New Spanish major at BPC opens numerous opportunities

Growth of the Hispanic population in the United States, as well as longstanding business and trade patterns with Spanish-speaking countries, make proficiency in Spanish a useful career asset.

A new bachelor of arts degree program in Spanish is now available at Brewton-Parker College after gaining approval recently by BPC's Faculty Assembly.

This degree offering is the college's first in foreign languages and builds on the success of the minor in Spanish created two years ago.

Students preparing for careers in business, ministry, military, journalism, social work, health care, politics, criminal justice and sales will find that a proficiency in Spanish, in addition to other career skills, can help them in securing employment and promotion in their chosen fields.

"Students can add an important tool to their skill set by attaining a level of proficiency in Spanish, given the great increase in the Spanish-speaking population in the nation and in this area in particular," said Bryan Rampey, an associate professor of Spanish at Brewton-Parker.

"This is a sizable number of people ready to be served by businesses, social agencies, churches and health care. People with the appropriate skills in Spanish will have an important advantage in the marketplace over those who don't."

The new major is characterized by a robust liberal arts core, specialized courses in professional translation and the opportunity to earn a strong minor in a related field such as business, social sciences or ministry.

The major and the minor both include courses designed to strengthen basic language skills, enhance conversation and composition abilities, acquire knowledge of the culture of Spanish-speaking people and become familiar with the rich literature produced in Spanish.

Students who have already taken Spanish in high school may qualify to exempt the basic courses and start immediately on the Spanish major. In addition, students who have some proficiency in the language because of family background will frequently be able to start at a higher level.

"We have been fortunate to have numerous students from this area over the years who have brought with them a very strong foundation in Spanish due to the excellent instruction they receive in high school," Rampey said.

"We are also interested in attracting students from a Latino background who have significant skills in the language already and would like to earn their some job credentials by majoring in Spanish."

The Spanish program is also expected to be of interest to students preparing for graduate studies in Spanish literature and Latin American Studies.

"Since the introduction of the Nobel Prize for Literature a century ago, the prize has been awarded to a dozen writers from Spain and Latin America," Rampey said. "This alone ranks Spanish with the most important literary languages in modern times.

"Furthermore, Latin American writers such as Gabriel García Márquez invented techniques, such as magical realism, which are now used by writers in many other languages, including English."

Inquiries concerning Brewton-Parker's bachelor of arts degree program in Spanish may be directed to Dr. Ruth Ellen Porter, chair of the Humanities Division, at (912) 583-3101.