Spanish class,” Dr. Wendorff said. “The faculty decided which works would be published.”

Dr. Charles Harrington, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, thanked Dr. Wendorff and the faculty for their outstanding work on the journal.

“Having students demonstrate their competencies and creativity in writing is a very worthwhile pursuit,” Dr. Harrington said. “Having them demonstrate their competencies in a foreign language is remarkable. 

“This publication represents the best of what a college education should provide - an opportunity for students to exhibit to their professors, their peers, and the public, what they are learning,” he continued. “It also will clearly aid students in preparing for their futures in a multicultural, multilingual, and global society.”

Dr. Martin Slann, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said Letras “is an excellent example of UNCP’s emphasis on internationalization.”

“The Department of Foreign Languages is composed of an ambitious and energetic faculty and they are successfully fostering the importance of learning another language, an increasingly critical component of successfully competing in an increasingly global economy,” Dr. Slann said. “Our students will be the greatest beneficiaries. 

Letras goes beyond the traditional classroom exposure to a language,” he said. “Students have an opportunity to learn by also being creative and enhancing their writing and research skills. We look forward to future issues of Letras and to this important and unusual campus outlet for students, faculty, and staff,” he said

UNCP faculty members offered praise in two languages for the 22-page journal.

“¡Congratulaciones en la primera edición de Letras!” said Dr. Stan Knick, director of the Native American Resource Center. “Yo disfrutado especialmente las poemas, y particularmente ‘Versos Sencillos.’ ¡Continúe el buen trabajo!”

Dr. Richard Vela of the English Department, who has a bilingual and borderlands background, was especially pleased to read the first volume of Letras.

“Liliana, leyendo todas las poemas y cuentos, me quede muy Wow! Gracias, Ricardo”

In other words: ‘Reading all the poems and stories, I was left very impressed.  Thank you, Richard.’” 

“Certainly, it is amazing to see so many students at an introductory level venture out and actually submit something for publication,” Dr. Vela said. “It says quite a bit about the Spanish faculty, and especially about Dr. Wendorff’s leadership that she was able to put this together. 

“I recognized the work of one of my students, Kelley Jones, in Letras, where she wrote about studying to be a nurse,” he continued. “Because health careers is one area where having some facility with Spanish is especially important, this student clearly has begun something that will eventually be an important part of her resume.” 

Student writers from diverse backgrounds contributed to the journal.

KayLynn Belcher, a nursing major, said she loves to write in English. In notes about the contributors, she “figured out that the key to learning español is through writing stories as well.”

Renae Eades, a psychology major, has lived in Japan and Germany among other places. She has been “interested in Latino cultures, literature, arts, etc. since my grade school years.”

Contributor Carlos Peralta is a broadcasting major from Peru who hopes to work for a Spanish language broadcasting company.

Dr. Wendorff said the department, which was established before the 2008-09 year, is already working on volume two of Letras. Spanish was offered as a major course of study in 2004 and is steadily growing.

“We are already collecting writing samples this summer,” she said.

For more information about Letras, please email Dr. Wendorff at liliana.wendorff@uncp.edu.

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