By Pam Reponen

Advanced Spanish Composition and Conversation

With Professor Esther L. Levine

Offered each semester, this upper level course is designed to perfect oral and written skills, along with an exploration of Latin American and Latino issues centering on the themes: “Disillusionment and Hope,” “Loneliness and Union” and “Human Rights and Social Justice.”

Twice-weekly class meeting and an-hour-per-week practicum conducted by a foreign language assistant from Spain
or Latin America

Cantor Art Gallery exhibitions: “Painting Borges: Art Interpreting Literature” and “Cuban Artists’ Books and Prints, 1985-2008”

Class participation, journal entries, essays, oral presentations, two examinations and a final essay

Vistas y voces latinas (3rd edition), by Esther L. Levine and Constance M. Montross; Avanzando: Gramática Española y Lectura (6th edition), by Sara L. De La Vega and Carmen Salazar

Discussion about gallery talks by Borges exhibition curator Jorge J.E. Gracia and artist Carlos Estévez; analysis of two stories by Sandra Cisneros, including “No Speak English,” with role playing; exploration of the connection between Cisneros’ character “Mamacita” and the young girl in Laura Delgado’s “The Female Other,” featured in the Borges exhibition; review of the verbs ser/estar/haber; expository writing assignment

Lecturer in the Spanish department, Class Dean, International Scholar and Student Advisor, Dean Levine has been teaching Spanish at Holy Cross since 1979. During her time here, she has undertaken many administrative duties, including inaugural director of the Foreign Language Assistants (FLA) Program. (She now oversees the immigration documentation process for the FLAs, as well as international students and visiting faculty.) Appointed a Class Dean in 1997, with responsibilities for ALANA and international students, Levine began her longtime association with the then-new Odyssey* program; she has subsequently served as Class Dean of four classes, including the Class of 2014. Receiving her master’s degree from Brown University, Levine is a member of several professional organizations and an honorary member of the College’s Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit Honor Society.

Committed to integrating pertinent on-campus events into the curriculum, such as the Borges exhibition, Levine observes: “Through their involvement in varied classroom activities and projects, students perfect the art of writing and speaking in Spanish and, also, deepen their understanding of Latin American and Latino people, their culture, their story, and the human experience. It is my hope that they will acquire a greater love for the language and insight into the Latin American and Latino perspective.”

Noting that this course forced her to think in a different way, Meghan Casey ’15, a student in the fall 2011 class from North Attleboro, Mass., explains: “Instead of simply writing about what happened in a Latin American country … we began to understand that these citizens aren’t just pages in a book. They are real people, and it is our duty to try to understand what they went through and to remember the bravery that came with those experiences. Because of this class I not only have a much improved ability to speak my mind in Spanish and to write analytically, but also feel a deeper appreciation of and connection to Latin American culture as a whole.”

*Odyssey is an optional summer orientation program for entering international and ALANA (African-American, Latin American, Asian-American and Native American) students, American students living abroad, and students for whom English is their second language.