After Spanish and French, German is the third largest language program of the nine comprising Clemson University's Department of Languages. Aware of its responsibility to its increasing number of students, one fourth of them generally enrolled in advanced courses, the faculty of the German Section fully supports Clemson University's intent, as expressed in the CU Mission Statement (2001), to become "one of the nation's top-20 public universities." In particular, the German faculty is committed to furthering the following goals expressly tied to the CU Mission:
"Foster Clemson's academic reputation through strong academic programs" and "academic centers of excellence", to "ensure the highest quality classroom experience" and "Create greater awareness of international programs and increase our activity in this area."
To meet the above goals, the German Section completely revised its curriculum in the spring of 2005. It now implements a distinctive approach to language study that combines a humanistic focus on language and literature with a broad array of innovative cultural studies programs enriching both of the majors we offer: the B.A. in Modern Languages and the B.A. in German and International Trade (the latter includes study in a professional option such as applied international economics or tourism). Strengthening and providing more flexibility to our programs, the greater variety of course offerings will appeal also to the substantial number of engineering students enrolled in our courses and to the international students in our midst (e.g., students from Latin America, France, and the former Soviet Union). Increased opportunities for guided undergraduate research will, moreover, encourage exciting, innovative, and sustained intellectual inquiry, as well as extensive collaboration and teamwork. And all our majors will study and/or study/intern abroad for one year (a degree requirement).
In addition to helping students attain the kind of basic knowledge needed to function successfully in a German environment, we are committed to assuring a well-trained international work force, one at home in world cultures as well as in the increasingly global environment of South Carolina. Thus we strongly adhere to other CU goals such as aiming for excellence in advising and providing support systems for students. We are, for instance, already at the forefront in advising students in application processes for internships, study abroad programs, and prestigious grants. Our highly active German Club organizes a broad range of cultural and social activities (e.g., film viewing's, bi-weekly dinners, frequent hiking trips, Mardi Gras and Christmas parties). The annual German play, written and performed in German by our students, draws increasingly large audiences (in the spring of 2005, for example, we ran out of the 250 printed programs long before the last arrivals were seated). In the spring of 2006, the students departed from the play format, producing instead a 40-minute film (an immensely creative and successful spoof on the German film Run Lola Run, subtitled for those in the audience who had not (yet?) studied German.
We have enthusiastically embraced another CU goal: to increase outreach activities. Our faculty members have leadership roles in the AATG (American Association of Teachers of German): one, formerly the President of the SC AATG, agreed to being the Interim President for this academic year ; another recently completed a three-year term on the Executive Committee of the national AATG, acting as the representative of all secondary and post-secondary German instructors in the Southeast. Through faculty and student presentations, we have stepped up outreach activities in SC high schools, hoping thereby to attract talented secondary students to German study at Clemson University. For extracurricular activities, we actively enlist the participation of employees in area international firms. Our outreach activities also include fundraising for Honor's Day Awards and for scholarships (we receive generous support from BMW, The Draexlmaier Automotive Co., and Inergy Automotive), and our German Club provides donations whenever its funds permit-for example, to students who lost belongings after a dormitory fire, the Red Cross and UNICEF.
In efforts to reach out to the entire university and the local community, we organized, in November 2004, a campus-wide German Week commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Highlights were the keynote address by Dr. Andreas Zimmer, Deputy Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, and a panel discussion by Upstate residents from both East and West Germany. We are planning more campus-wide events for the future. In general, we continue to be excited about promoting CU's multi-dimensional goals in various ways, among them forming mutually beneficial partnerships with area international firms and with universities abroad.